Twitter Updates – 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts

by Stacey Cavanagh May 13th, 2011 

twitter-netiquette

Whether your Twitter account is purely business, purely personal or is a mixture of the two, there are certain types of updates that will probably work well. And a few that, well, might not…

Lets have a look!

The Do's

1. Share links to great resources. We use Twitter not just as a means of communication now, but as a means of staying up to date with our industry news. Share links to great articles related to your industry and Tweet topics, not just from the major news sites but from the smaller lesser known blogs as well.

2. Share jokes and witty one liners. Granted, it might not work so well if you overdo this. But a light hearted one liner or joke here and there keeps things conversational and, more to the point, enjoyable for the people who follow you.

3. Use @ mentions. Engage with your followers using @ mentions. Twitter works best when you are interacting with people directly. Get into conversations with your followers and encourage them to converse with you.

4. Photos. Use Twitpic or a similar service to add pictures to Twitter. Not necessarily pictures of you, but perhaps pictures of your office (if relevant) or your surroundings… funny signs you see or interesting things you come across. Everyone loves a good piccie, right?

5. Share your knowledge. If you have a specialist skill or an in depth knowledge of a particular area, dont be afraid to share snippets of information. People love to learn and if you share info (e.g. by daily tips or links to posts on your own site) then youve adding value. Youre giving people a great reason to follow you!

The Dont's

netiquette-bandit

1. Dont only Tweet links to your own site. Share the love and link to a whole host of different websites. If you consistently only Tweet links to your own site, you risk making your Twitter look like a simple advertising platform or shop front. Thats not what Twitter is about.

2. Dont set out to offend. Ok, granted, opinions will always differ from person to person about anything and everything and you cant keep everyone happy. But deliberately setting out to offend people with offensive jokes or rude comments is a sure fire way to alienate your followers. Assume that whatever you post could be read by millions and keep it clean accordingly! Jokes are great! Racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive jokes are not.

3. Dont go getting too personal. Theres a fine line between giving your Tweets some personality and making them too personal. Giving out personal information on a stream that could be followed by anyone is potentially dangerous. In addition to that, while your followers might want to know a bit about you, they probably dont log on to Twitter just to read your life story!

4. Dont beg for RTs! The odd please RT, here and there on particularly important Tweets is great. But if you start all of your Tweets with that people are going to tire of it. Personally (perhaps Im just impatient) when I see someone starting almost every single Tweet with that, I hit unfollow. Twitter users know for themselves what they want to share with their own followers.

5. Dont overdo the advertising. Twitter is first and foremost a channel for communication and engagement with a potentially huge audience. Its not your own personal ad channel. By all means, share important info about your business, talk about big client wins (where youre allowed) and post links to new posts on your own blog or website. But dont lace every single Tweet with ad copy. It will alienate your followers.

Of course, much of the above is common sense… but incidentally, if anyone is telling good clean jokes on their Twitter streams, do let me know. I rather like a good joke (or a bad one for that matter)!

Stacey Cavanagh

Stacey Cavanagh is the Digital Marketing Manager for Tecmark, a UK Digital Marketing Agency specialising in Internet Marketing and Mobile Application Development.

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