Smart Twitter Guidelines to Follow
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
In his book Tweet Naked, online marketing expert and social media agency CEO Scott Levy provides the critical information entrepreneurs need to craft a social media strategy that will boost their brand and their business. In this edited excerpt, the author offers tips that can help you figure out how to keep your Twitter brand aligned with your mission and vision.
Participating in social media is similar to attending a party. You need to present yourself in the best manner if you want to be popular, make new friends or even find that "special" someone with whom to establish a relationship.
When you arrive at a party, you'll typically look around and then begin interacting with other people. You might see someone you'd like to meet or someone you already know. Do you walk up to these people and start selling them a product? Do you tell them you have the latest in state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners at the lowest prices and can get them a great deal? Do you ask them to invest in REITS? Do you ask them again and again to pay attention to you? People would likely roll their eyes and walk away, thinking that you're totally obnoxious.
You don't want to be one of these people. In a social setting, you want to be polite and respectful, meet people, share interests, be entertaining, alluring, funny, and perhaps even inform them of something they may find fascinating. You want to engage in conversations that aren't only about yourself. You also want to listen, because conversations are interactive and not monologues. While there are few, if any, rules posted on the door that dictate the specific ways a person must act while they are in the café or at the party, common sense should prevail.
Twitter is a giant digital cafe. It's the same landscape as a party with loose rules and no specific criteria. Some of us are smart, courteous, and know how to interact appropriately, hoping people think well of us and want to communicate more often. Others abuse the situation and don't generate positive attention.
It's up to you to act accordingly and appropriately. The tweets you compose; the photos you take, filter and share; and the videos you upload all manifest themselves as part of your own media. The longer you spend online, the bigger media presence you'll have. So it's important to remember to "think before you speak," or, in this case, tweet. The following guidelines will help:
- Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your mother.
- Be nice! This is a public stage, and the spotlight is on you and your company. Being friendly and helpful goes a long way toward building your brand and reputation.
- Don't be a showoff and tout how great you are; a little humility does wonders when building a brand.
- Don't sell or pitch. Social media is for connecting, building relationships, networking and creating brand awareness. Coming off as a snake-oil salesman is a huge turnoff.
- Don't automate. Social media is a two-way conversation, and automated posting is cold. Plus, you want to respond to all posts quickly--so unless someone is actively manning the battle station, your response times to your followers suffer.
- Don't get angry. If someone is complaining or being rude, reply professionally and never sink to their level.
- Do care. Take a minute out of your busy schedule to find out more about the lives of those who follow you. These are the people who can become your brand champions, so show them you care about who they are and what they do.
- Give back! If you've had great success via social media and people are sharing your brand, message and products or services, then give back! A little thank-you discount, prize or giveaway can go a long way and snowball, as recipients spread the word to their followers and friends. Social media users sharing your content and brand is absolutely invaluable, so show them you appreciate it and don't take it for granted.
Before you post, always ask yourself:
- Do I really want my followers to read this?
- Will this increase my following?
- Am I providing something of value, whether it's newsworthy or a joke?
- Will it help my brand?
- Can it hurt me?
- Can it damage my business or brand's reputation?
- Am I insulting someone or a group of people?
- Am I spreading rumors, lies or gossip that can damage someone's reputation?
Social Media Dos and Don'ts
- Be empathetic.
- Be tasteful.
- Engage with followers regularly--and quickly.
- Inspire with motivational saying and quotes.
- Educate by solving people's problems and by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
- Delight with entertaining comments or jokes.
- Respond in a timely manner, lest your followers feel ignored.
- Spam followers.
- Spread rumors or lies.
- Talk without listening. If you're putting yourself out there, expect responses, replies, praise, criticism and other feedback. Pay attention to what others are saying to you.
- Lash out. Stop and think before you post or tweet, or have a checks and balances system so that anything going out is reviewed or scanned by at least a second pair of eyes.
- Be rude, crass or vulgar.
- Fire someone without revoking access to your social media accounts.
- Exploit a tragedy or even bad news. It's offensive and in abysmally bad taste. And you're liable to lose even your most loyal followers.