When I read things on twitter, linkedin and facebook I sometimes cringe – it is especially twitter that sometimes astounds me. Doesn’t the tweeter know that it reflects back on them?
The beauty of twitter is that there is freedom in the 140 characters to share thoughts, feelings and knowledge. Yes, I am always banging on about giving your tweets a personality – but that doesn’t give you a license to be rude, nasty or weird.
So here are my own rules of twitter engagement. Just call it ‘Jeannie’s Twitter Guide’.
1. Do not swear. I don’t think it is clever, professional or mature and it’s a major turn-off (and I may just unfollow if it happens often).
2. Don’t carry on with too long a private conversation or joke in the public eye. If you know the other person well, DMs were invented for quick really private chats or pick up the phone or send an email.
3. Make sure your twitters are a mix of interesting facts & figures and some opinion about those facts and figures. Add some personal tweets about how your day is going or react to something good (or bad).
4. Don’t send a DM to thank me for following. If you must, do the ‘thank you’ in a public tweet. Don’t you think it is of interest to let your other followers know that you and I are worthy of following each other (and happy to)?
5. Exception to the last rule – a DM works for a company or business who has a genuine ‘twitter’ offer. So if I follow a restaurant group, you are more than welcome to thank me by sending a voucher for money off a meal or a free glass of wine. But make the offer open to twitter followers only (not a generic offer you make to anyone signing up for their website e-newsletter for instance).
6. Make sure your twitter profile is creative, short and clearly shows your website URL (if you have one).
7. Say thank you for retweeting – and do it publicly (not via a DM).
8. Remember that hashtag ‘#’ is one of the most powerful tools in twitter. It is used for trends & organising. It is especially useful in having a genuine complaint or moan about a service (e.g. ‘#RoyalMail lost a letter for me – not impressed!’ – that was a twitter from me)
9. A good business or organisation will read those ‘#’ and respond accordingly. You can right a wrong by being responsive. So check often and let the tweeter know you’ve heard them.
10. Automate as little as possible (or not at all). I like genuine tweets, genuine conversation and genuine followers. If you can’t take the time to tweet for real, then don’t tweet!
11. Don’t connect every single tweet to your LinkedIn profile. The odd interesting, business piece of news is fine but sending all twitters clogs up LinkedIn updates pages (and makes it very annoying).
12. Quality not quantity is the name of the game for followers. Clean up your followers list often and get rid of those who look like spammers or those who haven’t tweeted in ages but are still following you (like those who have automated – see number 10)
13. And finally, remember twitter is not private – you may think you are speaking to a closed audience of your followers but you are not. And you may just lose your job over it…
I could go on but those are my true golden rules for twittering. It may only be 140 characters but it shows the person or business you are so use the opportunity and time well. It can be such a powerful tool!