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Author's profile photo Former Member

The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Tweeters

It feels to me that the honeymoon phase of Twitter is over – or at least it should be.

 

While there are still thousands of users joining Twitter every day, many of us have now been using the tool for years, which means that rules and conventions have developed. Most of them make the use of Twitter more effective and enjoyable, some of them seem to clog up space that could be utilized for more meaningful communication.

 

http://marketingaccelerator.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/twitter-logo.png

Here my personal list of “The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Tweeters

 

Discourage:

  1. Don’t constantly thank people who have retweeted you. I am all for Twitter etiquette, but it is getting out of hand.  It’s a better idea to list a bunch of people who retweeted you in a single Tweet, but does it really have to happen at all?  Are we really still so fascinated by the fact that our name appears on Twitter? Sure, it’s nice to get a notification that you have been mentioned but I think it’s time to cut down the traffic.
  2. Don’t chit-chat between two people about nothing. Why does that have to be public? Instead, follow each other and take it to the D Tweet area. Would you have a loud conversation in the middle of a room full of people? I’ll help you keep followers and others to cut through the information overload.
  3. Don’t have the same Twitter account for business and your friends/family, unless you don’t have a life outside of work. It comes back to having your own brand. Make it worthwhile for people to follow you and only throw in private milestones.
  4. Don’t leave the profile section in your Twitter account blank. Why would anybody follow anybody who does not state their “brand”? Let people know what to expect from you and your Tweets, especially if you are interested in developing a following.
  5. Don’t send automated messages thanking people for following you and asking them to click on a URL. First of all, automation is against the spirit of a personal Twitter conversation (so don’t make it so obvious) and second, it seems fishy to send a URL right away; I would never click on it.
  6. (Had to add this last one: Do we really need yet another “paper.li” aka the Joe Blocks Daily? Think before you create one, please.)
  7. (Really the last one: Don’t automate all your Tweets to show up on your FB page. Not fun for your friends who follow you on both of these channels.)

 

Encourage:

  1. Please do think about why you are on Twitter (= your brand) and be somewhat consistent in your messages. You owe this to your followers so that they don’t have to pick out relevant content between your notifications that you just checked into “Pizza Parlor” or “washed your cat”. I am not saying, don’t have a personality, but as Twitter is public, it’s good for you and the rest of us if there is a theme.  It will help you build a consistent following and reduce the noise out there. Think “Tweet pollution”.
  2. Do participate in #FollowFriday or #FF. It’s a nice way to recommend somebody who sends good Tweets and to show them that their Tweets are not going unappreciated or even unnoticed. A piece of Twitter etiquette that I find endearing. Ideally, don’t just Tweet an @handle but explain WHY this person is worth following
  3. Do send original Tweets (not just RTs) to convey opinions on relevant topics or engage with your followers. 
  4. Last, when you RT and add a comment, try to make it clear which part is your comment vs. the original Tweet,  add a carrot and your initials (^NT) if necessary. I’ve been engaged in many confusing Twitter conversations caused by this issue.
  5. Do retweet relevant pieces of information and URLs to your followers. And if there are enough characters, do add your own commentary or interpretation to show that you are retweeting it for a reason or have additional insights. Lately, I’ve heard people complain about too much retweeting. I say, make sure the information is relevant for your followers and that the 140 characters you use to describe the URL are not misleading.

I am a huge fan of Twitter and I have at one time or another broken all of the above rules. Follow the rules you like and ignore the rest! 🙂

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      21 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Abesh Bhattacharjee
      Abesh Bhattacharjee
      I have been on twitter quite sometime now but still found this blog awesome 🙂

      One of the things that I did immediately after reading the blog was to delete the friendfeed FB app which posted all my tweets to my FB wall. Using Selective Tweets now instead 🙂

      Thanks Natascha and all hail the queen of Social Media 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Abesh, your comment was the first thing I saw on email today and it made me very happy! Thanks for your kind praise. Glad I could add some value.
      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      We are multi-faceted individuals - influenced by events in our personal and work lives. I find tweetstreams that reflect both aspects more worthwhile than tweetstreams that just include work-related content. Tweets of a more personal nature provide insights into individuals that often provide context for work tweets. I feel that I know such individuals better, because I can in some take part of their lives. Such individuals are part of my network - sometimes I want to discuss non-work-related content with them. Of course, the challenge is to find the right mix.

      My "brand" reflects who I am - as a whole - not only as as an employee or member of a professional community.

      D.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Yes, and I love that particularly about @SAPMentors :-). You can always count on some good fun exchange. My "rules" are meant as guidelines, and as others said here, the mix is what counts. I followed one social media "expert" who only Tweeted about her private life and opinions about the world. I did not know her, so did not really care to learn much from her than social media tips = unfollow. For people I know, getting glimpse of their world views or knowing that Dennis is renovating his house and washign walls are interesting factoids :-).
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      This is a great blog with some great tips.

      Whilst it is always good to speak about what to do, the what NOT to do is perhaps more important and I will take note.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks for taking the time to provide your kind feedback!
      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett

      ...I have written about my ire at certain practices here: http://accmanpro.com/?p=8411

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks for sharing your blog. Many valid points. We can always exit if we want to. I think it's growing pains right now for marketers, figuring out how to leverage social media. It's easy to go overboard, many think it can be automated...it's like direct mail 15 years ago, people did not hate it then and now good marketers know how to send relevant messages to the right people. It takes time.
      Author's profile photo Jarret Pazahanick
      Jarret Pazahanick
      I am a big believer in the value of twitter and have posted several SCN blogs on the topic as well as enjoy following @nathomson on twitter.

      I am always surprised with how few SAP professionals are on twitter as I would put the number at under 10,000 (judging by the followers of @SAP etc) and of those only a couple of thousand are active which compared to a community of 2.3 million members is pretty low.

      I hope over time the message continues to get out and once they are articles like this help provide them the do's and dont as I think I have been guilty of a few of the dont when I started as well 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      There are still many people who don't know what Twitter is about, or think they don't have the time. Yes, it takes time but I think it's worth it. I evangelize at SAP as much as I can. Appreciate your comment.
      Author's profile photo Jon Reed
      Jon Reed
      N- I really liked this piece and thought it was timely because I see a lot of mindless retweeting in the SAP community on Twitter these days. I was glad to see your emphasis on contextual retweeting, saying why you liked something. That goes for Follow Friday too - why someone you follow impacts you - that's what I want to know.

      Oh, and in addition to not thanking every single person who retweets you, how about if we don't retweet every nice thing someone ever says about us to our followers? It should be enough that someone said something nice, without having to constantly blow it back out.

      Other aspects of Twitter require more nuance as you really have to claim it for yourself and throw out the rules. If people don't like what you do, they don't follow you or unfollow you, and life goes on.

      I would add: don't be afraid to share some strong opinions sometimes. The now-departed-from-SAP Bill Wohl had an unconventional PR presence on Twitter for SAP,, more combative, but it was real and it led to vital moments that got people's attention. I wonder if he'll do the same at HP. 🙂

      I DO like to see some personality on people's Twitter streams though. Keeping it only about one business topic doesn't really work for me. I think it's more about finding the right mix of personal stuff that suits your personality. Part of the uncanny power of Twitter - if we can dig beneath all the PR and marketing tweet noise - is the way it connects people. The right personal sharing at the right time can spark a bit of welcome intimacy.

      I think Facebook has overtaken Twitter for those who are into lifestreaming, so I'd say, instead of having a separate personal Twitter account, just do the bulk of lifestreaming on Facebook if you're into that. However, having a personality on Twitter matters. Corporate Twitter accounts are at any inherent disadvantage because Twitter works best when you can be a little freewheeling, so if you have your own account, in my opinion, don't be too quick to surrender that advantage.

      I'm always surprised when I see SAP people integrating all their Tweets onto their Facebook personal pages. I find myself wondering - are all their friends SAP addicts? My high school and college friends on Facebook would get pretty sick of my latest SAP commentary pretty quick. Matt Steiner in his blog pointed out that the "selective tweets" app helps to solve this problem.

      As for paper.li, I sent out a few editions of mine and found that they added little value. It's a neat idea but I think it needs more refinement and control over what appears on the papers. I realized I never read them, so if they add so little value to my life, why should I be Tweeting them out. In its current incarnation I see paper.li as a fail and I apologize to anyone I annoyed for the week I experimented with it.

      Thanks for bringing up these do's and don'ts!

      - Jon

      Author's profile photo Sylvia Santelli
      Sylvia Santelli
      I like the term "lifestreaming".
      I tend to agree with the strategy. Leave Twitter for professional contacts, communication and conversations and let FB be the social platform it was designed to be and share photos of kids, dogs and vacations (or secret gaming obsessions w farms and the mafia).
      We don't need to represent every aspect of our lives in every location.  TMI! TMI! (Too Much Information!)

      Great points Jon!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks for great insights and making me chuckle :-). One inspiration for my blog was your and John A.'s bashing of RTs on Twitter. I wanted to get my own opinion out there and justify it...in more than 140 words; as you did hear, explaining that good RTs are wanted.
      Author's profile photo Sylvia Santelli
      Sylvia Santelli
      Thanks Natascha!

      I feel the same about you on so many of these topics, especially the "Don'ts"! I have also begun to wonder how much of the "noise" was really necessary bc it feels much more obligatory then anything else. 

      One thing I question is where it is worth it to have a seperate twitter account for "private" life.  I wonder how many people actually can keep up two of them and if there is really a point.  Maybe at a certain point part of our lives should stay off of the social grid.

      Thanks again for a insightful post!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Agree, I don't have a private Twitter account. I use it for my work friends. But if you wanted to organize your disco or dog walking schedule via Twitter, a second account and different following would make sense :-). Thanks for commenting.
      Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner
      Matthias Steiner
      Now right back into the cross-posting debate which results in distribted comments.

      As sad on your private blog: Great read. Instead of cross-posting my lengthy comment I opted for the trackback.

      I would want to stay up with the comments and feedback either way, hence is comments is sort of a subscribing comment. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks for your great blog. As I am "pro" cross-posting, you can now also find it at http://www.socialb2p.com, the blog of the social media audience marketing team at SAP (product placement over :-)).
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Matthias,

      sorry to have missed this, but just added my 2 cents to your "trackback" (http://www.inscope.net/post/1290). the content is still relevant even if not tweeted to the world at large.

      @greg_not_so

      Author's profile photo Kenneth Moore
      Kenneth Moore
      I never really got into Twitter.  However, interesting to see how quickly the love for the fad is fading.

      And PLEASE, don't Tweet and drive!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Don't Tweet or Text and drive :-). Why do you say the interest in Twitter is fading? I think we are simply learning to use the tool more effectively.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I think Twitter is no longer the "shiny object" it was for a few years. Now people are getting more serious about its use and tired of the noise. I think it's better now than it was and some rules are getting established, it seems, just like it happened for email :-).