Rules Of Twitter Engagement

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As far as social media tools go, Twitter is easily my favorite. While I am by no means an expert (I’m not a fan of people calling themselves an expert at anything, even Tiger Woods), I’ve been around the Twitter block so to speak. A user for over two years now, I’ve seen Twitter go through some changes (remember when @ replies weren’t a feature and kept killing Twitter? Yup.) and lived to tell about it. Many companies, small and large, are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon these days, so I thought I’d lay out a few Rules of Twitter Engagement.

1. Keep up with your Twitter feed.

You can easily tell when an individual or a company logs into their Twitter account only once a day and then proceeds to bombard the network with 1,594 replies and tweets. A big no no! Twitter is all about immediate conversation, not five hours ago comments. I personally use a program called Tweet Deck which I run in the top left hand corner of my desktop that constantly updates my feed so I can keep up with the conversation. If you don’t like Tweet Deck, there’s Twhirl, Twitteriffic, a Twitter widget, and a host of other options.

2. Twitter is not, I repeat, NOT an IM client.

I keep using the word “conversation”, but not a conversation between you and your girlfriend over where you are going to go to dinner tonight. Remember, everything you post, your followers see, and that’s just one extra piece of information clogging up their life. So please save us all from the “@reply Thanks man!” or any other one on one conversation. If you’d like to partake in something like that, use the direct message feature.

3. Less is more.

I’m just as guilty as the next guy of tweeting “sitting down to my morning coffee!” but you have to think about others. Every time you tweet, think about having a meaningful conversation with your followers and customers.

4. Twitter is not an aggregator for your blog.

If the only thing you tweet is “New blog post: ________”, you are done before you even began. If I really care about your blog, I will subscribe to it in other ways. An occasional link is fine, especially if it pertains to conversations you’ve been having via Twitter.

5. Be honest and open.

This goes for any of your social media endeavors, but people really respond to a company having a human touch and honest interaction. Be prepared for some intense feedback, but also be prepared to engage in priceless conversation with your most loyal customers.

3 Responses to “Rules Of Twitter Engagement”

  1. DanielthePoet

    I completely disagree with the message of #2. Twitter is what you make it. For you, it might not be an IM client. But for someone else, it’s the best IM-like conversational tool ever.

    I am going to be conversational on Twitter at times to the point of appearing to be using IM. That’s life. That’s why we all have the “unfollow” option.

    When a tool is as simple as Twitter, making rules for it really just imposes one person’s opinions on proper use upon the rest of us.

    Yes, there are many different things that annoy me about how some people use Twitter. But I just unfollow them. I keep people I want in my twitter stream.

    If we didn’t have the option to unfollow, your rules of engagement would have more teeth. But the unfollow button is the great equalizer. We are each only as popular as our followers deem.

    It would make much more sense to me for you to @ or DM people who annoy you and say, ” just fyi, i’m going to unfollow because I prefer not to catch everyone’s IM-like conversations on Twitter.” That’s fair. You’ve given them the heads up. If they care enough, they can change. Otherwise, you just unfollow and let bygones be bygones.

  2. what exactly is twitter etiquette?…most time you know nothing about those you tweet to!…i guess one has to pick between having a conversation or just getting your blog noticed by 5% to 10% of those you tweet to….sorry i ll never use twitter for any real conversation…the 140 limit wont work for me for “conversation”…