A guide to Twitter etiquette

Bluebird share conceptAlmost every company has a presence on Twitter nowadays, but some businesses are using it far more successfully than others. From the overly promotional to the completely silent, the cocky to the colloquial, there are plenty of social media pitfalls to run into, but often all that’s needed to remedy poor tweeting standards is a lesson in Twitter etiquette. Here are some guidelines that will ensure that your Twitter account paints your business in a positive light.

Dress to impress

This really should have been done as soon as you created your Twitter account, but if you haven’t yet got a profile picture, a background and a smart, succinct intro blurb, implement all three of these factors immediately. Adding these features makes your account look trustworthy and reputable, rather than spammy or incomplete. You wouldn’t put up with sloppy presentation on your website, so don’t let standards slip on your social accounts either!

Choose your characters carefully

Okay, so you’ve only got 140 characters to play with for each tweet, but that’s still no excuse for poor spelling and grammar. If you can’t fit what you have to say into this limit, post multiple tweets and use numbers in brackets to label your tweets, or investigate Twitlonger, which generates a link where people can click through to read the remainder of your message. Whatever you do, don’t resort to text-style abbreviations – it can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately, makes you appear unprofessional.

Stop sell, sell, selling

You’ve created your Twitter account for your brand, so it’s reasonable to presume that you want to use it for some kind of marketing – but there’s nothing more insufferable than a Twitter account with a timeline of nothing but ‘salesy’ tweets. The odd message with details of your latest product, service or offer is perfectly acceptable, but it’s important to intersperse this with genuine, interesting, engaging content to avoid irritating your audience with constant self-promotion.

Ignore others at your peril

Your response system on Twitter should be the same as on your blog – you should endeavour to reply to every single comment that you receive. Admittedly, Twitter is a fast-moving, real-time medium, so it’s possible that you’ll miss a couple of tweets in the timeline, and this is forgivable, as long as you acknowledge and apologise if it’s brought to your attention in the future. However, any tweets that you do spot should be responded to quickly and courteously – even negative comments should be dealt with in a prompt and
professional manner.

Credit where credit is due

The entire spirit of Twitter is in its sharing functions – retweets, favourites and the like are designed to share content with different audiences and spark conversation – but if you’re sharing content that isn’t yours, you need to make this very clear. Just as you wouldn’t use a picture without the permission of the photographer, or copy and paste a whole chunk of text from another blog, you must give credit for any images, phrases, facts or statistics that you share on your feed. The original creator will probably be thrilled that you’ve chosen to use their work, but they’ll definitely be angry if you don’t acknowledge that it’s theirs.

You get what you give

You can’t expect your followers to converse with you (and indeed, continue to follow you!) if you never bother to engage with them. Twitter was made with conversation in mind, so make sure you engage with your followers – and not just when they come to you! Seek out interesting exchanges and share any insights that you may be able to offer. This will make you seem knowledgeable and approachable in equal measures, and you never know where a simple conversation may lead! There are plenty of opportunities to be had on Twitter, so invest your time and effort and reap as many rewards as possible.