Twitter is an ever-growing social network and ever-important asset in marketing your company. The unique formatting of the site allows you to reach an expanding pool of customers: current, past and potential. In order to most effectively interact with your followers you have to be aware of what you should do, and what you should never do on Twitter.
1. Never stay an egg
‘Egg-heads,’ as they’re called, are the default profile picture on Twitter and they are extremely unprofessional. If you’re an individual, use a high-quality headshot, if it’s a company account, use your logo. This should be one of the very first steps you take immediately after creating your Twitter account and is also one of the most essential.
2. Never leave your profile blank
This is a perfect opportunity to tell the Twitterverse more about yourself and your business and to add context to all of your tweets. Keep it short, sweet, and descriptive. For many, this will be the first thing they ever learn about your company, so plan your profile accordingly.
3. Never use numbers or symbols in your name or handle
This, just like an ‘egg-head,’ has the tendency to appear unprofessional. It can also be difficult for your followers to remember exactly what non-letter symbols are used in your handle. Vine is a perfect example of this. The handle ‘@vine’ was already in use, so the company was faced with an interesting dilemma. However instead of tacking meaningless characters on to the end of their handle, they decided to add a short word after it, ending up with ‘@vineapp’ which is a lot easier to remember, and appears significantly more professional than, say, ‘@vine_3221.’
4. Never carelessly follow everyone who follows you
Followers may be important, but maintaining professionalism is more important. Just because a user follows you, doesn’t mean you are obligated to follow them back, this especially applies to users with illegitimate or inappropriate user names or accounts that are obviously spam. Also, avoid ‘follow backs,’ which are accounts that promote themselves as automatically ‘following back’ anyone who follows them in order to artificially boost following/follower numbers.
5. Never talk only about your company.
The purpose of Twitter is to build relationships and foster communities of varying sizes. Instead of simply focusing on your company’s content, you should focus on the exchange between you and your followers in order to cultivate a community around your brand.
6. Never send automatic messages saying “Thanks for the retweet or follow.”
Take this opportunity to foster that brand community by starting up a relevant conversation with the user. This way, they’ll feel like they are receiving individual attention and will be more likely to interact with you in the future. You can also go onto their profile and find something of theirs that you then retweet. It’s a beautiful cycle leading to increased exposure and a healthy relationship for the both of you.
7. Never call out a person or business.
It is important to keep an optimistic tone in your social media posts because you don’t want your business associated with any sort of negativity. Focus on building your company up instead of tearing others down. On that note, never retweet something negative about yourself, even if the goal is to prove a point. It’s unnecessary negativity.
8. Never ‘multi-tweet’
This means you should never post something that will take more than 140 characters to say, so it runs over into more than one tweet. As I’ve said before, the key on Twitter is to be short and sweet. If your message is over 140 characters you either have to pare it down or not post it. Can’t cut content from the message? Try posting it to Facebook instead.
9. Never overuse hashtags
For one, there should be no more than three hashtags in any one tweet, any more and you run the risk of looking like spam. Also, hashtags need to make sense and be relevant to the tweet you are composing. Better hashtags mean higher quality readers since those who actually care about the content of your posts will be able to find you. Tweets need to be meaningful in order to foster community as well as the credibility of your company. Misuse of hashtags runs rampant on Twitter since it can be a tricky subject to navigate.
10. Never use your business account for anything personal
While most instances of this are generally mistakes, it can still be extremely detrimental to both you and your company. That is why it is so crucial to be aware at all times of what account you are using to post. Try using separate mobile applications for personal and company accounts or use tools like Hootsuite to manage multiple accounts at once. Negligence is a horror story waiting to happen, with things of massive importance, like company reputation, on the line.