I know that a lot of people don’t get twitter and cant quite wrap their head around what it is all about. One of the reasons for this, I feel, is that Twitter is ridiculously simple. I feel that users expect it to be as complex as Facebook, where it is very straightforward.
Knowing how Twitter functions is the first step, however the success of Twitter is also in understanding its culture and etiquette, once you know this then Twitter is a fantastic social media platform.
Twitter Etiquette for businesses is slightly different to that of an individual. It is important that you promote your business and work towards your social media goals, but there is a delicate balance you need to strike so that your Twitter account serves the expectations of the Twitter community too. It is vital to keep these rules in the back of your mind, in order to have a quality Twitter account.
This is vital for your business but you need to be tactical and not promote too frequently. If you find you are getting unfollowed or getting no interaction from your followers then you are most likely missing the mark here. It’s best to follow the rule for 20%, promote yourself 20 per cent of the time and the rest is about Engaging with other users and sharing material and content that is not yours, but is relevant to your industry. Think of the word ‘adjacent’ – if my Twitter account is about coffee, I might share content about fair trade coffee growers, food that goes well with coffee or coffee related humour.
Hashtags in Twitter are a way of categorising and grouping Tweets by a keyword, if you click on a hashtag in a message it will show you other Tweets that include those hashtags. They are user generated and can be relevant to a topic (#irishbizparty), news story (#brexit) or a little more general (#sunnyireland). By using a hashtag you can expose your Tweet to a wider audience that is outside your following but interested in your topic marked by the hashtag you have used.
- For business use you should use hashtags that are related to news, business topics or business interactions. You can, of course, go off topic and use a fun or general hashtag every now as this show personality. #COYBIG
- Don’t stuff your Tweet with hashtags, it’s annoying and makes a business look like they are trying too hard. Stick to a rule of ‘three to five’, three hashtags are fine but five is pushing it unless it really warrants it.
- Try to include a quality and relevant hashtag about 70% of the time, it extends your audience and gets you exposed to new users. By not overdoing it you show that you are not always pushing for something and allows you to direct content to just your interested followers.
- If you are at an event or using a hashtag that you will be live Tweeting at a rapid pace and for an extended period of time, its no harm to alert your followers before you start. It’s a bit like warning your neighbours your going to have a party, it will inconvenience and annoy them, but allow them to expect a little bit of disruption.
Following and Followers.
Many Twitter etiquette blogs suggest that you should always follow a new follower back, however this is not always a good idea as there are a few problems with this. If you do, your Twitter feed becomes very noisy, some users follow to get you to follow them and then unfollow you (use Crowdfire to monitor this), It looks better if you have more followers than following.
So how do you decide who to follow back?
- There are a few ways to make a decision. Some of your followers will be colleagues or people you meet with regularly, lets face it, you kind of need to follow them back otherwise things can sometimes get awkward. Even if this is the kid of stuff that doesn’t bother you, it might bother them.
- Before you follow someone back, have a look at their Twitter bio. Their bio will give you a good indication if they are relevant to you or of interest. From their bio you can check out what they are about, if they have a website that you can have a look at, what country they are from. You can also look at how many followers, follows and Tweets they have.
- Have a read of their Tweets too, some of that they share will also let you know if they are worth your time. They might be a great at Retweeting content, sharing interesting articles or could tickle your funny bone when you need it. Maybe they don’t Tweet at all but are just interested in reading tweets.
Mentioning or Tagging other Users
In Twitter you can publicly mention other users by putting the @ before their user name. You do however; need to do this with the utmost of respect for both the person mentioned and the followers. When you mention someone in your Tweets your and their followers can see it, particularly if there is any characters or words before the mention.
- Use it to alert someone to you mentioning their article, book or as a reference to them. It’s courteous and you may benefit from their ‘fan base’ as they may want to know what you said in relation to this person.
- You can also use it to alert another user to some content that they might be interested in or to thank one or several people for interacting or following you.
- Don’t randomly mention people unless you are adding value to their Tweets and don’t use it to have a private or nonsense conversation with a friend.
- Remember that if you don’t put a character in front of the @ mention only the account owner can see it. If you want their whole audience to see that Tweet pop their user name in the middle of a sentence, it also looks like your writing more naturally. Some users just put a full stop at the beginning of the Tweet, but this can be a little obvious.
Finally and the most important thing is to add value to the community. Twitter requires time and investment. If you want to get followers you need to be engaged on Twitter on a regular basis.
You can schedule Tweets using one of the many scheduling tools available, but make sure you are creating a mix of your blog content, promotional, fun and other content remember adjacent) that is not from you.
You will need to take some time each day to Retweet, use hashtags, mention people and interact. If your really short on time you can do this while you eat, are in the loo or during your morning coffee. It is advisable too to join in an live hashtags that run once a week, these can be anything that it relevant to you. My favourites are
#IrishBizParty, #Womensinspire and #SuccessHour.
Now that you know the etiquette apply it to match the industry that you are in, Twitter takes a little bit of nurturing but when you get used to it you will probably begin to love it.