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.
We at Sitening maintain Twitter feeds for some of our clients as a part of managing their online presence on a whole. If you have any questions about utilizing Twitter to your company’s advantage, I’d be more than happy to sit down and have a chat with you about it, or feel free to read Jon Henshaw’s awesome Raven SEO Guide where he addresses Twitter Marketing. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I can be found Twittering here, and the majority of my co-workers are also big users of the service, with everyone’s feed being found on their bios. Happy Twittering!