But with this said, there is a right way to tweet and a wrong way to tweet. Do it the wrong way, and it can be a PR disaster, but if you treat Twitter with a kinder more personal approach you’ll be able to harness the power that Twitter enables, and you’ll be able to meet some great people along the way!
Whether you’re a business owner, job seeker, or Twitter newbie, follow these Twitter etiquette tips to help navigate your way.
1. Be Polite.
Remember that there is a real person behind the screen. Treat others as you would treat them in person. Celebrity, Alyssa_Milano replied to a rude woman on Twitter that made an all too public and distasteful remark about her absolutely gorgeous wedding dress,
“Shame that people take advantage of the anonymity they think the Internet affords them. People forget the human on the other side”.
Always treat people with respect, dignity, and tolerance.
2. Don’t Air Dirty Laundry.
Are you angry at your company, a boss, or co-worker? Do have negative feelings about a hiring company? Do you have strong political opinions? Well, don’t tweet about them! If you have frustrations, concerns, or strong views — privately talk to a friend or family member. More and more companies are searching social media for traits and behaviors on potential hires and employees, in fact, there are many cases where individuals have been fired, or a job offer rescinded after an unsavory tweet has been sent out. Case in point, this woman received a job offer from Cisco and tweeted out,
“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”
Needless to say, the job offer was taken off the table.
3. Take a Breather.
Maybe you have a lot to say, but tweeting 30 times in less than a 60 seconds will turn people off, and eventually, they will unfollow you. If you are unable to manually stagger your tweets, use a tool like HootSuite to schedule your updates out. Always provide quality over quantity.
4. Send Notes of Appreciation.
Do you like it when people send out re-tweets (RTs) and Follow Friday (#FF) mentions on your behalf? Then thank them! I believe it is perfectly fine to send out a mass thank you for RTs and #FF mentions, although, I do have one Twitter follower that disagrees with the mass thank you note, so for him I tweet an individual thank you for each RT and #FF mention. I also think it's nice if someone sends out a special tweet on your behalf, so show your appreciation by being responsive.
5. Be Engaging.
When you meet someone for the first time, you undoubtedly will ask them questions about their professional and personal life. Twitter should be no different, start and engage in conversations, this is how to wisely network and build relationships.
6. Twitter is a Public Domain.
Yes, you can delete tweets, but once you tweet something out there is a good chance that someone has already seen it and retweeted it, or taken a screenshot of it. So, watch what you tweet! Case in point, a social media manager for Sweet Leaf Tea, tweeted out from her personal account @SweetLeafApril,
This woman was suspended and later terminated, and the company deleted the entire @SweetLeafApril account. If you are going to use Twitter, treat it in a professional manner. Think twice about what you are going to tweet, and if you wouldn’t say it to a boss, client or co-worker, maybe you should hold back for saying it.
7. Be Discreet.
If at any time you want to stop following someone on Twitter, go right ahead and unfollow them. There is absolutely no need or reason to send a public tweet letting that person and all of YOUR followers know that you are unfollowing this person. This act makes you look petty and childish, and it will most likely hurt that person's feelings – just cut the cord and take the high road.
8. Promote Moderately.
Feel free to promote your business, blog, product or service but do it in moderation. Include lots of value in your tweets, from good articles, quotes, news, and personal tidbits. Don’t just promote the day’s new blog post over and over again like a broken record; you will lose followers and potentially be tagged as a spammer.
Whether it’s blogging with integrity or tweeting with integrity, if you are going to send out tweets that are paid for or sponsored, you need to be transparent to your audience and clearly tag your tweets with the sponsored hashtag (#sponored), advertising (#ad) hashtag, or affiliate (#aff) hashtag. Not only does this build trust, but it is legally required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Here's a snippet from the FTC website:
“The FTC isn't mandating the specific wording of disclosures. However, the same general principle – that people get the information they need to evaluate sponsored statements – applies across the board, regardless of the advertising medium. The words “Sponsored” and “Promotion” use only 9 characters. “Paid ad” only uses 7 characters. Starting a tweet with “Ad:” or “#ad” – which takes only 3 characters – would likely be effective.”
10. To Follow or Not To Follow?
When I first started using Twitter, I took Guy Kawasaki's advice and followed everyone who followed me. Since then I have learned that following everyone only encourages more junk. I now manually look at the people who are following me, and I follow the majority of them who share my same interests. On a daily basis, I block spammers, porn promoters, and shady people. If I find someone's tweets to be offensive, I will stop following and block them too. I truly believe in cultivating quality relationships and to do this I feel that followers need to be vetted. If everyone would take the time to do this, I think we would have much less garbage floating around on Twitter.
What rules and etiquette would you like to share with other Twitter users? Do you disagree or agree with my Twitter Etiquette Tips? I invite you to share your thoughts below.
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