Whether you’re just getting started on Twitter, or you’ve been tweeting for years, here’s a few tips for using Twitter effective (and observing proper etiquette in the Twitterverse):
I Will Use Twitter
If you don’t use Twitter yet, you should. With over half a billion users, it’s not a medium we can ignore. Join one of the fastest growing conversations online (11 new accounts are created EVERY SECOND).
I Will Upload a Profile Image
The default Twitter egg does not cut it. You need to take the time to take and upload a GOOD profile photo. If it’s a personal account, it needs to be a REAL picture of you!
I Will Use a Background
Don’t settle for one of the standard Twitter backgrounds. Find one online or create your own. If you’ve got a brand or logo, make sure you incorporate it – your background is valuable real estate, don’t waste it.
I Will Tweet More
If you’re tweeting less than a couple times of day, you’re not tweeting enough. Twitter is all about ongoing dialogue, if you don’t speak up regularly, people will stop caring about what you have to say. There’s a lot of a disagreement/discussion on how often you should tweet, but generally the consensus is at least 4 and less than 20.
I Will Spread Out My Tweets
Yes, tweet several times a day, but don’t send out 7 tweets back to back. It’s annoying and does not effectively reach all your followers (if they’re not online during that 10 minutes time block, they’ll have missed all of your tweets that day). Spread your tweets out throughout the day.
I Will Be Generous
As Michael Hyatt explains, “social media rewards generosity”. That means you need to give and share content, resources, and links far more than asking for anything in return. Michael Hyatt subscribes to the “20 to 1 rule” – selflessly share content (often from other people) twenty times for every marketing pitch you make.
I Will Be Me
People connect to people far more easily than to brands, organizations, institutions or companies. Is it important for your ministry/organization to have a Twitter profile? Yes. But it is EQUALLY IMPORTANT for the leaders of your organization to establish their own presence/relationships on Twitter. If they regularly connect their followers back to the organization, as their reach grows, so does the organizations. [LifeTeen does a great job of this. Each of their staff members have Twitter accounts with usernames that start with "LT", a great way to consistently and simply connect the people that make up the organization back to the organization itself.]
When using your personal accounts, make sure you’re accurately representing yourself: Use a personal photo; allow your personality to come through; and share content YOU enjoy.
I Will Stop Making it About Me
Yes, you need to be yourself on Twitter, but remember it’s not about you. If you use your Twitter account to constantly promote yourself or your organization, people will stop listening. People follow you for as long as the content you tweet is relevant and helpful to THEM. If more than 20% of your tweets are about you, your organization, or links to your blog, you’ve missed the mark.
I Will Engage with My Followers
Social media was designed to be just that: social. Make sure you are regularly engaging with your followers. Retweet and comment on their content, don’t just wait for them to interact with yours.
I Will Schedule My Tweets
If you’re supposed to be tweets more than 4 times a day and you’re supposed to spread those tweets out throughout the day, you might think that means you need to spend a lot of time throughout the day on Twitter. You don’t. Instead, spend 30 minutes at the beginning of your day and schedule a days worth of tweets with a program like Buffer or TweetDeck.
I Will Read It Before I Share It
When you share an article or video in a tweet, your followers will click the link assuming you have read/watched the content, so make sure you have. That way if they want to discuss it with you (or complain about it), there won’t be any surprises.
I Will Be Original
Sharing other people’s content is an important part of Twitter, but if that’s all you do, then your followers are better off just following those other people. So make sure you’re contributing original content as well: comment on the links you’re sharing, post reflections on something you read, add commentary to events that are going on that day, tweet quirky or humorous observations. Don’t force it: be yourself, but make sure you’re adding to conversation.
I Will Not Make People Jump Through Hoops
If you use a program to verify or confirm new Twitter followers (like TrueTwit): stop. All you’re doing is putting an unnecessary (and frustrating) hurdle between yourself and people who want to follow you. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for people to connect and engage with you.
I Will Not Auto-DM New Followers
I don’t need a thank you for following you. I especially don’t want you to clutter up my inbox with one. It doesn’t make me feel welcome or more engaged, in fact it normally makes me unfollow you.
I Will Make My Tweets Public
Don’t protect your Twitter timeline: Twitter was made to be public, if you don’t want share your tweets with the world, you’re using the wrong medium. And putting your potential followers through an approval process adds work for you and puts another unnecessary hurdle between them and you.
I Will Reply
If people take the time to send you a message or mention you in a tweet, make sure you take the time to reply. It’s quick and easy and it let’s people know that you’re listening and you care.
I Will Not Overload My #Hashtags
Hashtags are an incredibly useful and effective feature on Twitter. It helps you easily connect your content to other tweets on the same subject or from the same event. It also increases engagement: studies show that “tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without”. So definitely use them. But when you use 3 or more hashtags, it is: a) annoying; and b) leads to a dropoff in engagement.
I Will Develop a Strategy
Before you start tweeting (especially for an organization), make sure you have a strategy: know both the why and the how.
I Will Keep It Short
Twitter is all about keeping it short and sweet. All tweets must be 140 characters or less, but studies are beginning to show that even shorter tweets have a much higher engagement rate. How short? The best results come from tweets 71-100 characters in length.
Plus, shorter tweets are just easier to retweet. Think about it, when someone wants to retweet your post, their needs to be room for “RT @yourName “. Don’t make people have to edit your tweet to retweet it. And it’s even better if there’s room for them to comment.