Amanda J Dennis | Don’t Be a Twitter Twerp! 8 Tips for Tweeting
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Don’t Be a Twitter Twerp! 8 Tips for Tweeting

Do you have a Twitter account? If you have a Facebook business page, it seems that acquiring a Twitter account is the next item on the social media checklist. Do you know why you have a Twitter account (other than the fact that everyone is telling you that you should have one)? And if you already have a Twitter account, do you know what to do with it? Now that technology has given us the ability to link all of our social media accounts, our news feeds have suddenly become cluttered with Twitter Twaddle: incessant hash tag-filled tweets promoting things we don’t want, don’t need and don’t want to see again. That said, Twitter can be an excellent marketing tool when used properly. Consider your objective in using this social networking channel and take note of these 8 rules.

  1. Complete your profile page before you do anything else. Twitter is based on casual conversation and people like to know something about the people they follow. Take advantage of this “first impression” opportunity. Choose a username that includes your first and last name whenever possible. Upload a profile picture, something more casual than the one you use for LinkedIn or your corporate website, and write a clever description of yourself that is designed to pique the interest of potential followers.
  2. Selectively follow. Avoid following too many, too fast. You don’t want to become overwhelmed right out of the gate. Pay attention to your following/follower ratio. You want a well-balanced ratio of qualified followers. Initially, you may find that your ratio is closer to 2/1.  Once you have spent some time cultivating your Twitter skills, you will be able to come closer to a ratio of 20-30%. Choose your Twitter friends carefully, considering the value they add to you and your network. Don’t worry. It’s okay not to follow if they don’t meet your criteria. Stick to the quality over quantity rule and you won’t go wrong.
  3. Avoid auto-reply DM’s. That’s Direct Messages for you newbies. And most people just see this as spam, particularly if you make your sales pitch before attempting to get to know them. Even if it’s simply thanks for following, it’s still perceived as impersonal and intrusive.
  4. Stop spamming. Yes, it’s spamming when you constantly send only messages promoting your organization, products or services. Twitter is not a billboard, directory or advertising periodical. It is a social network. Be sure to include tweets that pass on articles that you found especially interesting, advice and tips for your followers, breaking news. And include a few personal observations that show a bit of your personality. 
  5. Allow space for re-tweets. Though you are allowed 140 characters, it doesn’t mean you have to use them all. In order to further your influence it is important that tweets be shared. Make it easy for your followers by providing them the space to do just that.
  6. Always give credit to a source. If you find a great article, blog site or tip, find their name on Twitter and give them props by posting a compliment along with their user name. Do the same with re-tweets. If it’s been re-tweeted several times, include the original source. Never steal a tweet from someone else. They will know.
  7. Use consolidation software to maximize networking opportunities. If you have your social media accounts linked and you are an aggressive tweeter, you may be setting yourself up to be eliminated from news feeds. Let’s face it, there is no “right” or “wrong” number of tweets, but the Twitter community expects more engagement than your LinkedIn connections or your Facebook fans. Hootsuite and TweetDeck are two examples of consolidation software offering free basic accounts. 
  8. Commit to communicate. Daily. At least five times. New tweeters start out strong, and then flame out once the newness wears off. Think about the social interaction that goes on at a cocktail party.  You don’t stride up to someone new, make a statement, then turn and walk away. Twitter works very much like cocktail party chatter. It won’t deliver the results you expect if your approach is to broadcast a message and consider the “task” complete. Your goal is to engage and influence; leave the soliloquies to Hamlet. Respond to every personalized DM and attempt to respond to every mention. If you can’t commit to this level of communication, then Twitter is a waste of time for you and your organization.
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