Twitter has fast become a platform for businesses to share information, promote their brands, and establish thought leadership within their industry.
But with 200 million tweets being sent out into the Twittersphere daily, it's imperative that you strictly follow Twitter etiquette to avoid a faux pas that can alienate your customers and colleagues. Here are our top 10 tips to keep you popular on the Twitter playground.
1. Mind your manners
If someone mentions you or retweets your post, thank them. People like to be recognized for their efforts. Plus, it's a great way to begin a Twitter relationship. This small gesture may open the lines of communication between you and a potential customer or business partner. Even better, return the favor and retweet one of their posts.
2. Resist the urge to tweet too much
Research has shown that there is a fine line between just enough sharing and too much. Don't clog your followers' feeds with spam-like tweets. Remember that the best way to engage your audience is to post useful, interesting, relevant and original content. Before you tweet, ask yourself: "If I was a follower, would I care about this?"
3. Use #hashtags appropriately
Hashtags are a great way to encourage participation and help others track and find information. But don't overuse them. Putting a hashtag in front of every word of your tweet will do nothing more than annoy your followers.
4. Watch what you tweet
There have been some famous and embarrassing blunders on social media that have gotten individuals and even entire companies in a lot of trouble. Don't use your brand's Twitter account to discuss controversial topics, send inappropriate photos, or use explicit language.
5. Don't get too personal
Although developing relationships with customers is one the primary goals of Twitter, try to keep your tweets about relevant business information. Your followers don't need to know your personal business. However, if you're getting married or a favorite employee just had a baby, you may want to share the news for your brand loyalists to celebrate with you. Carefully consider what is appropriate to share.
6. Write professionally
Remember: Your social media presence is an extension of your business persona. Proper grammar and spelling helps you maintain a professional image. (No one wants to see a law firm or accountant office tweet "OMG! Its not 2 late 4 u to file ur taxes!"). Be sure to use proper forms of commonly misused words like there, they're, and their.
7. Be aware of your audience
Tailor your content to fit your audience. If your brand is focusing on tweens and teens, speak their lingo. If you are a B2B company, consider using language familiar to your industry. Be sure to post information that is relevant and timely to those following you and those you want to follow you.
8. Be timely with communication
If you've started a conversation with someone on Twitter, respond to them in a timely manner. More importantly, if someone poses a question to you, answer them! Social media is great for giving you an opportunity to engage immediately and directly with your consumer base.
9. Address customer service issues privately
Almost any customer who tweets you with a complaint or concern wants to be heard, but not all want to engage in a public dialogue. Directly address consumers through direct message, off the public "floor."
10. Warn followers if you're going to tweet a lot
So you want to live-tweet your product launch or charity run. That's a nice idea, but you may lose more followers who feel assaulted by a barrage of tweets. A little fair warning will be much appreciated, and your followers will likely give you a pass for the day.
Twitter is one of the most effective marketing tools of the last decade. Follow these rules, and you're sure to have many happy tweets ahead of you.
Jennifer Dancy is manager of corporate communications and PR for Demandforce. A version of this article first appeared on Flowtown.com.