As of December, Twitter had more than 500 million registered members, an astounding number if not for the fact that this is still growing. That means you have the opportunity to irritate millions of people, if you’re not careful.
But hey, this is social media we’re talking about. Are there any rules or standards that fit? Are there really legit and a nonlegit ways of using Twitter? Of course, there are.
Joining the Twittersphere doesn’t mean you’re not bound by any expectations or limitations. There is proper tweeting etiquette that needs to be followed. As with any rulebook, there are certain “thou shalt not” amendments you need to remember, which include the following:
1. Just say no to automated direct message. A lot of us are coping with busy schedules, but that’s no excuse for you to set up an auto-tweet each time someone follows you. Remember that the whole point of Twitter is for interaction, not auto-sharing or robotic tweeting. If you want to make a good impression on your followers, the least you can do is give them a genuine thanks via @mention or DM.
2. No one likes a constant self-promoter. Who/what else am I going to talk about? You think that because it is your account, you can do whatever you please with it, including nonstop sharing about every single moment of your life. Well, do that and watch your followers leave the fold Yes, it’s OK to tweet about random moments of your day-to-day activities, but don’t let it dominate your feed. Talk about other people, current events or even celebrity gossip. Vary your posts to keep the interest of your followers. Remember: Just a single click of the unfollow button can sever an important relationship.
3. There’s no need to spam. A lot of businesspeople have made the mistake of resorting to tweet spamming, and they’ve paid dearly for it. They’ve lost the trust of many followers, and they watched their followers rapidly decrease. The reason is obvious — plenty of people don’t want to read spam on their feed. Shameless promotional tweets are the best example, although automated and hashtag-filled tweets also fall into this category. Again, the whole premise of Twitter is interaction. If you want audiences to keep on trusting you or your brand, make your tweets as genuine and as interesting as possible.
4. Keep a cool head when tweeting. The Twitterverse poses another danger for its users: It’s easy to get carried away with your emotions in the moment. More to the point, there’s no one there to censor your tweets, which means that there are no limitations with what you can publish. Of course, other users can report you or block you — but that’s another story. The point is, should you say everything that’s on your mind? Of course not. Nothing good ever comes out of an angry, depressed or tired brain. It pays to choose your words carefully on Twitter.
5. Always be honest. The worst mistake you could possibly commit is lying. In the hopes of gaining more followers, you trick followers about your identity or who you’re representing. Sooner, if not later, your followers will see through your façade and you will lose their trust and possibly never gain it back. So just be honest with your intentions and state it clearly in your profile bio. If you’re a parody account, say it. If you’re a marketer, say it. If you’re a blogger, say it. There’s no wrong reason to be on Twitter, but there is a wrong way to use it.
6. Don’t forget to tweet! If over-tweeting is a mistake, then so is under-tweeting. You neglect building your social media presence because you’re too busy? That’s not good enough. Most people are now living fast-paced lifestyles, implying that you will easily be forgotten once a new and more interesting tweeter comes along. Don’t let that happen. Log in at least once a day instead of just once a week. Post at least five tweets every time you log in and reply/retweet your followers’ tweets. It won’t take much of your time, but it’ll help keep your reputation in check.
The weird but great thing about Twitter is there really are no rules. These guidelines I presented are merely proper decorum standards, ones that will help your Twitter identity become more popular in just a short space of time!
Jonny Lis is a digital-marketing specialist at Smart Traffic, an SEO company in the U.K. that offers reseller services to many clients worldwide. Lis oversees SEO strategies for Smart Traffic’s 300-plus campaigns.