Don’t Tweet This

Think Before You Tweet

Being named to the Nifty 50 Women on Twitter got me thinking about what’s important as an active member of the Twitter community. Twitter is the quintessential social media vehicle. It allows one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many communications. That said, as a social media platform, Twitter is difficult. You can’t just jump into the conversation and figure it out by the seat of your pants. It requires learning the secret language, building your tribe, and being a committed participant. On Twitter, the focal point is the community; it’s about all of us, not just one person or organization.
Whether you’re new to Twitter or have been active for a while, here are twelve tips to help you improve your interactions.

  1. Feed your community. This means finding and sharing interesting information for your followers. Just as people get tired of eating the same thing everyday, mix up the information you share. Use different sources and content formats.
  2. Add a touch of personality to your tweets. This makes your tweets stand out. Include a short, useful comment to guide followers. Edit post titles to shorten them while keeping the original meaning. Acknowledge authorship.
  3. Check tweets and links before sharing or re-tweeting! People often re-tweet incorrect URLs without realizing it because they never clicked the link! In a similar vein, strong titles can get re-tweeted while the article never gets read.
  4. Add creativity with the use of Twitter bait. Think about how to get others to tweet the same words. (For example: #UsGuys uses #RingTheTribalBell to welcome new members.) It’s particularly useful for talks and conferences.
  5. Don’t just re-tweet well-known folks or publications. Check the content to see if you want your name associated with it. Tweeting or re-tweeting highly tweeted sources may not get you recognized. Instead look for less popular content to share and stand out.
  6. Time your retweets. Don’t just hit the re-tweet button, change the timing by an hour or more to broaden the information’s audience.  This is important if your followers overlap or if you’re using the same hashtag. It’s acceptable practice to use a Twitter application to schedule your tweets.
  7. Expand your reach beyond your followers. Use relevant hashtags to distribute your tweets more broadly. Consider whether you want to link your tweets to other social media platforms and/or include a Twitter feed on your blog or website.
  8. Send your audience a busy signal. Let followers know when you’ll be having a lot more activity than usual such as a Twitter chat or live tweeting at an event.
  9. Don’t clog followers’ or a hashtag’s tweet stream. Space your tweets out rather than sending a bunch in a short time period. One exception is Christopher Penn; he selects five things (#the5) worth sharing each morning and calls it the five.
  10. Don’t repeat other people’s tweets just to see your name again. This happens a lot for lists of Follow Friday (#FF) and Marketer Monday (#MM). Give someone recognition with a unique call out that explains why others should follow them. This doesn’t mean that you should include someone’s Twitter handle in your tweet just to get their attention. That can backfire and piss them off!
  11. Be human but skip the minutia. Showing that you’ve got real life feelings and relationships makes you more approachable and enables people to relate to you. However, don’t tweet your every action; even your mother doesn’t want to know that much about you. We don’t need to know every Foursquare checkin.
  12. Show you care. Include some small talk in your Twitter communications, but don’t over share. Twitter can be a great way to build relationships. A great forum for Twitter conversation is #UsGuys. (Please join our 24/7 conversation.)

Twitter is a great social media forum for communicating and sharing information. Its challenge is learning the ropes to become an insider. While it’s important to be human, restrain yourself from oversharing or overpromoting.

Okay now you can tweet this post!

What recommendations for Twitter use would you add to this list? Please include your suggestions in the comments section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related posts that you might find interesting.

Photo credit: Larry Aronson,  Webmaster

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  • http://seoblog.yougomedia.com James Cordeiro (SEO)

    Excellent post on how to properly utilize twitter :)! good read, thank you.

    “On Twitter, the focal point is the community; it’s about all of us, not just one person or organization.” – I work hard at explaining this to clients, twitter is not just one person or organization or company, it is a community you need to become involved with. :)

  • http://melindatodd.com Mel @ Trailing After God

    Great post. I’d say if you aren’t willing to have two-way communication on twitter, then refrain from posting. I know a few people who run businesses who only tweet to advertise and then get frustrated that no one is coming to buy. LOL at the over sharing. I see that a lot :)

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • http://www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com Rusty Fischer

    GREAT post; this is some awesome stuff and I love the “the five” idea — that’s a great one! The only thing I would add is to respond, or reply; I check my “mention” column often and am always visibly grateful for anyone whose retweeted me, linked me, or just plained “mentioned” me. I just think that’s really important to keep Twitter from being so impersonal; but I loved this post and can’t wait to “share” it as well!

  • Kimberly Bringas

    Great article! I’m currently trying to restructure how my company approaches twitter. As a B2B company, we lack a human element to your twitter account. The biggest obstacle is coming up with a company policy of how people can use their twitter account, but still be interesting. Any article suggestions? I could use a solid starting point.

  • Mike Losee

    Excellent post Heidi. Thanks for sharing. As someone fairly new in tweet-dom, I try to take a ‘listen-first’ approach. My goal is to be more relevant, helpful or pithy…or at the very least, avoid being counter productive to the conversation.

    I believe you’ve covered that essence in the overall theme of think before you tweet, and appreciate the reminder! Just because the technology offers immediacy, doesn’t mean our thoughts have to follow suit =)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenpofcher Steven Pofcher

    Nice post with great ideas and tips. My favorite is #11 – Be human but skip the minutia. Sometimes 4SQ just clogs up the stream.

  • http://www.dedyfirmansyah.wordpress.com @dedy_firmansyah

    Thank you for the info! I’m gonna try it!