While there are no set, written rules when it comes to Twitter etiquette, there are however some general “good practices”, particularly when using Twitter for business. Many, many small businesses are just doing it wrong. Let’s cover here some No-No’s in using Twitter in a business context – that is on your professional account(s).
They may seem basic? Well they may be to some, but I still see only way too much of those going on on Twitter.
So here we go:
- Don’t leave your biography and picture blank
I never even look at accounts with an empty bio and the default egg picture from Twitter. Use the 160 characters for the bio to tell who you are and what you do, and throw in some relevant keywords. As for the picture, use either a professional photo of yourself (please, stop using pictures of your dog / your favourite meal / your kids at the beach / etc…) or your logo - though I tend to recommend using a photo, as people are more likely to interact with a person than with a brand. Remember that in “Social Media”, the key is “Social”. Last but certainly not least, small tip: use a picture with bright colors to make your Tweets eye-catching in your followers’ timelines and create a form of brand-awareness in the Twitter crowd.
- Don’t write in capital letters
Basic and valid anywhere on the Internet. Capital letters equal shouting. Just. Don’t. Do. It. This applies in your biography as well.
- Don’t send welcome DMs (private messages)
That one is pretty controversial. Some think welcome messages are a must, others think the opposite. Truth is, I’m all for welcome messages in essence. The idea is great, is perfectly in the social spirit and it can be perceived as a really nice attention. The problem is, in between, almost everybody does automated welcome DMs… and as a result, inboxes are being flooded. Personally, I don’t even read welcome DMs anymore and systematically delete them. I gradually came to perceive them as spamming and irritating. Worse : sometimes I miss a real, actual private message from a follower because it got lost in the mass of welcome DMs. So my advice: don’t. Whether automated or manual (as if you had the time!), don’t. If you really want to keep welcoming new followers, then a good compromise could be a public welcome tweet with mention.
- Don’t use TrueTwit or other validation services
While filtering followers on your personal account is another matter, using validation services such as TrueTwit is a really bad idea on your business/professional account because you’re simply losing followers. People are much more likely to unfollow you or simply ignore the validation request. Seriously, between automated welcome DMs and validation requests, I came to the point where I simply ignore those, unless it’s someone I really, really, badly want to follow. So unless you are Justin Bieber or a world famous leader / CEO, just don’t.
- Don’t make your tweets private
Ok, this one may seem silly but how many small businesses went through the troube of setting up a Twitter account, religiouly send their tweets, follow all the recommendations and integrate specific keywords in their tweets… and those are not public. If you are doing this, then it probably means you have not quite understood what Twitter can do for your business and that therefore, you probably don’t have a really clear and productive Twitter strategy. Again, do what you want with your personal accounts but don’t make your business account private. You might as well have no Twitter account in that case.
- Don’t auto follow back
Auto-follow back can play some nasty tricks on you! Unless your company is in the pornography industry, you may not want to publicly follow the Twitter account of a sex-shop – remember that the lists of people who follow you and the people you follow are public – anybody can see them. This applies to any religious, political, etc follower. Remember it’s your brand out there, and you surely don’t want it affiliated with everything and anything – so make sure to be selective when it comes to following back, and therefore don’t set up automatic follow back on your business account.