How people use Twitter is constantly evolving as tweeters grow and change, so there are always new things to learn or trends to be aware of. Here are ten top tips for Twitter to help set you on the right path.
1. The answer is simple
David Cameron has been in the news recently asking the Civil Service to keep their communications clear and simple, and it is surprising how many brands over complicate their messages.
The message above isn’t a tweet, it is a policy and followers eyes will glaze right over to something else. Consider that your users may be from different countries, might not have English as a first language or poor literacy. How can you write a tweet that can reach all your followers? You don’t need to dumb down, but you do need to be coherent.
2. Get your timing right
Tweet too little and you risk looking absent, tweet too much and you are just plain annoying.
How much is the right amount? If you have lots to communicate I would advise a maximum of one tweet per hour (unless you are live tweeting). If your audience is B2B you may want to communicate largely during the day, if you are B2C, then commuter times, lunch and evenings/weekends would be more applicable.
3. Say thank you, but reign in the self-love
If somebody is nice enough to recommend you to their followers either through a follow Friday (#FF) or a long-form tweet, then that’s just dandy and you should certainly thank the nice person. Just don’t retweet this, as you can come across as narcissistic. Your followers have already followed you so they don’t need this recommendation. You are basically saying, “LOOK AT ME I AM SO POPULAR AREN’T I JUST AMAZING AND LUSH JUST GIVE ME A MEDAL.”
4. Don’t tweet drunk
I really don’t need to explain how wrong this can go. If you are live tweeting through an event with alcohol, lay off on the booze until your tweeting is done.
5. Watch autocorrect
This is especially pertinent when you are live tweeting. Everyone makes mistakes, but some are more embarrassing than others. For example, at a fashion conference my phone autocorrected the name Anya to anus. You get the point.
6. Watch automated posts too
While you are at it, watch your automated posts too. Scheduling tweets is pretty essential, but you will need to be aware of real time news and emerging trends and adjust accordingly. Tweeting about your product or service during a national crisis will gather negative attention, as will tweeting from an individual who is publicly engaged in activities elsewhere.
7. No one cares about most of your convos
If your tweet starts with a @name, you will need to put a full stop in front so that it shows up in your followers streams. However, if you are having a conversation with one person or company you will most likely not need to do this.
If while chatting to Donald Trump on Twitter he admits to major fraud, then slap a full stop in front of the @name in your reply and tell the world. But for the rest you really don’t. Why? Generally because your followers will be seeing one side of a conversation and that is BORING.
Plus, receiving something like “.@name only if you do!” just makes me think you are crying out “LOOK I HAVE CONVERSATIONS! I KNOW PEOPLE ON HERE! I AM ONE OF THE POPULAR KIDS.” You are the modern day equivalent of that Dom Jolly character.
8. If you say something offensive or bad, take action
If you tweet something offensive and you are wrong/have been hacked/have not briefed your staff correctly, call an immediate meeting with your superiors, agree your messaging and apologise. The longer you leave an official apology, the longer the outrage train has to build steam.
Some in digital will say there is no point deleting the offensive tweet, as someone will have screen grabbed it. However, by keeping something offensive on your channel you will continue to attract new users to any drama. By deleting it, you are showing this is not your stance on the subject, but be honest and tell your users it has been taken down in your apology.
9. While we are talking about outrage
Check yourself. It is very easy to react to things online, as they break so quickly. Sometimes things break incorrectly or are just plain wrong. Check any facts before you get on board with the pointing fingers.
Retweeting facts, statistics or quotes that aren’t true damages your brand in the long run.
10. You don’t get a choice about where your users complain
If you are a business and someone asks you a question or puts a complaint across to you through twitter, you need to respond. I have seen companies put out blanket statements to deter people from complaining through social media, or failing to respond to tweets in a timely manner. However, you don’t get a choice about where your customers are having conversations about you (just have a look at the #BadService tag).
By all means take it offline but failing to address questions or comments is going to cause more negative feedback. You also run the risk of losing customers. Ultimately it exposes companies or organisations as using Twitter as a broadcasting tool, rather than the interactive platform it is meant to be.
That said, if someone is talking about a product, place or person without using their @handle please, do not start talking to them from that account. Many people use twitter to have a moan sometimes. That is all it is. I bemoaned a marketing tool once* in a tweet and received three separate tweets from the company, the CEO and their biggest competitor within minutes. Inappropriate and a bit desperate.
Bonus 11. Don’t be nasty
Would you be comfortable saying what you are tweeting @someone if you were face to face? If not, why are you doing it on Twitter? It is rude.
And don’t give me that “I will tell anyone what I think to their face” a-la Big Brother/TOWIE/MIC style. That is what normal people call being a tactless idiot.
* No, I’m not saying who