Don’t be a twit: Practicing good Twitter Etiquette

The rise of Social Media, and more specifically Twitter, meant that ordinary citizens like you and I, were all able to practice freedom of speech, promote self-expression, and easily debate with millions of people across the world in extraordinary ways.

Not only is this revolution hugely liberating, but it’s also immensely powerful when you consider the change that it can stir-up in its masses.

By nature social media is an open platform, which means that there aren’t really many hard and fast rules. It’s ultimately up to you what you post, talk about, retweet or have an opinion on – just so long as it doesn’t break the law. But law aside, the different social media channels all have a few unspoken etiquette rules of their own – and business or personal, I’ll give you a few pointers on how to avoid being a twit on Twitter.

Twitter, at its core is a bustling metropolis with over 288 million active residents who all enjoy a bit of gossip, all really love having their say, and as you can image – a lot of ‘he said, she said’ goes on…but in a good way, because that’s called sharing, and sharing is good. So, just like in any good city, there are ways to be a stand-up citizen in TwitterTown, and ways not to.

Rule #1

Make sure your tweets aren’t protected

There is this little function where you can choose to protect your tweets. Make sure it isn’t turned on, and don’t turn it on thinking it might help your twitter feed, because it will basically just make you offline to everyone. There is no point in being on Twitter if no-one is seeing anything you tweet.

Rule #2

Put a limit on those hashtags

Hashtags are valuable because people it categorises your topic, but stick to 3 maximum. You only have 140 characters, and reading a post that is predominantly hashtags is ever so slightly unappealing.

Rule #3

Be a good Twitter listener

As much as businesses use social media to gain awareness and self-promote, they also need to understand that it isn’t a flea market. It’s a community where ideas are shared and friends are made, and through being a good listener and conversationalist… and only promoting yourself 20% of the time… you’ll find your brand become a whole lot more likeable.

Rule #4

Keep your profile pictures professional

I somehow don’t think this one needs much explanation.

Rule #5

Auto direct messages are a little generic

It probably seems like a great idea to set up an automatic direct messaging system when someone follows you, and the idea of it still holds great value… it’s just a little poof when you receive all of these generic messages from brands who say thank you, but then instruct you to follow them on every other social platform. Either write more personalised messages, or rather just get to know those followers on the twitter-verse before taking that next step. Great relationships take time.

Rule #6

No being mean!

Especially and unequivocally not on a business’s social account. In conversation, people do disagree sometimes, and that’s ok. Make sure it keeps to an intelligent conversation, even if it has by some measure turned a bit ugly. You can’t take back what you’ve said in real life, and it’s the same for anything that happens online.
This is a good lesson in for any account – personal or business – don’t ever let your emotions make you use hate speech or say ugly things.

Rule #7

You can’t follow the whole of Twitter

And you shouldn’t. Attempting to follow all 288 million Twitter users in an attempt that they might all follow you back is futile for any business. Not only will your news feed be backed up with copious amounts of posts that hold no value to you whatsoever, but you’ll lose your twitter identity by not being associated with one or two main focusses. Twitter is there to mingle with the people who a relevant to you, and grab the attention of potential customers who need exactly what you offer. So, go ahead and make friends, but make the right ones!

Rule #8

Save it for the phone 

This is more of a personal one, but having the world watch as you have a long conversation with a long-lost friend over Twitter about that one time long ago is a little tired. You have 140 characters to use, so you’ll want to not use 10 posts in a row about something that doesn’t benefit other people, and instead, you might want to take that conversation over to email or phone.

Rule #9

Share the love

Sharing articles, great work, awesome facts and anything really that you think it just fantastic, is a great way to share the love – and most importantly, learn! Twitter holds endless value to what we can learn and discover, so it’s great to give credit where credit is due.

Rule #10

Keep your sentence structure…well, ‘sentency’

Unless you really are that angry (which I wouldn’t suggest taking to social media with anyway), don’t write everything in capitals. It looks and feels LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING. Scary stuff.

What are your do’s and don’ts of Twitter? We’d love to hear your opinions! Feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts, or tweet us @HaloEffectSA

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