The Essentials of Twitter Etiquette

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
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As Twitter is becoming an increasingly more important part of most companies’ social media campaigns, it is becoming important to understand how to use this online tool effectively and courteously. It’s a social media tool similar to Facebook or Google+, but the act of Tweeting offers its own unique features that create a whole new body of dos and don’ts regarding the use of this new online communication method. Before you start Tweeting away on either your business or personal account, you should be aware of some of the most important rules regarding Twitter etiquette.

The most important rule is to remember that you are sharing Tweets with the general public. The informal nature of social media platforms often leads individuals to feel that they can get away with Tweets that say things that they wouldn’t say out loud in public or publish in a mainstream publication. Despite Twitter’s relatively short history up to this point, there is no shortage of politicians, actors, and more who have severely tarnished their image through Twitter. Don’t be taken in by how casual it seems to simply post a Tweet. Subject your Tweets to the same standards in terms of propriety and courtesy as you subject any other statement you make to the public.
Before you begin to post your Tweets using Twitter, you should spend some time reading other people’s Tweets and getting a feel for the Twitter atmosphere. This will not only allow you to get an idea of what makes a good Tweet, but it will also expose you to individuals and institutions that you may want to follow. You will also acquire a better idea of how the social media platform functions and how to get messages out to the right people if you take the time to go through a trial period before you start Tweeting. You will learn the best ways to use hashtags in your Tweets and to phrase your Tweets to ensure that you will not only have followers, but that your followers will be reading each of your posts.
Twitter Etiquette Add Value to Twitter especially if you are a brand or business, long gone are the days when Twitter was known as a big joke were everybody was tweeting what they had eaten for breakfast or lunch. You can still have fun but make sure that you are adding value to your followers day, need an example of someone that is doing this well then take a look at @WstonesOxfordSt
As we said earlier make sure you understand #hashtags and more importantly don’t overuse hashtags nobody wants to see a great list of #this and #that or #theother especially when before you realise it you have no room left to say what you had intended saying in the first place.
If you are going to automate things (and it is perfectly acceptable, we are all busy) make sure that the tweets still sound human and that there is someone available to respond and engage with people once the tweet has been sent. If this isn’t possible and you are not going to be available when the tweet goes live then avoid automation, there is nothing worse than sending a tweet that sparks a conversation and there being nobody available to answer.
While we are on the subject of automation No automatic DMs no one wants a message saying how excited you are to connect etc etc if you don’t really mean it. If you want to strike up meaningful discussions and relationships on twitter then make it personal when you respond to a new follow.
In addition, when brainstorming topics and facts that you wish to Tweet about, you should remember to Tweet what you know. Rather than filling up Twitter with excess fluff, take the time to consider what your readers will be interested in and where your followers’ interests and your knowledge intersect. Reading the Tweets of others will help here as well, because they will give you ideas on what you want to put in your own Tweets. Follow the news regularly– especially news and developments that are specific to your industry if you are Tweeting for a business account– and let the things you read give you ideas.
If you know a subject well then criticism of a inanimate objects or subject matter is OK but criticism of a person will open a can of worms that you really don’t want to be dealing with. Remember that although you can delete something you have said any responses will still be about and 9 times out of ten it will have gone way beyond where you wanted it to so to be safe always avoid negativity.
Twitter is a great tool that can help many businesses and individuals to get greater exposure online through a creative platform that allows succinct, catchy posts to be sent out that pique the interest of potential contacts and clients. A little background research and you’ll be exploiting the full potential of this highly popular social media platform in no time.

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