5 Twitter Do’s and Don’ts That Highlight or Hinder You

twitter dos and donts

I remember the first time I saw the Twitter blue Bird “chirping” image after I launched my business in late 2007. I loved it from first sight and use.

The idea of short 140 character comments and microblogging was brilliant. I don’t think any of us could have seen  the impact Twitter would have, in it’s real time, immediate ability to distribute breaking news and information. But it has transformed how fast we see it – and get it.

Says Digital Expert, Brian Solis, about TNN, the Twitter News Network:

Once again, we were reminded that…news no longer breaks, it Tweets.

Not only do we Tweet, but we follow the Twedia, have our own Twitterverse, read Twitorials, think some people are Twitless and yes, there is a Twitionary.

Social media, especially Twitter, is changing the game of journalism and allowing anyone to potentially break a story and take on the role of journalist. I learned about Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Osama Bin Laden’s deaths from Twitter. Other breaking stories include the Hudson River plane crash, the royal wedding announcement, Hurricane Sandy and the Moore Oklahoma tornado.

Twitter wants you to know a few stats about how brands use it, as it continues it’s mission to be considered as a major media company, which it is already well on it’s way to becoming:

  • 200 million people are active on a 30 day basis.
  • 95% of conversations about TV happen on Twitter.
  • Mobile users are 78% more likely to re-tweet a brand.
  • 50% of  Americans see, read or hear a tweet daily.

Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched in July as an online social networking service and microblogging service that enabled its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets.”

Twitter got it’s name, from the word twittering, which is the sound birds make when they communicate with each other. This turns out to be an apt description of the conversations and activity that happens on Twitter.

Twitter provides people with real-time public information. Even more profound is how it also helps groups of people to mimic the effortless way a flock of birds move in unison.

As I work with small businesses, entrepreneurs and professional consultants on their social media plan and messaging, I recommend Twitter as an integral part of  that plan. Twitter is an integral tool, resource and community. Especially now that smart phones, mobile and texting are exploding.

As an early adopter on Twitter (2008), I have learned much about etiquette, useability, utility and results. Amazingly, the top 15% of Twitter users account for 85% of all Tweets.

Below are 5 Twitter do’s and don’ts that can highlight or hinder you in how you stand out, get noticed and are remembered on Twitter.

5 Twitter Do’s and Don’ts

5 Twitter Do’s That Highlight You

1) Consistency

Be consistently authentic and deliver daily value.

2) Thankfulness

Thank people and show gratitude.

3) Genuineness

Tweet like you think and speak.

4) Respect

Respect the etiquette of the community and space.

5) Positivity

Vibe positivity, optimism and brand your own style.

5 Twitter Don’ts That Hinder You

1) Over Sell

Don’t over sell, over automate and under serve.

2) Spam

Don’t spam people, be disrespectful or be rude.

3) Over Tweet

Don’t over Tweet, overwhelm and under engage.

4) Vague

Don’t have an unfinished bio, bad avatar and no legitimate contact information.

5) Steal

Don’t post, re-tweet or steal content without acknowledging the source.

Although I have had some unfortunate interruptions in error on Twitter lately, I remain a staunch advocate, dedicated user and fan of the platform. If you get suspended or have any problems with Twitter, don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to know to get reinstated.

You don’t have to be on Twitter to be successful, but having Twitter in your media mix and using it strategically can enhance your business brand, reach and social media fun.  Learn more about how and why to use Twitter in these infographics.

What are your top Twitiquette do’s and don’ts?

Blue Bird Photo via Shutterstock

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Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

10 Reactions

  1. How long have you been on Twitter? What are your top Twitiquette do’s and don’ts?

  2. Hi Deborah,

    We’ve been on Twitter since 2007, also, but I have to admit that for the first 6 months we really didn’t “get it.” Twitter turned out to be a very positive outreach channel for us, once we got the hang of it.

    - Anita

    • Anita, that’s where I met you, as well as so many other awesome people and professionals. It really does take time to build the right community, and having the right people is better than having anybody.

  3. Appears my post is perfectly in synch with Facebook launching #hashtags, which I love but feel still work the best on the Twitter format.

  4. I wish I knew how to use twitter.

  5. Hi Barbara, if you want to learn, find someone in your network who knows and ask them for help, go to some social media workshops at your local small business center, google free Twitter webinars or get a referral and hire someone. You can do it!

  6. I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of months now. I just can’t seem to get into it. Can’t spend more than 5 minutes on it at a time. I’m therefore guilty of not being consistent.

    I don’t think I’m in a position to list do’s and don’ts seeing as I don’t use Twitter that much.

  7. Hi, in addition to your points, I’d like to add a few of my own.

    1. Increase your followers!
    For example, if you specialize in marketing, follow other marketing professionals for tips, information or just to connect with them. That will make a huge difference.

    2. Create Lists:
    Create lists to segregate and manage your leads. For instance, you could add your potential customers to one list and have another for those loyal customers that you already have. By creating lists, you are following them more closely and keeping track of their needs.
    Segregate customers depending on how important they are to you and which stage are they at in business terms, and segregate leads accordingly.

    3. Post interesting Tweets:
    As mentioned above, your tweet will either make it or break it. A regular tweet is restricted to 140 characters but Lead Generation Cards can have up to 240 characters, which includes the tweet, description and CTA. That is all you have to convert a customer into a client.

    4. Be active:
    Correspond with you followers on a daily basis. Re-tweet relevant information from other links or twitter accounts. Respond to queries. Make the most of “#HashTags” so they appear on the “Trends” section. All of this will also enhance your brand image.
    For example, don’t think for a minute that your followers would be inactive for a certain period of time. Most of them have Twitter apps on their phone which means they are watching you all the time!

    5. Be local:
    The concept of glocalization has really worked for brands like McDonald’s and Lay’s. Even in this case, it can be used to benefit your business. Target people who are within your reach and will benefit from your product or service.
    For instance, if you’re a retail chain, talk about trends in your local area of the area you cater to. That would make a difference.

    6. Use an effective Twitter handle and image:
    The Twitter handle (username) and image makes a difference. Be specific and clear so customers can directly identify with your business/product/service.

    When it comes to advertising, Twitter has a couple of features that help in marketing and lead generation. Try Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Accounts.

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