Twitter Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter
Do: Use the same etiquette in Twitter as you would in any other social setting. Mind your manners, as your mom used to say. Be sure to thank each person who helps you, even in the seemingly smallest way.
Don’t: Ignore anyone who talks to you or mentions your name. Reply with a Tweet or a Message or Favorite their Tweet. The “Favoriting” of a Tweet has evolved into the equivalent of a “Like” in Facebook. Be sure to carry on the conversation the other person initiated in their Tweet to you; give a “thanks” or do something that provides closure. Otherwise, they will feel ignored and will eventually stop following you.
Do: Thank a group of people in one Tweet if you have a lot of people to thank. But it’s fine to do this: “Thanks for the RTs: @name; @name; @name; @name; @name. You rock!”
Don’t: Tweet about a statistic without citing your source, preferably as a link to that source. Otherwise, people won’t respect you as a dependable resource for good information.
Do: Congratulate your peers, especially in your local area, when they achieve something worth congratulating them for. Twitter is great for promoting others. Your generosity will come back to you – just like good Karma. And it doesn’t hurt to gently ask – but only if YOU have given unto others first.
Don’t: Use Twitter like email while setting an appointment with someone. After the first couple of Tweets in which you’ve both decided to meet in person, take the conversation into Direct Messages or email or a phone call. NOTE: the Direct Message section is not as private as an email message. Developers who work with Twitter’s API can create a way to tap into your Direct Messages so their customers can access them.
Do: Use hash tags effectively so your Tweets show up in searches and so your followers know when you’re in a Tweet chat, or when you’re attending a conference with a designated hashtag to identify other attendees, or addressing a particular subject. Now that Google is starting to show Tweets in search results, it’s even more strategic to include popular hashtags in your Tweets that relate to those subjects/hashtags.
Don’t: Flood the Twitter Timeline (also known as your Twitter stream) with a bunch of your Tweets all at once. Instead, time them for a few minutes apart or longer if you don’t have too many followers. Use Bufferapp or Hootsuite to schedule Tweets that are content-related. Be sure to interact with your list of VIPs once a week. Anymore than that might feel uncomfortable to them and stalker-esque. (I just made that word up).
Do: Let your followers know if you’re taking a break from Twitter for a few days or longer. But don’t let others know when you’re going to be gone from home. Try not to take a break. Especially for beginners: it’s like starting over on Twitter when you return. And that leads me to the next tip…
Don’t: Be gone from Twitter for more than a day, if you can help it, because you’ll have to re-build momentum. If you’re gone for a few days, you’ll practically have to start over, especially if you’ve been trying to build relationships with people who use Twitter SEVERAL times a day.
Do: Ask permission before Tweeting about meeting a person. This is a pet peeve of mine. Respect privacy and client confidentiality as well. A couple of times, people I’ve interviewed for possible work with my web studio actually Tweeted about our meetings. They weren’t detailed and revealing but it bothered me that they betrayed confidentiality. In hindsight, I do feel flattered that they did that but still… maybe that’s just me.
They were so excited to reveal to their followers that they were meeting with me that they committed the “name-dropping Tweet” on me, which I didn’t like. I felt used. So now, when faced with meeting someone in a work situation who could possibly Tweet about our meeting, I make it a point to tell them “please don’t Tweet about this. I consider our meeting private.”
Re-cap: Twitter etiquette has many do’s and don’t’s. I could write a lot more but you get the picture. Like a few basic table manners, these tips should help point you in the right direction and will keep you from looking like you have no Twitter manners.