With over 307 million monthly active users (as on the third quarter of 2015), Twitter is one of the most influential social platforms that every organization and individual wants to use to their advantage. When used correctly, Twitter can, perhaps, prove to be the best tool for reaching out to your target audience. But, just like any other social media site, this micro-blogging platform too has its own standard protocols and etiquette. We are not just referring to its 140-character limit. There are certain other etiquettes that you need to follow to use this social channel to its full potential and meet your business objectives, whether you’re a full-fledged social media agency or just a community manager for a small business.
Here are a few Twitter etiquettes and tips to help you rule them all.
Create the Perfect Twitter Profile for Your Business
Tell the world who you are with your Twitter profile. It’s easier to do than you think. But, you need to ensure that all the element of your profile reflect your business identity and personality. Twitter already has clear guidelines to help businesses create the perfect profile.
There is more to the perfect Twitter profile than just creating a handle and writing a few words about your business. Social branding is crucial to make your profile shine. Consider the following tips to do so effectively.
A. Use Your Real Name
Use either your business name or your own name on your Twitter profile. If the latter is not available, try something else, but make sure that it is relevant, apart from being short and unique. Short because it will make it easier for others to mention you in their tweets or retweets (remember the 140-character limit); and unique because it makes easier for fellow Twitter users to find your profile via organic search.
Most importantly, never use made-up names just because your own name isn’t available. You will find it difficult to connect your Twitter profile with your social profiles on other platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or blogging websites. Besides, it will be extremely difficult for people to remember/identify you if you use made up names.
B. Use a Customized Header Photo
For businesses, having a customized header photo relevant to the organization is a must-have on Twitter. It’s very easy to change your header photo on this microblogging site. Just click on the camera button and select ‘Upload photo.’ You can upload photos of up to 2MB in size for your header, although the image will be resized automatically depending on the size of the users’ browser window.
According to Twitter, photos with 1,500 pixels width and 500 pixels height are most preferred. That said, you can upload larger images as Twitter will crop them automatically to fit them on-screen. You can further crop the image and reframe it, if you wish.
C. Add a Proper Bio
This is one of the most crucial parts of your Twitter profile. You are allowed only one hundred and sixty characters to explain the nature of your business. How do you use this to your advantage? The best solution is to add keywords. Your business’s Twitter profile is similar to your SEO landing page that wants to be found easily. Adding targeted keywords to your Twitter bio increases your chances of being found. This, in turn, will help you get more followers, making it easier to target potential clients and customers.
In addition to this, add business details like your website address even if you have already added it in the separately provided field. In short, always treat your Twitter bio just like your SEO copy.
D. A Custom Background is Useful
Many think that a custom background is for big brands. If you hold a similar option, think again. This is a fairly inexpensive way to convey important details about your business. Many businesses are using it smartly to provide their detailed contact information.
Once you have perfected your Twitter profile, it’s time to polish your micro-blogging etiquette.
Here are 15 tips to help with this:
1. Engage with Clients
Twitter is all about engaging with your followers. This tool is meant to aid genuine interaction with people. Find people who belong to or are interested in your particular industry and share similar hobbies and passions to start interacting. Twitter Search is a great tool, where you can use the most obscure keywords to find your target audience.
While tweeting is the essence of this micro blogging site, replies and conversations are the secret weapons to help you engage with fellow Twitterers. So, if someone retweets your content, begin by thanking them and make a mention of them to initiate a conversation. This is one of the best ways to make people notice you.
2. Curate Content
For businesses, Twitter is probably their key content curation tool. Why? Simply because content is almost always fresh here. It is brimming with content gems, and all you need to do is discover the right content for your target audience. In fact, many expert content curators use this social media channel.
Content curation, however, calls for a certain amount of technical and process knowledge and skills so that you can generate a steady stream of high-quality and relevant content without being controversial or unethical.
Upworthy, for example, has a great strategy for content curation. They make weighty topics interesting and fun using cute images and creative headlines to obtain viral success. Their editors use Twitter and Facebook to find the right content at the right time.
3. Share Quality Content
In order to be successful on Twitter, you need to have a proper content strategy in place. While there is no limit on the number of tweets you can post in a day, focus on providing good quality content consistently. Generating quality content helps to establish a regular pace and schedule, as well as helps you earn credibility among your followers.
One way to drive extra reach on twitter is to work with twitter influencers. Platforms like Grin can help you find influencers in a simple way to help you expand your reach.
Another way to increase your appeal among fellow Twitterers is by sharing quality visual content, especially insightful infographics.
4. Join Trending Conversations
Remember when we suggested that you engage with clients with replies and genuine conversations? One of the best ways to do so is by joining trending conversations. The below image illustrates how Pratik Dholakiya, Co-Founder at E2M, leveraged the trending topic #FacebookDown to establish quality conversations with his followers.
Twitter already posts some of the trending topics on the left side of the page. Apart from that, there are several other tools to discover what’s trending on this micro-blogging site and other social media sites. Twitter Search is one such tool. Additionally, there are several tools like Hashtagify.me, Statweestics, Trendsmap, Twazzup, among others.
5. Connect with Influencers on the Network
Getting industry influencers to follow you on Twitter is not enough. You need to create a real connection with them. For this, you need to first engage in conversation. Begin with @Mention them. Other ways to connect with influencers in your network include retweeting their updates, sharing their blog posts along with a @Mention, writing something interesting/challenging about what they have tweeted, and so on.
Here is a great example of how you can gain influencers’ attention by writing about something they tweeted earlier and @Mention them in your tweet.
6. Use Automated Messages (The Right Way)
Using automated messages is often a matter of debate for marketers. However, using it the right way can actually help you boost engagement. For example, you can automate open-ended messages like “Thanks for the follow, what’s your resolution for 2016? Mine is to explore more of Paid Ads.”
Whatever you do, don’t use automation tools that make your Twitter profile look like nothing but an announcement board.
7. Think before Trolling
First thing first, Twitter is taking a strong stand against trolls. You should, therefore, be careful and think twice before you try to troll someone on this micro-blogging platform. A lame joke can, sometimes, turn into a war of abusive words and may have serious consequences. Isabella Sorley, for example, was jailed in 2014 for her troll message aimed at Caroline Criado-Perez, a feminist campaigner.
Even if things don’t get serious, your own troll message can backfire. Here is how Flipkart trolled a troll on Twitter and nailed it with right amount of humor and sarcasm.
8. Tickle the Funny Bone
You can be hilarious on Twitter and if done right, it can get you noticed by hundreds of thousands of Twitterers. In fact, you can attract and retain more followers by tickling their funny bone. But, you need to be careful with your humor. What may seem funny to you can be a sensitive issue for others.
9. Get Personal
Even though you’re using your business profile, don’t shy away from getting personal. In fact, you can never entertain and engage your followers by posting only corporate statements. Your followers require you to be as human as possible. They want to know about your journey, struggles, challenges, success, and failure. Such stories humanize your brand in the eyes of your followers. As it is, Twitter is an extremely personal medium.
Do get personal in your tweets, but make sure they are meaningful for your audience so that they are motivated to establish interaction with you.
10. Don’t Schedule Your Tweets Way In Advance
Twitter allows you to schedule your tweets for up to a year in advance. There are a myriad of options available, from HootSuite, Buffer, TweetDeck to Twuffer. While many find it convenient, scheduling your tweets way in advance isn’t a great idea.
Let’s consider the (in)famous Twitter horror story of American Rifleman when a pre-scheduled friendly tweet “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” became their worst nightmare. Their tweet became a victim of bad timing as the details of a tragic shooting incident that took place in Aurora, CO were also released at the same time.
11. Don’t Obsess Over Verified Profiles
Verified profiles are no more limited to celebrities these days. But for many, following verified accounts is an obsession. Some businesses also embrace this strategy, thinking that it will help them expand their reach. But, the reality is different. There are lots of verified profiles on Twitter and not all are of use to your business.
What good would following the verified profile of Kim Kardashian West do to a business that sells plumbing and hardware products? Instead, it is better to follow profiles that are relevant to your niche and offer meaningful tweets.
12. Use Hashtags Appropriately
Twitter Hashtags add voice to your post. You can hashtag a trending topic, an event, a brand or even a person. #Always, for example, started trending after news of the death of the English actor Alan Rickman was broken.
Hashtags are, no doubt, a great way to leverage a trend; however, don’t go overboard with them. Your tweets must hold some meaning for your audience. A tweet that contains only hashtags looks like spam and no one likes spam-y content. You should, therefore, be careful and limit hashtags to three or less.
13. Sync Your Tweets with Major Events
Have you noticed how big brands sync their tweets with major local, national or international events? You can do this strategically too. Such events are already trending, and people are already talking about them and searching for more information. The content is so easily accessible; all you need to do is keep the buzz going with a few well-timed, carefully-crafted tweets. And voila! You can get people to talk about you, retweet you, and @Mention your brand on this social platform.
14. Have the Basic Knowledge of Self-Promotion
Of course, you want to use Twitter to promote your business and there is nothing wrong with doing so. But remember, that it is primarily a networking tool. Although Twitterers are used to viewing promotional content and, at times, even enjoy it, they won’t like being bombarded with shameless self-promotional tweets.
The secret lies in striking a balance. For every self-promotional tweet you post, publish two or three engaging posts that your followers find useful. You can even retweet others’ tweets and @Mention them.
15. Keep Tabs on Your Posting Frequency
How frequently do you tweet? While tweeting too much can make your profile look noisy, being irregular in doing so can make you come across as standoffish. Take a look at the profile of Ana Lucia Novak. She has 26.6K followers but her engagement is almost zero. You don’t want that.
You need to follow a good rule of thumb here. Post a minimum of four to five tweets in a day. You can, however, tweet more often. Also, as mentioned, maintain a balance between promotional tweets and engaging, valuable tweets (follow the 1:3 ratio).
Whether you are a new Twitter user or a seasoned one, the above tips will help you with the etiquette you need to follow to succeed on this micro-blogging site. Always consider the people who are at the receiving end of your tweets. These are real people with real feelings and emotions. Hurting them can have a huge impact not only on your Twitter profile, but also on your business as a whole. So, before you hit the ‘Tweet’ button the next time, consider how your followers will interpret and react to those 140 characters.
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