Word to the Wise | Twitter Twips

I have been using Twitter for a few years now (2009) and although I would most definitely not call myself an expert, I would, however, say that I understand what makes a Tweeter an interesting and fun person to follow! I also understand the networking benefits Twitter has to offer and started tweeting from both my personal and business accounts back in February. I only wish I would have started my business account when I started my personal account (back in early 2009) - hindsight is 20/20, right? :)

So again, I'm not an expert but these are my "twips" I've come up with, after observing how people tweet, for creating an enjoyable and successful Twittersphere!

01. Tweet with purpose. It's super easy to tweet every thought that comes to mind but be sure not to bombard your followers with invaluable information, such as every move your cat makes. Chances are the majority of the people who follow you aren't following you for that. A hyper-active tweeter tweets about 15-20 times per day (including retweets and links). It's best to pick a topic - your job industry, a hobby, your blog topic area - and tweet about issues relating to that topic. Be an expert in your field whatever it is and make following you a valuable experience for your viewers.

02. Do NOT set up an auto direct message that will get sent out to new followers. Twitter is supposed to be a place to build relationships and sending out a generic message seems a little robotic to me. I never reply to those automated messages because I know they didn't take their time to create that message specifically for me. It's insincere. I always try to engage a new follower. Usually it's just a simple, "Hey! Thanks for following!" And if I've checked out their website/blog and see something I like I will comment on that as well. You never know when a new friendship or business relationship could bloom and I'd hate to miss out on an opportunity like that because I was too lazy to send a non-automated reply!

03. Do not count your followers. This is so absolutely annoying. The fact that you notice your follow count (as in, you have your current number memorized) seems a bit desperate. Sure, we all like to be heard but focusing on the number of your followers instead of your content is probably reason numero uno why you aren't gaining  followers.

04. Do not tweet about your follow count going up or down. If you're tweeting about the fact that you lost a few followers and you're bummed it just shows that you are paying a bit too much attention to that number and no one cares that you went from 1,289 to 1,280 in 2 days. It probably had something to do with you talking about your follow count or your cat.

05. Do not ReTweet a reply. I'm sure you have all seen this or are guilty of it yourself. I know I am and quite frankly, didn't even think about it until I saw this tweet from Scott Stratten: " I don't understand why some people reply by retweeting the original tweet and adding their answer at the start." He even posted a video, "Why You Shouldn't ReTweet a Reply on Twitter" to explain it a bit further. But the jist of it is, when you are replying to someone's tweet and you put your answer in front of it (i.e. @MichaelBuble I love you too! "RT @StephCreekmur I love @MichaelBuble.") it breaks up the conversation thread. Twitter already does a nice job of keeping your tweets in context and any of your followers can see your tweet conversation if they click the arrow the right. If you reply to a Tweet by re-tweeting the original and adding your answer at the start the only piece of the conversation your followers will be able to see is that tweet alone. I hope that all makes sense - but if not, be sure to check out the video above.

06. Do not sync your Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have both a Facebook and Twitter account for Paisley Card Co. but I use them very differently because they are two different services. They are two distinct networks with two distinct sets of etiquette and norms. You may think linking your Twitter account to your Facebook sounds like a good since you probably Tweet more than you update Facebook, but believe me your Facebook fans will not be impressed with your hash tags and @ mentions. They don't make sense in the world of Facebook. Twitter is also a much less formal atmosphere and a loosely connected network. Twitter is set up to update with short thoughts, comments, quotes, information, etc. very frequently and within 140 characters. Can you imagine how annoying your newsfeed would be if people updated their Facebook status as frequently as they did their Twitter? I actually am friends with a couple of those and they have made it to my "hide" list because it is not enjoyable.

07. Be nice. Say thank you when people re-tweet your stuff, promote your business, or even when they give you a #FF shout out (Follow Friday). Be sure to respond to all of the mentions you receive to continue the conversation someone has started with you!

08. Don't make fun of people. Going a little further with the "be nice" rule - try not to alienate followers or potential followers by making fun of a group of people, activity, clothing, etc. I mainly suggest this for those tweeting as the face for their business. If you are tweeting from a personal account than you can be a little bit more free with your tweets. But those of us who use Twitter as a form of social media marketing you do not want to send the wrong message to past, current, or potential clients.

09. Share the wealth. Promote others as much as you promote yourself (if not more). If you see something you enjoyed, chances are your followers will too. Retweet, share links, Comment on other people's blogs and participate in Twitter conversations. Try and remember that it's not all about you and while Twitter is a great resource for promoting your biz/blog/website, you will be much more enjoyable to follow if you create a community and not an "All About Me" dialogue.

10. Be a real person. Followers like to see tweets of value, @ mentions, and links to interesting content throughout your timeline. Make your Twitter an interactive community and a place to share new ideas by connecting with like-minded people. I realize that sometimes it makes sense to schedule ahead tweets (if you are going to be in a meeting/out of town and really need to share content at a certain time) but Twitter is supposed to be a real-time communication and if someone is constantly scheduling ahead their tweets it makes their timeline feel less genuine and authentic. I have un-followed many a people that don't tweet in real time because it just seems less engaging.

So there you have it! That's just a list of things I have been working on for a few months. Each time I saw something that I found to be uninteresting or untweetworthy I would right down why. Chances are if I find it to be un-enjoyable, others will too. Have a good rest of your Thursday! :)

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