Or how not to turn the Twitter Bird into an Angry Bird.
I. Thou shalt complete your bio.
If you want to engage and be a part of the Twittersphere, complete the Twitter bio. This is your opportunity to tell everyone about who you are and what you do in 160 characters or less. Choose your keywords carefully as they are searchable. Skip the hash tags, though; they don’t help here and take up some valuable real estate. Letting people know who you are is a good thing and will help establish you as a legitimate Tweeter.
II. Thou shalt not be an egghead.
This goes right along with number one. Ditch the Twitter egg and put a picture of you on your profile. If you’re doing business on Twitter, this is critical for credibility. Many people will not follow or interact with Twitterers who don’t have profile pictures. Use something close up enough that it’s identifiable and won’t leave viewers scratching their heads. If you really can’t bear to put up a picture of yourself, use your logo. Save the dog, the cat and the Hawaii vacation shots for Facebook.
III. Thou shalt not spam.
Does this really even need an explanation?
IV. Thou shalt express gratitude.
When you are retweeted, referred or complimented, be sure and give a thank-you shout out to whomever thinks enough of you or your tweets to share you with their followers. Being retweeted and referred helps to build your Twitter following and being gracious about it helps build your character. Both are good for Twitter—and business.
V. Thou shalt be conversational.
Twitter is all about communication. It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. Be social. Unless you’re some A-list celeb, don’t expect that you can just tweet stuff out and never talk to anyone. Respond to and comment on the tweets of both your followers and those whom you follow. That is the way that relationships are built on Twitter and it can have amazing results.
VI. Thou shalt hashtag wisely.
After spam, the next most annoying type of tweet is the one with almost as many hashtags as there are words or the one where the entire tweet is a giant Hashtag. Hashtags should be used sparingly—one or two in a tweet is plenty. Pick the most important keyword or two in your tweet and hashtag those. And every tweet doesn’t need a hashtag.
VII. Thou shalt not hide or make thyself difficult to follow.
There are very few good reasons to make one’s Twitter stream protected. And if you are using Twitter for your business, even fewer. If you really don’t want anyone to know what you’re Tweeting, you probably shouldn’t be. And really, people have to type a secret code into a box to follow you? That isn’t very welcoming to those who’d like to follow you and build a relationship, now is it? There are many good Twitter management/cleanup programs that, when used on a regular basis can keep your follower list nearly spammer free without alienating your followers.
VIII. Thou shalt not follow deceitfully.
Don’t follow people to get them to follow you and then unfollow them as soon as they do. It’s rude and bad business.
IX. Thou shalt not be vulgar.
Vulgarities and foul language really have no place in the business world or the Twittersphere. Is your vocabulary really so limited that you can’t express yourself without cursing? Using vulgar and foul language is not a sign of sophistication. It’s the opposite. It can also get you unfollowed, reported as a spammer and blocked in short order.
X. Thou shalt mind your time.
Twitter’s awesome. It’s a great way to communicate. If you’re not careful, you can get sucked in and have the day go by before you know it. Choose and use a good Twitter management program, like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Social Oomph to manage your tweets—and then get a timer, so you can actually get some work done.
And the Golden Rule of Twitter:
Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you.
If it drives you nuts when other people do it, don’t do it yourself.