By Marci Liroff
I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and I’ve come to think of it as my good friend. I hate it when people don’t treat my friend right. I’m so happy that there are many new people coming over to Twitter and jumping on the Social Media bandwagon.
BUT, I’ve been noticing some bad behavior that I’m sure stems from most folks just not knowing how it all works. As as social media consultant, I’m noticing that there are so many rules to proper twitter behavior and etiquette – some written and some not so black and white.
Use this guide to help you navigate the often shark-infested waters and avoid these mistakes!
1. Not using my name when you tweet about me
One of the most basic tenets of Twitter is to give credit where credit is due. If you’re talking about someone on Twitter, take an extra moment to find out if they’re on Twitter and use their Twitter name. I cannot stress this enough. This promotes connectivity amongst all of us. This way, if your followers like what you’re saying about the person they can easily follow them by clicking on their Twitter name within your tweet.
2. Clogging my newsfeed with your TWITTER HOUSEKEEPING
The term “Twitter Housekeeping” is probably one I made up. Here’s what it means. When people re-tweet your tweets or mention you in a tweet, proper twitter etiquette dictates that you respond with a “thank you” or a “thanks for sharing/RT”. HOWEVER, and this is a big however….please do not clog my newsfeed with your twitter housekeeping. The correct way to do it is this. Click on “reply” and reply directly to the person like this:
@JoeTwitter thanks for sharing!
Do NOT do this:
Thanks for sharing @JoeTwitter RT @KimTwitter blah blah blah http://blahblah.com
If you do this, then you are clogging my newsfeed with all your responses which should only be seen by the person you’re responding to. This is actually re-tweeting YOUR tweet under the guise of a “thank you”. Not good form and very annoying.
Here’s another example of Twitter Housekeeping that will get you unfollowed:
“@JoeTwitter: I finally caved in and joined twitter world!!” it’s about friggin time. So happy!
The Twitter user uses the “ symbol to RT her friend’s tweet first, then put her comment at the end. Now, why do I need to read this? She should just click on “reply” and reply back to her friend who is now on Twitter and tell her how happy she is. Why is she tweeting this out to all her followers to read?
3. Using twitter like it’s your own personal iChat or email service for all to see
If you’re using Twitter to pick a place for dinner with your friend or give directions to an event and I’m following both of you – do you know I can see all your tweets? Perhaps email or text is a better forum!
4. Still having an egg on your profile and no bio
C’mon, it’s not so hard. Upload a real photo of you for your avatar and write a short bio and include a link to your website if you have one. If you don’t do this very basic thing, people will think you’re not legitimate and professional and will hesitate to follow.
5. Having a naked picture (or some form of nakedness) for your avatar
Need I say more? I’m gonna go one further. I’ll block you if you’re following me with that nastiness! Again, be professional in this professional space.
6. Check your spelling
Take a moment and check your tweet before you send it so that things are spelled correctly and your tweet makes sense. I know we all have to comply with the 140 characters on Twitter and abbreviate and lose some punctuation, but at least try to spell things right! Along those same lines, make sure your link actually works!
7. #FF pile-ons
Follow Friday (#FF) started as a way to thank someone for something they may have done for you or to welcome them to Twitter and help them get new followers. It was meant to introduce people to your twitter followers by telling them who they are and why they are special to you.
A good example would be the one I received from the lovely Erin Cronican today.
#FF @MarciLiroff A fellow Expert writer for @BackStage who has poise, warmth & skill as a casting director & is an amazing Twitter partner.
Now that is a genuine #FF. It has meaning, it explains why her followers should follow me and gives context.
The kind of “pile-on” #FF I see nowadays looks something like this:
#FF @marciliroff @JoeBlow @KarenTwitter @JimTwitter
It doesn’t give any context or reason WHY we should follow these people. It also puts people in a giant group – which makes me feel a little less than special. Sometimes, I’m grouped with people that I don’t even like or respect.
8. Don’t connect your Facebook status updates to Twitter
Once you start using Social Media regularly you’ll see that the platform of Facebook is ENTIRELY different than Twitter. I liken it to using your “Facebook voice” and using your “Twitter voice”. On Facebook you can talk more extensively on a topic. Because of the 140 character format on Twitter, you have to be succinct and to the point. Comment + headline + link. Bam!
Some twitter apps allow you to connect your FB and Twitter accounts so that when you tweet or FB it goes to both accounts simultaneously. This is wrong on many levels.
Your followers (audience) on Twitter is not necessarily your audience (friends) on Facebook. Your tweet or status update is sometimes not pertinent or appropriate to both. At this point in the game (although it’s changing every day) your Facebook friends don’t want to see your updates in space-saving abbreviations and the use of hashtags. Likewise, when that Facebook tweet goes onto the Twitter newsfeed it usually doesn’t fit and isn’t a complete thought/tweet. For me it shows a person who doesn’t understand the social medium platform they’re using. Another huge problem which goes back to #1 on my list, is that when your accounts are connected and you update your status on Facebook you may mention a person’s name in your update, but when it shows up on Twitter it doesn’t correctly use the all important “@” sign to identify the Twitter name of the person you’re tweeting about. Again, very bad form.
9. Using an Auto-bot to send a DM asking for something
If you do anything on Twitter that appears to be an auto-bot (meaning an automatic response NOT from a human) I will unfollow immediately. Twitter is about communication from people, not auto-tweets. Some people think it’s a great idea once we both follow each other to send a DM (direct message) to me asking me to buy something or visit their site. No thank you – I will unfollow you.
10. Beware of scheduled tweets
I know it’s difficult to be on Twitter at all times of the day. Sometimes we need to schedule tweets (I use the Buffer App) BUT – I do this VERY sparingly and monitor it closely! Here’s a great example of why it can be dangerous to use scheduled tweets. Imagine a world event – an election, a verdict that just came in on an important case, natural disasters – then your tweet comes into my newsfeed and you’re hawking your wares “Hey y’all check out my new demo reel!” – don’t you look stupid and thoughtless? I have unfollowed major accounts for doing this.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. What do people do that drive you crazy on Twitter? It’s always good to share with the community. Leave a comment, share this blog with a friend!