Whether you’re an organization, blogger, video producer, or just someone with something to say, you probably have a Twitter account. However, there are right ways and wrong ways to use Twitter. The wrong way is sending out tweets to all your latest content on autopilot, ignoring questions from your followers, and spamming them. Twitter is a social media site, and your presence on Twitter should be real, human, and interesting. This makes Twitter a better place for everyone.
We practice what we preach on MakeUseOf’s Twitter account. Our Twitter account isn’t just run by a script that sends out tweets to everything we write. It’s run by a real person who responds to questions and interacts with our followers.
Following these tips can help you get more followers on Twitter, but that’s not the only point. The point is to create an interesting account that people will enjoy following.
Have a Conversation
Twitter is a social media website with two-way communication between you and your followers. It’s not just a one-way communication mechanism for you to broadcast at people.
- Reply to People: You probably have people tweeting at you, asking you questions and leaving you comments. Reply to these @ tweets and direct messages. Be a real person with a real presence.
- Participate in Conversations: if you’re following someone and they ask a question or you have input on something they tweeted, send a reply. Be an active participant.
- Have a Real Personality: Your Twitter feed shouldn’t read like it was generated by an unthinking and unfeeling robot. Twitter feeds that read this way probably are automatically generated by scripts, and they often aren’t very interesting.
It’s Not Just About You
Your Twitter account shouldn’t just be a self-promotion engine. You should be a real person (or organization) with a real, human presence.
- Don’t Just Tweet Everything You Create: If you use a service that automatically tweets links to all your new content and you never check your Twitter account and interact with your followers, you’re doing it wrong.
- Promote Other People’s Stuff: If you’re a creator and you only tweet links to stuff you create, that’s pure self-promotion. Surely you come across interesting things other people have created that your followers would appreciate. Tweet (or retweet!) other people’s stuff, too.
- Follow Other People: Follow interesting people on Twitter, particularly ones in your niche if you’re a content creator. Don’t just follow everyone who follows you if you’re not interested in their tweets. If you do it right, your “following” list could be a source of interesting people to your followers.
Be Considerate of Your Followers
You may want to tweet constantly, but be considerate of your followers. They’re probably following quite a few other accounts, too.
- Don’t Over-Tweet: Don’t overwhelm your followers with a torrent of tweets. You may want to tweet links to every little thing you create or every interesting news article you stumble across, but that can just overwhelm your followers. Share only the best stuff to save everyone’s time and be a source of interesting content, not spam.
- Schedule Your Tweets: You may want to compose tweets at a specific time of day when you have the time, but sending out all your tweets at once will clog people’s streams and overwhelm them. If you want to send out many tweets per day, use a scheduling service to have your tweets go out slowly over a period of time.
Don’t Be Obnoxious
Quite a few Twitter etiquette tips can be boiled down to “don’t be obnoxious.” Most of this stuff should be obvious.
- Don’t Spam: Don’t tweet links about amazing work-at-home opportunities, acai berries, or other scams.
- Don’t Alienate Your Followers: Your followers are likely following you for a particular reason – maybe you write interesting stuff about technology or cooking. Your Twitter feed should reflect content your followers are interested in. For most people, you’re probably not being followed for your thoughts on the latest gut-wrenching development in politics or a trending celebrity scandal. This is even true if you’re just being followed by your friends – most people don’t want their social media sites to be a warzone of competing political opinions from their friends and the people they follow.
- Don’t Curse: We’re not here to promote censorship, but Twitter is a way to broadcast content publically and to a large number of people. Cursing will likely turn some people off, and it’s rarely necessary.
Secure Your Twitter Account
You should secure your Twitter account to protect malicious people from taking it over and spamming your followers, as recently happened to organizations as large as Burger King and Jeep. Be sure to read our list of list of ways to secure your Twitter account.
Of course, not all of these tips will apply to everyone. if you’re CNN, your followers probably do expect to be constantly bombarded with your latest content. If you’re a political blogger, your followers do want your political opinions. if you’re a politically incorrect comic, curse away – your followers would probably be surprised if you didn’t.
Nevertheless, if more people followed these tips, Twitter would be a better place. Twitter’s come a long way from being a site mocked for containing status updates like “I just ate a sandwich,” and it can become a more interesting place if people follow proper Twitter etiquette.
Do you want more information on making use of Twitter? Download our complete guide to Twitter.
Do you have any other Twitter etiquette tips we didn’t mention here? Or do you disagree with any of our recommendations? Leave a comment and consider following us on Twitter!