Friday, July 1, 2011

Twitter: Dos & Don’ts IMHO

I’ve been using Twitter consistently for almost a year now. I joined back in February of ‘08, but didn’t understand it, had no clue how to use it, and completely ignored it. Then my blogging started to change and Twitter became more part of my blogging life.

Now that I’ve been using Twitter for almost a year, I’d love to pass on some nuggets to everyone else who’s just joining Twitter or has joined but just doesn’t know where to start.

1) Be Personal. Put a photo up of something that might relate to you if you don’t want to use a personal photo. It’s fun being able to recognize people I follow by their avatar. If you use the shadow figure Twitter automatically gives you, it’s highly unlikely I’ll follow you. Also personalize your bio. Don’t leave it blank. You don’t have to tell everyone where you live or what you do for a living, but give us a glimpse into who you are: quirky, SAHM, crafter, blogger, sarcastic, etc. This is your calling card when someone decides whether or not they’ll be following you.

2) Do NOT Auto DM new followers. I don’t think I’ve met a single person on Twitter who likes these! It’s very impersonal. If you’re glad someone’s following you, just send them a Tweet. I know people who have said they will unfollow someone if they receive an automatic DM after following someone.

3) Original Tweets. If I learn that you’re following me and I go to your Twitter page to see if I want to follow you and all I see are Retweets, posts to visit your website, or only giveaways, 99% of the time I won’t follow you. I want to connect with you, get to know you. If you have nothing original to say, then we won’t be connecting & I have no reason to follow you.

4) Swearing. Ok, I realize that people are going to swear on Twitter, but if that’s all you do in most of your tweets, very few people are going to want to engage you. Who wants to follow someone who’s always got a potty mouth?

5) Do NOT Spam your followers. Obviously we all have times when we want to share about a company we’re working with or need help raising money, or who knows what, but doing it over and over again will only annoy your followers and it’s a great way to lose them!

6) Follow back. Now I realize you aren’t going to want to follow every single person who follows you. They might creep you out, send annoying tweets, or just rub you the wrong way. We all deal with that. For the most part, to build your network, it’s common courtesy to follow back those who follow you.

7) Share the Love. If you see a Tweet that you think others will like, please Retweet (RT) it. Your followers will appreciate it and so will the person who you RTed. It gives them clout in the Twittersphere.

8) Tweet! Don’t just follow hundreds of people and not send out a single tweet. That says “spammer” all over it. You have GOT to engage on Twitter. Just be yourself. Don’t tell us you’re using the bathroom unless you’re in the middle of a conversation and want to be polite to whoever you’re talking to. When I say, “Tweet,” I mean, start off by telling us what your day holds or how crazy life is at any given point. Just share something, anything that’s from YOU.

9) Giveaways only aren’t cool. I know that some people have Twitter accounts specifically just to use it as a way to enter giveaways. That’s fine, but I won’t be following you unless we’re engaging in some other way. I do follow a couple of people who only tweet giveaways, but that’s because they will DM me or comment on my blog. If I log onto your account on Twitter and see every single tweet is a giveaway, I simply close the page.

Do you have any Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using Twitter? What did I leave out? Am I off base on any of these?

If I remember, I’ll share about Twitter parties next. I did a post on my Marvelous Mom Reviews site last Fall about using TweetDeck as a platform for Twitter parties if you want to check that out in the meantime.

20 comments:

Lolo @ Crazy About My Baybah said...

That is a great list! I have been using twitter for almost a year now too. I was so scared of twitter now I love it! It is really such a useful tool.

Betina Frisone said...

I agree with your list and would like to add two more...
1- Engage! Some put out questions into the twitterverse and then never respond to those who take the time and interest to RT, @ reply, or comment on the FB fanpage or blog. This tells me they're following some sort of prescription but they lack the common sense or communication skills to keep the relationship moving along.
2- Put your name on your Twitter profile, blog, etc. People want to connect with the person, not an anonymous entity.
I could go on, but these are the biggees for me.
Nice to connect with you!

Ralene said...

I agree...great list!

Here's a couple that I would add:

DO be mindful of what you post on a personal level. Just like FB, MySpace, or any of those places...sometimes you just don't know who's out there.

DO NOT bad talk people in general (Osama...ok). It's in bad taste and it turns people off.

Joy Tamsin David said...

I don't like when people message you to say thanks for the follow, but then don't follow back. Is that supposed to be a nice brush off? If they're not planning on following back they don't need to send me a message.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love these. It is not cool to send me a tweet with a link to porn when I ask if anyone has child friendly recipes for kids.

Lori said...

Hmm...interesting. While I agree with most of the list, I have a problem with 9 since one of the entries for gives here is daily tweets. So, if you look at my twitter account you'll see a LOT of giveaway tweets interspersed with occasional drivel about my daily goings on.

Saying you won't follow someone with an account like that, but "require" for extra entries just a tad hypocritical. :/

(I fear that term is too harsh, but it does define what I mean....Please know I'm not trying to be difficult, mean, contrary what have you...just adding an opinion from someone who enters lots of giveaways.)

So, I'm not the least bit surprised to see that you don't follow me back. And that's OK. I get it; it just feels very anti-warm fuzzy. ;)

Sonia Barton said...

At first I had such little time - still do to some extent. So engaging is hard. I try to make it a point now with the iPhone to engage more - at least I'll know if someone replied and can reply back in a more timely manner.

Engaging is still not some thing I do well.

Thank you for the great list.

Yankee Texan Mom said...

Great post! I agree with just about everything you covered, but I think I am confused about #3. Do you mean more tweets that are not related to your blog?

bigguysmama said...

Lori, thanks for your comment. I just want to explain my position I guess. The entries to follow me on Twitter is only an "extra" and never a required entry. I follow people on Twitter to enter their giveaways as well and I'm not followed back by everyone. The choice to use Twitter as an entry into a giveaway is up to the person entering.

And NO, if I ONLY see giveaways that's where my problem lies. There truly are people who only have Twitter accounts for giveaways. I have no problem with that either, I just "probably" won't follow them. I make a point of scrolling down through someone's page to get an idea of what their tweets are like over a period of time. Like Simply Dab, she enters TON of giveaways daily and if I only looked at her first 10 tweets on any given day, they'd probably be all giveaways only, but if I scroll further I'll see she's chatted with people.

If I see someone follow me, I'll go check out their Twitter accounts, almost all the time. Sometimes I forget and never get to it and that's an honest mistake. I'm sure there are a number of people I should be following on Twitter that I'm not. I need to go through my Twitter account and do some cleaning up and following of others.

I truly do appreciate your thoughts!

~Mimi

bigguysmama said...

Sonia, when I say "engaging" I don't mean you have to be having huge discussions with people for hours on end. If you've tweeted 4 times on your entire account, but they look "real" and not spammy, I'd totally follow you. Not everyone is a chatty Cathy, but if I send you a tweet to see how your day's going I want to at least have an idea if you see it you might say, "hey". You know what I mean?

~Mimi

bigguysmama said...

Yankee, I almost did a screen capture of an example of #3. One person who started following me ONLY has links to their blogs with the title of the blog post. If I wanted to see those, I'd subscribe in RSS or get emails from a blog. Does that make sense? Sometimes I try to explain something and I only confuse people more. =) I think it's a tool, like RSS if people don't subscribe that way, but I'd rather be more "personal" on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, my posts automatically go to my Twitter & FB accounts, but that's not all I do on Twitter.

DaenelT said...

I couldn't agree more.

I also think engaging with others is important. I know everyone has a group of people they talk to on a regular basis but when someone asks you something or replies to something you say, it's only polite to reply back. Don't just follow people to collect numbers.

Lori said...

It's interesting, one person who I followed after entering a giveaway followed me back. And when I started my own little blog last week, I tweeted my first post several times. And one person RT'd it. Didn't really expect it and was pleasantly surprised. I thanked her and I found just that small interaction made me look harder for her tweets and engage a bit more.

A neat case how one small act can "engage" another. :)

Great discussion!

bigguysmama said...

Hey Lori, I am following you on Twitter. I was waiting for a movie to start tonight and when I went on to Droid's Twitter and I saw your tweet for my giveaway. I thought I'd go in and try to follow you, and it said I already was. I believe you're twitter handle is @brousemouse? If so, my phone said I am following you.

Very cool that your blog posts were tweeted! Good luck with the success of your blog! It's an adventure, that's for sure!

~Mimi

The Damsel in Dis Dress said...

Great sum-up of Twitter. I like it so much better than Facebook! Then again, now I'm trying out Google+ and really like it so far.

Renee Huggins said...

Great list! Stumbled!

Ms Bibi said...

I think your post and Ralene's comment pretty much covered it. It is the same way I feel about twitter.

Great tips for anybody especially new bloggers.

~stumbled~

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Great tips!

(I can't seem to find a way to turn off my auto DM that I set up way back :-(

Stumbled :-)

The Budget Diet said...

Thanks for the Twitter 101 course! I
certainly will try your tips! stumbled!

DrJulieAnn @ Modern Retro Woman said...

Good advice!

I was on Twitter a few years back and had a couple thousand followers and people I was following. But then I started realizing that there really weren't very many conversations. About 98% of the tweets were people trying to sell me something and I rarely received a response when I tweeted anything that was conversational. So I shut it down. After a year, I started up again and have been much more discerning in who I follow. I'm enjoying Twitter a whole lot more this time around.

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