Mashable: 10 DOs and DONTs for Brands on Twitter

1. Don’t Be a Showoff

Give Twitter users your features and benefits. Let them know about special deals. Don’t post links to your latest press release, promote articles written by your CEO or make extravagant claims. A good rule of thumb to determine whether a tweet is user-friendly or brand vanity is to ask yourself, “If I didn’t work here, would I care about this?” If you’re not sure, ask a brutally honest friend who doesn’t work at your company.

2. Don’t Use Poor Grammar or Spelling

If your replying 2 a user make sure ur social media intern doesnt do it like this LOL!

Seriously, grammar Nazis abound on the web. Write words out in their entirety, don’t use confusing abbreviations or too many of them, make sure punctuation is pristine and try to keep “lolspeak” and emoticons to a minimum.

3. Don’t Get Too Personal

You might be a real person hiding behind your brand’s Twitter account, but depending on the size and nature of the company, this isn’t likely the best place to share your favorite band’s latest track, or compliment a user’s hairdo. Keep your conversations warm but professional; it’s what users expect from a brand ambassador, and anything else comes off as creepy.

4. Don’t Auto-Tweet

It’s OK to set up tweets to roll out while you’re away from your desk, but think long and hard before you automate an entire feed to stream into your Twitter account. Users can smell a bot from miles away, and the point of Twitter is to be personally engaging more than blatantly promotional. Also, this might go without saying for the tech-savvy marketers among us, but don’t automatically DM new followers; it’s seen as spam. And never DM someone your account doesn’t also follow.

5. Don’t Leave Air in the Conversation

If you’re carrying on a series of @replies, don’t wait a day or two between messages. This isn’t the Pony Express; users will want a reply within a few hours. If you wait longer, they may have already forgotten what you were talking about. And be sure to use standard reply mechanisms so the Twitter web interface and other applications will thread the conversation, in case either party needs to reference a previous comment.

6. Don’t Overtweet

If you’re using Twitter as a 24/7, one-way broadcast system, you’re not having a conversation — you might be just “shouting” at your followers. While some brands have successfully maintained one-way, broadcast-only, no-@reply accounts, many opt to engage directly with their followers. Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re not tweeting too often and flooding your followers’ timelines.

7. Do Shout Out to Users Who Mention You

Especially if that mention is favorable, don’t be shy about tweeting thanks, tips or promotions to someone who’s shown your brand some Twitter love. Most of the time, users are surprised and delighted to find a name brand in their stream of replies. Exercise caution, however, when engaging with users who’ve made negative comments. Those conversations can go very well, or they can backfire. Always remain empathetic but professional.

8. Do Monitor Keywords and Competitors

If someone expresses issues with a competitor or poses a general question about your vertical, you should be all over it within a few hours. It’s a great opportunity to win new fans, convert seekers into customers and develop a reputation as a knowledgeable and responsive resource in your industry. Just make sure you keep off-brand replies to a non-creepy modicum.

9. Do Make an Informative Profile

Use your company or brand logo as your avatar, and state the purpose of the account clearly in your description. Your profile’s main link should direct Twitter followers to the most informative, engaging and user-friendly part of your website.

10. Do Fish Where the Fish Are

Let’s be honest: Not every brand needs to be on Twitter. Every brand should be monitoring Twitter — and we’ve written a lot about social media monitoring tools for brands on Mashable— but not every company’s customers are going to be on this site or be open to being contacted this way. If your brand has an older demographic, or if your product is of a more sensitive nature, you might want to be a silent observer of this ecosystem rather than an active participant.

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