A while back we hired someone to come on board and explain to us how to use social media in a way that was thoughtful and practical. It doesn’t really serve us to blab on and on through twitter and facebook, as our time is already so limited with the business and the baby, so we wanted to approach these tools in a way that really worked. Among other things that this consultant did for us, he crafted a Twitter Etiquette Guide for us to use. I thought it might be fun to share it with all of you and start an open discussion in the comments section as to how YOU use Twitter for your businesses…
The tone of communication should be consistent with your brand. Avoid overly formal communication and appear generally positive, friendly, helpful and approachable. Likable and knowledgeable.
You want to share something daily with users to establish an expectation of consistent tone and communication. Here are some examples of thoughtful tweets:
• New Blog Post: “Inspirational photos from Irene and Joe’s exotic Hawaiian wedding: http://bit.ly/1RFE”
• Retweet good wedding related information or wedding joy: “RT: donnavaldes: Today I’m celebrating 10 glorious years of wedding bliss! Thank you God for blessing me. Julio bought me a 10th ann.ring.”
• Ask a question: “What was your inspiration for your wedding dress?”. These can engage already married women, while encouraging discussion for the bride.
• Answer questions that others might want answers to. Don’t be afraid to link to your site, but don’t always. Example: Question from user, “lllipstick: How much will i regret not having a photographer capture my wedding day?” Answer: “@lllipstick It’s a hard call. You could find a student photog, or distribute instant cameras on tables.” Answering questions is really key for twitter and will quickly establish credibility and a strong presence.
• Share links to items that might not fit the blog, but are still on-topic. Don’t be afraid to Retweet stuff from your ‘competition’, as since you were the source it will come back positively to you. “Top 10 Trends in Wedding Invitations 2009: http://bit.ly/tXQA”
• Asking for a Retweet (RT). This is done infrequently, and carefully, but it is ok to ask for someone to RT a link to your site if its something that you are really wanting to showcase.
• Tweet about an event you are attending or hosting. Obviously not everyone can attend the events that you get to go to, but many people would love to know what’s happening and that you are a person that is attending these things. People often tweet the flight they are about to board, or where they are going, and sometimes “livetweet” what speakers from an event say. This is very popular and gets a lot of RT’s organically.
• Participate in fun memes. These are harmless and show that you are a member of the community that ‘gets it’. One of the most recent ones that has stuck is #followfriday, where people suggest a person that others should follow on Friday.
• Say something bold. This one can be tricky with a brand, but on occasion saying or doing something bold once you have sufficient followers can often get a lot of conversation going. Rarely does mild controversy or conversation scare away followers, but should be treated with caution. Best done after you have a good idea of what your users will tolerate and their thoughts.
Twitter’s Unwritten Rule
The number one rule will be to not follow more people than follow you. Companies/non-person twitter users especially look bad quickly if they follow everyone out there. Do not follow everyone who mentions “wedding” by any means. On a daily basis, check followers that come in. Check each of their profiles. If the profile is complete with location, a photo, and short bio then that is a plus in their direction. If they are pushing links for their company, tweeting poorly, in a language that you don’t understand, or a robot of some sort then do not follow them back. Ideally you will follow about a 9:10 ratio of people that follow you, which will give the appearance of a community resource that is approachable but non-spammy.
It is far better to have slow growth than to be thought of negatively as a spammer, or to have people that don’t really ‘matter’ follow you back.
On Site Presence
Alerting the current users of your webpage to your Twitter presence can give you a strong kickstart. Having a link on the front page that points to the Twitter account in a similar way that your RSS link does can yield you a good number of followers.
Having your Twitter account on business cards, press releases and even nametags at events is a sure way to help growth.
Twitter is something that will need daily attention. Thankfully, after about a week or two of constant use it becomes a very natural workflow and its usefulness becomes more apparent over time. The values of being open, authentic, non-spammy, and a community resource can always be a solid guide for how to engage Twitter. In providing the community with value, they will rally around the brand and share it with others as friends are still better than any recommendation engine. Thanks so much to Dave Fisher for helping us out!
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OK. Your turn…do you think that Twitter has helped grow your brand? Do you have a strategy when using Twitter or Facebook? We had this done for us about a year ago and I am sure that times have already changed…do you think it’s still relevant? Don’t be shy…as my dad always said, it’s so much easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes!