10 Rules for Brands to Folllow on Twitter

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mashable journalist, Jolie O'Dell, recently conducted research on how people think brands should utilize Twitter. O'Dell compiled a list of 10 items in which consumers expect companies to follow.

1. "Don't Be a Showoff" -- Tell users about special deals and make sure the features and benefits are known. To determine whether a tweet is acceptable, ask yourself if you would care to read about it if you didn't work there.
2. "Don't Use Poor Grammar or Spelling" -- It seems obvious, but far too many people misspell words. If this happens and you catch the mistake, I would suggest going back and fixing it. You may also want to delete the incorrect tweet. Don't use abbreviations for words, or at least keep them to a minimum. Avoid using shorthand terms, such as "LOL" and "Thnx," and emoticons, such as the smiley face.

3. "Don't Get Too Personal" -- Don't use your company's Twitter account to tell people about your favorite things or what's going on in your personal life. If you are representing a business or brand, remember to keep it professional.

4. "Don't Auto-Tweet" -- The purpose of Twitter for companies is to be "personally engaging" not entirely promotional. While it may be OK to set up a tweet or two to roll out while you are away, avoid setting up an entire feed. Also, don't automatically direct message new followers as it is considered spam by consumers.

5. "Don't Leave Air in the Conversation" -- If you are having a conversation with someone via @replies, don't wait too long to respond. People expect responses in a timely manner.

6. "Don't Overtweet" -- If you're not using Twitter to engage with consumers, but you're constantly tweeting, people will feel as if you are "shouting" at them.

7. "Do Shout Out to Users Who Mention You" -- If a person tweets something that is favorable toward a product or your company in general, tell them thanks. If it is a negative tweet, be cautious about replying, but never ignore them.

8. "Do Monitor Keywords and Competitors" -- Knowing what people are saying about a competitor helps keep you informed and can also allow you to gain a potential costumer.

9. "Do Make an Informative Profile" -- Use your company or brand logo as your avatar and make the purpose of the account known in the "bio" section.

10. "Do Fish Where the Fish Are" -- Determine if your brand or company needs to be on Twitter. If your general target market is an older demographic, use forms of media that they engage with. However, it may be beneficial to know what is going on on Twitter. If you are trying to tap into a younger market, you may want to consider setting up an account.


Hanna Russmann April 27, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

This is good advice, and not just for companies using Twitter as an advertising medium. Several of these rules apply to journalists, as well. Especially, those new to using Twitter as a journalism tool. This way they will be able to get the news out without becoming annoying to readers for rookie mistakes.

Rachel Gull April 28, 2010 at 3:04 AM  

I thought this was a very helpful list. Hanna is right- journalists can benefit from these principles as much as businesses can.

However, one point stated that the company's logo should be used as the avatar for the business's Twitter profile. I think this contradicts an article we read earlier in the semester.

That article told companies to use the photo of the person actually in charge of social media interaction for the company. The theory was that this would give a human face to the business and would allow customers to feel more connected with the brand.

Mashable is one example of this concept. The avatar on Mashable's Twitter feed shows the company's founder Pete Cashmore. The background on his profile includes the Mashable logo and links to the homepage, but the avatar itself is brand-free.

Cory Keasey April 28, 2010 at 7:48 AM  

Overall, I agree with what was said, but am on Rachel's side with the issue of the display picture. You can have the logo be in the background and then the person on the display picture. Personally, I would prefer this to that of just the logo. I did disagree with the one that said do not direct message right away. That actually help myself gain followers. All you have to do is say a simple hi, and what you tweet about.

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