Twitter is a giant digital cafe. It's the same landscape as a party with loose rules and no specific criteria. Some of us are smart, courteous, and know how to interact appropriately, hoping people think well of us and want to communicate more often. Others abuse the situation and don't generate positive attention.
It's up to you to act accordingly and appropriately. The tweets you compose; the photos you take, filter and share; and the videos you upload all manifest themselves as part of your own media. The longer you spend online, the bigger media presence you'll have. So it's important to remember to "think before you speak," or, in this case, tweet. The following guidelines will help:
- Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your mother.
- Be nice! This is a public stage, and the spotlight is on you and your company. Being friendly and helpful goes a long way toward building your brand and reputation.
- Don't be a showoff and tout how great you are; a little humility does wonders when building a brand.
- Don't sell or pitch. Social media is for connecting, building relationships, networking and creating brand awareness. Coming off as a snake-oil salesman is a huge turnoff.
- Don't automate. Social media is a two-way conversation, and automated posting is cold. Plus, you want to respond to all posts quickly--so unless someone is actively manning the battle station, your response times to your followers suffer.
- Don't get angry. If someone is complaining or being rude, reply professionally and never sink to their level.
- Do care. Take a minute out of your busy schedule to find out more about the lives of those who follow you. These are the people who can become your brand champions, so show them you care about who they are and what they do.
- Give back! If you've had great success via social media and people are sharing your brand, message and products or services, then give back! A little thank-you discount, prize or giveaway can go a long way and snowball, as recipients spread the word to their followers and friends. Social media users sharing your content and brand is absolutely invaluable, so show them you appreciate it and don't take it for granted.
- Do I really want my followers to read this?
- Will this increase my following?
- Am I providing something of value, whether it's newsworthy or a joke?
- Will it help my brand?
- Can it hurt me?
- Can it damage my business or brand's reputation?
- Am I insulting someone or a group of people?
- Am I spreading rumors, lies or gossip that can damage someone's reputation?
Social Media Dos and Don'ts
- Be empathetic.
- Be tasteful.
- Engage with followers regularly--and quickly.
- Inspire with motivational saying and quotes.
- Educate by solving people's problems and by sharing your knowledge and expertise.
- Delight with entertaining comments or jokes.
- Respond in a timely manner, lest your followers feel ignored.
- Spam followers.
- Spread rumors or lies.
- Talk without listening. If you're putting yourself out there, expect responses, replies, praise, criticism and other feedback. Pay attention to what others are saying to you.
- Lash out. Stop and think before you post or tweet, or have a checks and balances system so that anything going out is reviewed or scanned by at least a second pair of eyes.
- Be rude, crass or vulgar.
- Fire someone without revoking access to your social media accounts.
- Exploit a tragedy or even bad news. It's offensive and in abysmally bad taste. And you're liable to lose even your most loyal followers.