Twitter Guide for Small Business Part 2 Good and Bad Etiquette


Now that you’ve got the basics down, and have your profile setup, let’s talk about how you should act on Twitter.

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you have probably seen some things that just made you shake your head and wonder, “what were they thinking posting that?”.

Much like interacting offline there are expectations of how you, as a small business, should act on Twitter. Below you will find the dos and don’ts of Twitter.

Good Twitter Etiquette

  • Do put time into the design of your profile and background pictures by using company logos and high definition pictures or graphics. And include all relevant contact information.
  • Do spend time filling out your bio and adding keywords so followers can locate the account easily and understand what your business is about immediately.
  • Do add a bit of humor in your bio if it is appropriate. Humanizing the business is always a good idea.
  • Do tweet with a casual, yet professional tone. Reframe from industry specific jargon that may alienate a percentage of followers.
  • Do remember at all times that Twitter is a public forum and tweets can be located via web in the future.
  • Do make Twitter a part of your social strategy, but do not put all your faith in it. It is best to utilize at least two social networks together for a solid social media strategy.
  • Do follow every account that is relevant to your industry, whether personal or business. They may or may not follow you back, but introduce yourself and begin to interact with them through discussion immediately.
  • Do understand Twitter is full of spammers who will share spam tweets, follow and unfollow you at will and make building relationships harder. It will take time to establish your business as a legitimate account, so be patient and do not take actions from other accounts personally.
  • Do greet your followers in the morning to start the day off. Share a quote, important information, picture or just an uplifting reminder. And respond to people you follow who do the same. Something as simple as saying, ‘good morning’ can start a great conversation.
  • Do build your community by focusing on the quality and not quantity. The numbers of followers you have is only significant to those who do not understand Twitter. It does you no good to have thousands of followers, but no one to interact with. Welcome one follower at a time and be thankful along the way.
  • Do remember it is always a compliment to be followed. Whether your business gains five followers or 25,000, make sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. Their follow is not something to be taken for granted.
  • Do respond to every tweet. Whether it is a mention, RT or reply, every piece of interaction coming at your business should be appreciated and responded to. Make it a goal to respond within 30 minutes and show followers you are engaged.
  • Do humanize your business account by sharing insider information, pictures, videos, or private information. Share a joke or cartoon if it is appropriate or celebrate an employee’s birthday. The more human your brand is, the easier it will be for others to relate to it.
  • Do spend the majority of your time building relationships through interaction. Start conversations, ask questions and be proactive about finding professionals and non-professionals who share the business’ interests or specifics. Social media is defined through relationships and your business’ success is dependent on that.
  • Do promote other businesses and followers. Twitter is not just a playground to talk about what your business offers, it is a place to exchange encouragement and get to know others in a similar position. If a person or business is doing something you admire, share it and praise them. Do not be afraid to promote other accounts or send your followers in another direction. What goes around, comes around.
  • Do take advantage of #FF to promote others. #FF or Follow Friday was initiated so peeps could share their favorite follows. It is a day of sharing and love completely focused on promoting one another. #FF the people, businesses and organizations you appreciate most.
  • Do take the time to seek out conversation by going through your timeline and responding to questions, comments or information shared by those you follow.
  • Do educate yourself about Twitter tools and find the ones best fit for your business.
  • Do use Twitter lists to create lists of your businesses followers to view specific accounts easily and organize the industries types you follow.
  • Do join Twitter chats. Locate the ones most relevant to your business and watch until you are comfortable enough to participate in the conversation. The chats will introduce you to other professionals and a wider range of people.
  • Do learn how to use hashtags. If used correctly they will bring new followers and allow people to locate your business easily. They can also be used for humor or offhanded jokes.
  • Do be personal. Use the follower’s first name when responding, draw on information in their bio to make connections and say hello randomly. It is the small things that make a personal connection greater.

Bad Twitter Etiquette

  • Don’t be negative, critical or passive aggressive at any time. These behaviors scare away professionals who know better and welcome snarky folks. Stay positive! Twitter is a community of incredible resources and brilliant people.
  • Don’t be too personal. While you want to humanize your business on some level, do not allow personal specifics and get too intimate. Even though the emphasis is on relationships, you are here to promote your business and build its awareness.
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow a rude person. Especially in the beginning you may not want to unfollow anyone for fear they will do the same, but keep your timeline full of inspiration. Follow relevant and uplifting people and businesses who fill your timeline with valuable information.
  • Don’t just promote your business. There is nothing worse than the business accounts that talk about nothing besides their products. The general rule is to spend 80% of your time promoting someone else and 20% promoting your business.
  • Don’t share negative or private information about clients. Ever. At one time or another you will want to rant about a difficult client, but refrain. And if you want to share excitement over a new client, consider it deeply before doing so. If you decide to announce it, do it professionally.
  • DON’T SEND AUTO DM’S. This is a hideous and rude practice. DM messages are for in-depth conversations, ways to exchange information or even a random hello. It is considered spam and a gross assertion on the part of the sender to believe their new followers wish to receive them.
  • Don’t spam. We all know what spam is, across all networks. Do not assume your followers care about a special, or new product or way to save money. If you would not want to receive it, don’t send it.
  • Don’t share the same thing across all your social media accounts. Facebook, Google+ and others are different platforms than Twitter – treat them accordingly. Why would your followers or fans continue to follow your business on multiple platforms if the same information is shared? Give them variety and share with purpose.
  • Don’t let several employees manage the Twitter account. The fastest way to lose followers or get into trouble online is by allowing multiple people to manage your business account. Every account, whether personal or business, has a particular voice that its followers identify with. If your business is continually changing how it interacts, your followers will move on.
  • Don’t think Twitter is free. It will take the most expensive asset, time, to make your business account successful. Be patience, stay involved and give it room to grow. It will happen, but it won’t happen overnight.
  • Don’t automate all your responses. Automation tools can be a time effective and useful way to share articles, videos, and photos, but do not automate personal responses. Your followers may not realize it at first, but once they do, they will never view your business the same way. They take the time to talk to you on a personal level, do the same for them.
  • Don’t forget to use manners and proper social media etiquette when interacting online. Be aware of how your business communicates with its followers and how it presents itself. Don’t count on a second chance.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your business be itself. Regardless of all the rules and “ideal” ways to manage a Twitter account, the best policy is to let the business personality shine through. There is nothing as powerful as sincerity.

Hope these tips for Twitter etiquette were helpful and productive. Be on the lookout for part 3; Twitter strategies for increasing engagement.