How not to tweet
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By James Matthews-Paul
16 May 2012
Using common hashtags like #drupa will result in more retweets than inventing your own
Tweeting is a mysterious world, and companies of all sizes are right to be cautious as they decide their strategy. Who's the right person to tweet? What can or can't they say? How does one deal with negative @ mentions and when should the conversation be taken offline? These are all things to be decided internally, perhaps bringing in a specialist, and in many cases there is no right or wrong.
But there are still some mistakes being made, so I hope that some blunt pointers will help companies make their feeds richer for tweeters – and easier for their employees.
Don't tweet the same message from multiple accounts. TweetDeck and HootSuite are handy tools, great for visualising Twitter and incredibly useful initially, but it's just amateurish. Analogy: having four salespeople trying to get you to buy the same product, all talking at the same time.
Don't retweet your own messages without good reason. There are perfectly legitimate reasons to run multiple Twitter accounts – different product lines or business groups, for example – but always RTing each other means you lose the distinction between them. Analogy: having someone tell you the same thing repeatedly when you heard it the first time.
Don't love yourself. 'OMG! I'm from company X – I just love our Y range so much, plus all its Z products! Yay! #IloveX.' Nay. Analogy: when was the last time you met someone who could only talk about themselves and how great they are? I bet you made an excuse to leave as quickly as possible. Find other interesting things to say that aren't just about you, your products and services, and your company. You would be more subtle in your other marketing activities, so don't take the hammer approach on Twitter either.
Don't create unnecessary hashtags. If you are going for concept marketing there may be a value in creating a new hashtag. But look carefully at who you want to use it and its purpose. If you are hoping to track who within your company or customer base is tweeting around an event, that's great, and it could help with your metrics. But trying to force a pointless hashtag on people makes you look a bit desperate – plus it takes up unnecessary room in your tweet. Stick to common ground (for example, #drupa) to enjoy greater visibility.
If you can eliminate these sins, you will appeal to a broader user base, reach more prospects, have a cleaner feed with more subscribers, and earn the respect of your followers. You'll also get more retweets and your message will carry further. And yes, you can get your corporate messaging in there too – but that, I'm afraid, you're going to have to work out for yourself.
The full version of this article appears on the drupa 2012 blog.
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