Twitter is great tool for businesses to get seen, heard and known. It allows you to get your message viewed and amplified to the masses and this is where trouble can strike. With such public exposure, businesses, and even individuals on Twitter, can fall foul of unintentional criticism and a bad reputation.
The five tips below can help guide you so Twitter becomes less of a minefield and you and your businesses reputation can survive unwounded.
1- Don’t Spam
- This seems pretty obvious but with Twitter, there are particular features which can be considered spam to other users. First and fore most do not spam your followers with endless links to your own website, they wont appreciate it and you will loose their interest and support. Try to break it up by tweeting at your followers saying, “thank you for your interest, great to have you on board ”. This makes them ore likely to soften to you and interact with any sales pitch and links you do send.
- Don’t rely on Auto DM’s. Yes, these are allowed by Twitter and many people do use them but many Twitter users find them spammy and impersonal and they are in fact a dying feature. Try and thank as many followers as you can personally and only use this if your getting hundreds of new followers each day or don’t use it all if you would prefer. Although it’s nice to receive a thank you message, all sense of meaning and genuine feeling goes out of the window when you know it’s an automated generic thank you that goes out to everyone.
- Don’t spam using hashtags. This is a big no no. Some businesses see a trend on Twitter and add a hashtag trend to their tweet in the hope it will be seen by those following that thread. Avoid this at all costs, your reputation will be broken in seconds and it will be painfully obvious that your promoting where you shouldn’t be.
2- Don’t Become Complacent
- Always be sure to keep your Twitter profile and bio up to date. Not only will this help with your reputation but also your SEO. Anyone stumbling across an old out of date page is not going to take you seriously and it does nothing for your online business reputation. Not tweeting also falls into this. No one will be interested in following you if your last tweet was two weeks ago. Being pro-active is the only way to be in this industry.
- Another thing you simply can not get lazy about is interacting with others. If someone take the time to Tweet you, tweet them back, it’s polite and build up customer relationships. Too many businesses ignore tweets. Also be aware that @mentions are not the only tweets you should look out for and reply to. Free to use Twitter apps, such as MarketMeSuite, allow you to create search panes so you could have your business/brand set up so anyone who mentions it, whether directly at you or not, can be seen. It means you are always aware of what is being said and how people feel, giving you the prime opportunity to act upon it. Being naive of chat about your business is dangerous so always be sure to run a quick search for your name/brand and reply to these tweets.
3- Don’t Self Promote
- Although Twitter allows you a chance to spread your message and business, don’t use it purely for that purpose. Constant sales pitching and “Try our product, it’s the best!” will prove annoying to your followers. By no means is it bad to send the odd tweets in this fashion but only tweeting this content is a disaster waiting to happen. Post relevant content, positive reviews of your product are an excellent example which help your audience understand and engage. Whilst Re-Tweeting shining reviews is self promotion, it’s not written by you and this level of outside influence creates an interest and trust in your audience.
4- Don’t Fall Victim to 140 Characters
- Twitter is very restive in the sense that you sometimes have to compromise what you say just to fit into the 140 character limit. Rather than trying to save on space and send only one tweet, spread it out over two or three. Keeping your help, support or reply short can make you appear blunt and uninterested. It’s always best to be safe than sorry and sending two tweets to properly portray what you mean proves you take an interest in your customers and they will appreciate the time and effort you take to help them.
5- Don’t Get Aggressive
- People tweet or blog nasty things, it happens to companies each and every day world wide. The worst thing you can do is react via Twitter in a defensive manner. Being seen to take criticism badly so publicly can hurt your reputation and people will watch their time lines bemused at the argument and judging the whole time. The best thing you can do in these situations is send a level headed tweet or Direct Message saying something like, “Sorry you feel that way, is there anything we can do to change your mind” or DM them an email address where the discussion can take place privately.
- Tweeting about your rivals in a bad manner is also poor sportsman ship. Unadulterated bashing of a competitor will actually loose you respect. Much like in real life, no one likes arrogance and self-righteousness , it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself and appear to be a mature and reasonable business.
Key Take Away
The key thing to remember about Twitter, and all forms of social media, is that you should treat it like real life. All the things people hate and love in reality are the same online. Be personal with your tweets, always interact and never leave a customer without a response. Remember that social media is like the play ground and everyone can see how you behave and make their own assumptions so always be accountable and reasonable. Most of all, be human in your tweeting, people don’t interact with robots in shops, they wont like it if they get nothing but cold, automated or template updates sent to them.