Twitter is one of the most active social networks on the planet, with over 150 million active users and 340 million tweets sent every day. Amazing Twitter is still finding it’s feet as an organisation and as a media outlet. Like Facebook Twitter now needs to leverage revenue, over the past year or so, several features have been added to help businesses use Twitter to promote their products and services.

In late 2011, Twitter launched brand pages, which gradually became available to businesses of all sizes. Then, in March 2012, Twitter extended their advertising program with Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts and provided those to a selected group of small businesses. In the months that followed, more small businesses took part in Twitter advertising.

Businesses using Twitter for social networking and marketing are able to reach out to thousands of potential and existing customers with short messages and links. There is a set of unwritten rules guiding business interactions on Twitter; professionalism and responsiveness are among the most important characteristics of a successful business account. However the best advice advice I can give to anybody running a business Twitter account ensure your posts reflect the brand identity.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts you can use to portray your businesses in the best light possible on Twitter:

Business Tweeting Netiquette — Do’s:

  • Proofread tweets before posting. (It’s ok for a funky clothing brand to use slang but what about your business.
  • Monitor the account for Direct Messages (DMs) and Mentions, and reply where appropriate.
  • Respond to DMs and Mentions in a timely manner. (42% of Twitter users who contact a brand expect a response within one hour!)
  • Offer a mix of content, with images, videos and links to outside sources when it makes sense.
  • Discover brand mentions with Twitter Search for tweets where you weren’t mentioned with the @yourname tag.
  • Blessed are the hashtags to mark content as relevant to a topic and to boost the tweet listing for the tag in Twitter Search.
  • Keep promotional or advertising tweets to a minimum replace with helpful information and conversations.
  • Complete the company’s account profile, and make sure you include a high quality picture, a link to the company website and a description that tells people what to expect by following the account.
  • Retweet (RT) information followers will find interesting, entertaining or helpful.
  • Interact with others on the site. Employing a strictly “broadcast” account management style only works for publications and larger brands.
  • Train employees who will use the Twitter account to interact with people in a way that best represents the company. (Keep account managers to a limited number)
  • Integrate your Twitter account with other marketing efforts.

Business Tweeting  – Don’ts:

  • Avoid too many hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to expose your tweets to more people. However, too many hashtags in one #tweet #is #distracting #to #users. (See what I mean)
  • Dedicate time, but not the same time each day to prevent people from seeing the account as a list of jobs for a marketer to do before he/she heads out to lunch!!  (Keep a spare monitor running doing a search or keep a different screen open)
  • It’s not necessary to follow everyone who follows you. This can result in a very “noisy” newsfeed. Follow those who tweet interesting information relevant to your business.
  • Leave off the Sale! or Buy Now! in the majority of your tweets. Followers will tire of being advertised to and would rather see interesting, entertaining or informative tweets. Susan Gunelius at Bloomberg Businessweek recommends an 80/20 mix of content, with only 20% of tweets for self-promotion.
  • Respond to negative interactions, don’t ignore them. Use kindness and professionalism to address the remarks. Offer to follow the user so you can interact using DMs rather than having a public exchange. (Kill them with kindness)

Just getting started? See How to Set Up Your Twitter Account for step-by-step instructions to creating a profile for your business.

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