Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter has gotten a lot of press lately. A lot of people are new to Twitter and are somewhat confused about how to use Twitter.

I've been on Twitter for quite some time and I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on Do's and Don'ts of Twitter.

Twitter Do Nots

* Don't use it as a vehicle to spam your followers. This is not like a mailing list. People want to know more about you, and what you do throughout your, news, ideas you want to share. I've followed (and subsequently unfollowed) a number of internet marketers and found their practice not to my liking. Most of their tweets are: "I'm selling my stuff for 50% today only." "Buy more of my stuff here". "Buy more of Bob's stuff (I am making a commission from this link)".

This is the quickest way to turn people off. It really shows your followers (and would be followers) your true colors. These people are not about growing their social capital (and good will) but are in it for a quick buck.

* Don't over tweet. While some people are too shy to tweet, some go overboard. Sending 10+ tweets a day tend to wear your followers out. Keep to the relevance of your topic. It's one thing is you are using it to keep in touch with your friends and family, it's another as a marketing/corporate communication tool.

If you have relevant and helpful things to tweet about, by all means.

All I am saying is...respect your follower's time. Take a few minutes to ask yourself "is there value in this tweet for my followers?"

* Don't Spam Follow. There's a growing practice of people Following others with the hope of getting a reciprocal follow. It's not a collectible card game people. The people who do this thinks that having a few thousand people following them means big bucks in their bank account....I don't believe that this is a wise strategy. I would rather real people follow me rather than an artificial crowd of "bots". It's just me.

* Keep your Follow list small. I actually read and care about the people I follow. When I see someone following 3000 people...I know they are not serious about the people they are following. How can you? If it takes you 1 second to read one tweet...and if everyone on average tweets once per day, that's 3000 seconds PER DAY or 500 minutes (over 8 hours) to read. This seems like you're not real or genuine.

Twittering Done The Right Way
Now let's talk about how to use Twitter the Right way; especially to grow your business and make money.

* Share real content and value with your followers. For example, "I've found this really cool widget that saved me a lot of time.." By sharing this sort of information, your followers will come to appreciate and respect your tweets.

* Keep it balanced. Balance your tweets between heavy information with light tweets...for example, "I'm heading out to lunch with Paul. Paul's a great guy who specializes in...."

* Give people credit. Sing other people's praise. If someone does something cool, tweet about it. They will appreciate it, and may in turn follow you.

* Comment often on other people's posts. People like to know their tweets are being heard. It's amazing how much engagement you can ignite by just commenting on someone's tweet. Try it.

* Produce content. Write blogs. Submit your stuff to e-zines. Post on newsgroups, Ning, Facebook groups, etc. Put a twitter signature so people can follow you. In fact, it might be better to just put a twitter link than your website. Add it to your email signature

* Ask questions. Enage your followers. If you are at a supermarket and can't decide between product A vs Product B...tweet about it. "I am looking for...what do you think ?" "I can't decide...which do you think?"

* The world's a stage. Try to make your tweets funny or interesting...Again, give your followers value.

* Have a detailed Bio. Give concise and relevant information about who you are in your bio. Specifically what industry you belong to. What your interests are. Answer this question: "why should I follow you?"

* Post once in a while. Put a reminder on your calendar to post once a week. It really only takes less than 2 minutes when you make a habit of doing it. If you are a beginner...just post something mundane. Like "I am heading out to the supermarket" It's OK.

* Be sure to link to Facebook and Linkedin. Most people are on Facebook and Linkedin these days. Be sure to use the Apps within Facebook and Linkedin to connect your tweets so that tweets from Twitter automatically updates to your Facebook account so your friends on Facebook can see it too.

* Ask people to re-tweet your posts. If you write a newsletter or a blog and you think the content is worth spreading, then pre-make a Tweet for your readers and ask them to "re-tweet" your post to their subscribers. Check out the bottom of this article if you don't know what "re-tweeting" means. (Thanks to Michael Rubin.

Summary: Twitter Best Practices

It's pretty simple really, follow Jesus' Golden Rule: Do onto other's what you want others to do onto yourself.

Imagine chatting with a group of friends or business associates. Ask yourself, "would my comments be appropriate in this group?" If so, tweet it. For example, "Wow, I saw Iron Man, it was a great movie." would be appreciated.

Another suggestion you might want to try is to follow some people who I consider have high social equity on Twitter. Follow these people:

Mari Smith: (I love her tweets!)
Robert Grant:
Kirt Christensen:
John Reese:

Do what successful people do. Copy these people's best practice.

Finally, don't force yourself to tweet. Do what comes natural. I sometimes go for days without tweeting. Some times, I tweet 3-5 times a day. It's all good.

Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Please add to this post.

You can follow me on Twitter at:

Please help me spread this post.
Please "Pay it Forward". If you find this useful, please re-tweet this in your twitter blog:

"Great article about Twitter Best Practices:"


  1. George,

    These are all terrific suggestions. Well done compiling them all in one place.

    I would also recommend adding a line-item about Re-Tweeting. I'm a big believer in passing along and sharing informative tweets from others, so I try to make sure a reasonable percentage of my tweets are re-tweets.

    When asked to explain what this means, I typically respond by saying "Re-tweet is 'pay it forward' put into action."


    Michael E. Rubin // 847-370-3421 // twitter: merubin

  2. Thank you Michael! That's a great idea! I have amended the article and ask people to re-tweet it!

    Have a great day.

  3. George, that's a very nice, concise article with some practical suggestions for using Twitter correctly. You have a good list of people to follow, too. I know Kirt & Mari and know of John Reese and follow them all. The name Robert Grant didn't ring a bell with me, but it turns out that I'm following him anyway. Your concept of paring down your follow list to just a few that you really want to keep up on is very intriguing. That is not how I've done it. For the most part I reciprocate follows (about 70-75%) plus I add & follow more people that don't follow me and I keep it pretty even. I have about 950 followers and I'm following about 929, which is OK, but there's no way that I keep up on all the Tweets of the ones I'm following.

    I might try a strategy that I heard someone else expound and that is to set up a new Twitter ID & with that ID I'd only follow people who I think have excellent content that would be highly beneficial for me to review regularly. I would probably keep that list pretty small - maybe only 20 or 30 people. I think that would serve a completely different purpose.

    I heard this guy say he uses different Twitter ID's for different purposes and I think he had 4 or 5, but that seems a bit much to me. One was a "play", socialize, & party ID and the others were all different businesses that he had. It's an interesting concept. I wonder if very many people do that? Anyway, thanks for the blogpost ideas and now I have a new person to follow on Twitter:

    David ZenDoc

    P.S.: someday I'd like to get your ideas on 1ShoppingCart & various competitors.

  4. Hi being very new to Twitter in the Uk, I found your article very interesting. Having spent the past couple of weeks trying to 'Hit the right Spot!' with it.

    From a business point of view you, I can see the Marketing potential, for an immediate responce to content that can be sent out ie 'Flash Offers'or 'Last minute Deals', I think for a Restaurant in a busy city this would work fantastically for example Lunch time offers or early Diner promotions.

    But I'm finding it much harder to set out a corporate face for our hotel business which is primerilly a people business, I know that must sound very strange. Getting our message across and interacting with customers via DM, as Private Messages are not published in your timeline. @Replies Sitting in your tiemline are much more confuseing to follow as looking back though the updates may involve a little longer search.

    How best can we make it work, Firstly offering Twitter Polls has not engaged anyone to reply ?

    Downloadable Coupons ? Non Limitable / Untrackable ? And Picture messages well more informative than interactable.

  5. George,

    Thank you for answering the call to help those that don't know what they are doing wrong. Social Media is an artfully walked medium.