Not to get all biblical on you or anything, but Twitter is governed by a set of strict commandments. You should probably follow these to avoid feeling the wrath of the unfollow.
1. Thou Shall Devote a Few Minutes Each Day to Twitter
This is a hard and fast rule. It’s set in stone, hence it’s a Twitter commandment. In order to fully optimize your Twitter experience, you’ve got to be around to pay attention to it. Take a few minutes each day and tweet a couple of things your followers will find valuable in your niche. The more, the better, but if you’re pressed for a time, a few minutes each day is good enough. It’s important that you don’t let a day pass without at least checking in and seeing if anyone has mentioned you in a tweet.
2. Thou Shall not Spam Thy Neighbor
It’s not 1995 anymore, and I think we’ve all figured out that spam is really annoying. Don’t do it on Twitter, please. It’s one of the quickest ways to lose followers. Your Twitter account is a great way to promote your blog or your product, but if you’re too forceful, people will back away. Go ahead and promote, but walk the line between promotion and spamming very carefully.
3. Thou Shall Pay Attention to Mentions of Thy Brand
People are talking about your business, your industry or your niche on Twitter right now. Why are you not involved in the conversation? Twitter search is a great way to find out what people are saying about things that are important to you. Use it as if your Twitter success depended on it, because it does. The more conversations you’re able to contribute to, the more people will take notice. When that happens, you’re more likely to build a strong following.
4. Thou Shall Respond to @ Mentions in a Reasonable Time
This goes hand-in-hand with the first commandment, but it deserves a separate space. When other Twitter users tweet at you using the @ reply, you shouldn’t let their words go unheard. These are potential customers or followers, and they’re important. Get back to them. If you’re unsure of how to answer their question, send them a reply and let them know that you got their tweet and that you’ll get back to them. Being on top of your mentions shows that you care about your Twitter presence and the folks who could potentially become customers.
5. Thou Shall Tweet Valuable Information and Steer Away from Fluff
I love a good quote as much as the next guy. I really do. But lately, I’ve noticed that my Twitter stream is filled with so many quotes that I’m noticing some are starting to contradict each other. It’s confusing. Quotes are great, but they should be used sparingly. Be original with your tweets and provide value — that is, something that I can’t get anywhere else. Be the person I need to come to in order to get the type of information you can provide. Inspiring me with a quote from someone else is nice, but teach me something I didn’t know before. That’s how you achieve value.
6. Thou Shall not Send Automatic Direct Messages When I Follow You
I realize there are some people reading this that use the auto DM function on some third-party Twitter application. I appreciate the sentiment. It’s always nice to be thanked for something. But automating the system takes all the human interaction out of it. When I follow you and I get a DM a few hours later that asks me what I’m working on and then links to your blog, I don’t exactly feel all warm and fuzzy about it. If you want to thank your followers for following, do it personally. Sure, it takes more time, but make a connection. It’ll go a lot further for you and for me.
7. Thou Shall Ditch Your Logo and Be a Human
Your company’s logo is nice. Really, it is. But I don’t want to talk to a logo, and neither does anyone else on Twitter. Humans, not logos, create connections. Show me who you are. Don’t show me what your graphic artist created. Be real and create authenticity. It doesn’t matter how cool or edgy your logo is if you can’t create a connection with other Twitter users.
8. Thou Shall Manage Crises with Grace and Understanding
You’re not always going to hear what you want about your business or industry. When negative comments arise, do you handle them with wrath and vengeance? Absolutely not. Kindness rules all, even if you receive comments that are less than amicable. If there was a mistake on your part, acknowledge it and apologize for it. Do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If it’s a difference of opinion, be open to hearing the other side. Never resort to harsh words or indifference toward negative comments.
9. Thou Shall Retweet and Share the Message of Others
We all want to be retweeted, but in order to heighten our chances of that happening, we need to share the content and message of others first. If you retweet someone often enough, they’ll remember you and likely follow you. That’s when they’ll probably return the favor by retweeting your content. Sharing is an important part of building Twitter relationships.
10. Thou Shall not Over-commit to Twitter
Twitter is great for networking, promotion and interaction, but it’s not a savior in and of itself. It’s simply a tool. Treat it as such. Spread your attention around different social media platforms, but don’t neglect traditional ways of spreading your message. It’s important to recognize that, while social media is showing its true potential in the business world, it’s not going replace other forms of promotion. The best plan is a plan that includes a healthy mix of both new and traditional channels of promotion.