After observing the behavior of marketers and brands on Twitter for the past year, I have jotted down some punctilios (☚ word of the day - punctilio: a fine point of etiquette or petty formality.) that you, as a marketer, would need to follow if you want to gather and keep happy followers:
Punctilio #1 Mix business with pleasure, that's today's "must-do":
We all know that you are mainly on Twitter so you can promote a business or a blog or whatever it is you are so proud of (and yes we are proud of you too, mostly!) but before you want to add some professional value, you need to add some social/personal value. Remember it's a "social" network first, not a "business" network. Don't make all your tweets about headlines and news from your business/blog, sure include some, but remember to also share some fun tweets, or some useful tweets that don't revolve around what you're promoting, but perhaps somehow relevant if you'd like to keep a specialized twitter profile. Tweet to show the human side of your business, not the robotic news-feeding side (That's what RSS feeds are for!).
Punctilio #2 Drop the direct auto-messages:
It was exciting for me to get direct messages to my inbox after having only been there shortly, thinking I raised some people's interest. Then I found out that all the direct messages I've been getting were just automated, and impersonal like "Thanks for following, we look forward to reading your tweets (Really? Are you? What's the last thing I tweeted about then?!). Visit this site/blog etc.". First of all, if you feel the need to send promotion messages to your followers then can you please make it a bit more personal! Like add the follower's name saying "Hey there Manal...", now that would make me feel special believing you took the time to read my name and know who you are addressing and would encourage me more to visit a link you give me. Sure it might be hard work to do that with every follower you get, so only choose a sample per day, and if you're not willing to do the work then lay off the messages. One other thing, I think it would be more appropriate to send your links on a second direct message rather than the first. How would you feel if someone asked you to do something for him/her on the first day you met!
Punctilio #3 Put some "soul" in your retweets:
You might want to save yourself some trouble or spice up your feed by retweeting tweets that would interest your followers, or by tweeting links of something you read, but don't just tweet a dry formal headline unless there are no more characters left in the tweet. How about you include your comment on the retweet first! Something that makes it apparent that there is a social human being out there with opinions and thoughts and love for sharing... Don't be afraid to show some humor or wittiness (or emoticons =D) in your comments when appropriate. I have more fun reading posts/tweets/comments that show the reader's sense of humor/cynicism/emotions and that motivates me to retweet them myself.
Punctilio #4 Don't repeat your tweets:
I know that it could be hard to find great content or insight to tweet every few minutes, so you might feel the urge to retweet some of your previous tweets again, but try to resist that! I'm sure it is interesting enough to repeat, but there are followers (and they are many) who are always up-to-date with the latest tweets and make sure to read them all. It would look bad when they go through the really long feed only to see that your repeated tweets are filling it up! I'm sure you're thinking that it's best to repeat your tweets for the new followers who are increasing by the minute, but some of those would go through your tweets history and might notice the repetition. If you feel that the content is so important that you need to increase awareness to it by repeating it, then choose a long time interval, like repeat the tweets every other day/week/month, but certainly not every hour, and most definitely don't make all your tweets repetitive. That would only make you seem like a spammer.
Punctilio #5 Put a face on the brand:
It doesn't take much research to find out that twitter users don't really like following businesses on twitter unless they're popular brands. If the business you're promoting is no where near popular then you'll need to offset the corporate purpose of the account with a personal feel of it. Some corporate twitter accounts often utilize the background to display an image of the person tweeting on behalf of the company, so check with the company's policy first then put your pretty face on the background or as the display picture. If you have a team collaborating on the same twitter account, then you can also label and make their names known in the background design and through a tag at the end of each tweet, a great example of that is Xbox Support.
Do you have any other tips for Twitter marketers? Feel free to share them in the comments. And if you agree with me and like what you read, then share it along =D I'd be most appreciative!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter as @TheManalyst!