You may remember that two years ago, after much nudging, I created and published a guide for corporate twits. I haven’t tweeted in a corporate capacity since, although I have remained responsible for more ‘serious’ accounts than my personal one, including @LabLit and @ScienceisVital.
Something came into my twitter stream yesterday that made me wince. As a result, I’ve amended the original slightly, adding my “Zeroth Law” of Twitter, if you like.
Richard’s Guide to Corporate Twitter Etiquette, Mk II
0. Content first. Be prepared to post 50 original tweets (not RTs or @’s) before you get your first RT; or your first non-spam follower.
- The point of tweeting—as with all social media—is to drive traffic to the site & bring it to the attention of potential new customers.
- We try to achieve this by building a community and a network around
our social media activities.
- Communities are built on trust. People trust other people; it is important to maintain personal connections while remaining professional.
- People trust you to share interesting and relevant content; trust that you will respect other members of the community.
- Therefore, your tweets should be enticing and catchy, but never misleading. You are publishing: always factcheck; never libel.
- Your own voice is important—try to become a trustworthy voice of the company. We all have different voices and this is good.
- You are speaking on behalf of the company. Say ‘we’ when appropriate, and don’t write anything you wouldn’t repeat in the boardroom.
- Add value. Are you making the company look good? Are you interesting to other people? Are you putting the company before yourself?
- Through your tweets, your links and your conversations, give people a reason to follow our twitter account. See #1.
- Check what other company tweeters have just written. Duplicate tweets are good, if there’s at least few hours between them.
- Try to keep your tweets to about 100-120 characters, not 140. This gives people room to retweet and comment on your gems.
- Use hashtags responsibly, on keywords, e.g. #Ecology #RCT #Vaccination. Don’t overdo it: #This #is #silly. Examples follow:
- “Congratulations to F1000 Members @lauramenenti and Peter Hagoort on ‘Shared Language’ http://bit.ly/qIUcMu #psychology #fMRI”
- “Retweet for the other hemisphere: on the importance of good note-keeping http://t.co/jRMwLxI #retractions”
- Follow interesting people back, but don’t feel you have to follow everybody. Don’t set an autoresponse for new followers.
- Engage: take time to respond to people who ‘@’ you. Reply to and retweet interesting tweets from others.
- Together, @s and RTs should take up no more than 66% of your output; and you should send fewer RTs than @s.
- Be polite and courteous at all times; even when you’re arguing with a muppet. Again, see #1.
- Punctuate. Try not 2 use txt spk. Rephrase rather than mangle the English language. And don’t swear. Ever. Even in jest.
- Have fun.