How to Tweet Like You’re Not a Business
Portent Staff Jun 26 2012
It’s Twitter Tuesday! And what a lovely Twitter Tuesday it is. This week we’re talking about tweeting for businesses.
If Mitt Romney really is right and corporations are people, then they sure don’t act like it on Twitter. And that’s too bad. People don’t want to do business with a business; people want to do business with people. And that must be true, because it is cleverly worded.
Here are seven tips for improving your business’s Twitter.
Human beings for the win
No one likes being advertised to by a faceless corporation, so how about making your business’s Twitter a little more personable?
Starbucks uses their profile info to show that they’re not a business, but just a close group of friends who like to sell you coffee.
Even AXE, a brand I’m not too fond of, does a great job of personalizing their tweets by adding the signature of a member of their social team.
AXE Nation… Happy Record Store Day!!! Now get out there support your local shop! -DanwithAXE
— AXE (@AXE) April 21, 2012
Don’t overuse hashtags
I see a lot of businesses overusing hashtags. The strategy here is that by including relevant hashtags in a tweet, you can reach people searching for that hashtag. And that may be true, but I doubt those numbers are anything to tweet home about.
Use one, maybe two, hashtags in a tweet. Use more and you’ve got a pretty spammy tweet on your hands. Don’t scare away the followers who might have actually cared about your tweet in the first place.
Don’t over-promote your business
People don’t go to their favorite social media site to be advertised to. I think a lot of marketers and businesses forget that. You need to provide users with interesting and compelling content, and not all of it should be created by you.
What are you tweeting about? Ask yourself, “Why would someone follow this business on Twitter?” Don’t answer, “To keep up with our latest deals and promotions.” You can do better than that.
Establish your brand as an authority in your niche. Tweet the latest news from your industry, not just your business. Find a way to provide valuable information to your followers. Check out how Portent tweets out the news from our industry:
But what is the golden ratio for Twitter promotion? It depends on your industry, but you should try to balance a handful of promotional tweets with many handfuls of useful tweets that don’t directly advertise your products and services.
Don’t use autorespond messages
“Thanks for following! Please check out my articles at www.mystupidwebsite.com.”
Your followers don’t want that direct message. It’s not a kind gesture to a new follower; it’s you telling them they are just another statistic on your social media reports.
When I see an autorespond message in my direct message inbox, I brainstorm at least a dozen ways to track down and kill that tweeter. Okay, that’s not quite true, but it does send me and many other users straight to the unfollow button.
Update: Just got this awful autorespond message and I lashed out unexpectedly:
Reply to your fans
Reach out to a new audience, but also just make sure you don’t not respond to the audience you’ve got. Frequently monitor your @ mentions, and consider using a third party tool like Hootsuite to keep track of your brand keywords.
Don’t tweet too much
How often does the average brand or business tweet? The number may surprise you.
I used How often do you Tweet to analyze 50 of the top brands on Twitter. Those brands averaged over 37 tweets per day. Wow!
But that statistic is misleading. Many of those tweets were @ replies to followers (which you should be doing!), and your followers won’t see your @ replies to other followers (unless they follow them too).
There is a balance to be found here. Don’t just fire off a dozen tweets in five minutes. Tweet quality is more important than tweet quantity here. If your business has 15 great things to tweet about today, then that’s the right number. If you only have three interesting things to tweet about, then tweet three times. Just don’t make your followers sift through 15 tweets to find the three good ones. They won’t.
Be credible and trustworthy
A study by Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon University analyzed the factors that affect the credibility of a tweet. Five factors stood out as having the largest negative impact on a tweet’s credibility:
- Tweet has non-standard grammar/punctuation.
- Twitter user has the default avatar/image (the egg).
- Twitter user has a cartoon avatar/image.
- The number of people the Twitter user is following far exceeds the number of people that follow them.
- Twitter user has a logo avatar/image (this is what we’re working against here).
Online readers are becoming more and more skeptical every day, so know that you’ll need to earn their trust with a quality Twitter feed.
Have you noticed any other things businesses do on Twitter that send you scrambling for the unfollow button?
Oh, and play your role as a child of knowledge by retweeting this article out for present generations to learn from.
How to Tweet Like You’re Not a Business portent.co/MV42Qk A guide for businesses.
— jack martin (@jackthemartin) June 26, 2012