The Rules of Twitter
It took me a long time to fully get to grips with Twitter. I will admit to initially not really understanding the point of Twitter and what use it could possible have for a developer. Thankfully my curiosity got the better of me and I continued to use Twitter. I tweeted sporadically and followed the odd person at random, all the while longing for some type of guidance on how to make the most of it!
Over time I became much more Twitter-savvy and learnt how to navigate and manage the alarming amounts of tweets flooding my stream. To save you the same frustrating learning by trial and error experience, I have compiled the following essential “Rules of Twitter”. These are fundamental principles you should embrace if you want Twitter to work for you.
Have a relevant Bio Description
If you are using Twitter to promote your organisation then you need to make sure that users can instantly decipher what you are all about just from reading your bio. However if you are using Twitter for purely personal reasons then feel free to go mad and write whatever you want. But it is important to always bear in mind that it will not be too difficult to trace your personal account from an organisation account.
Have a Link to your Site
You would be surprised how many times I have wanted to take a closer look at a particularly developer or company only to find they don’t have a link on their account. This blatant ignorance to a fantastic promotional opportunity is an instant turn-off for wanting to work with any developer. If you don’t have a personal site or a blog then take them to your Linked account or Facebook page – it is usually better than nothing!
Brand your Twitter Account
Brand identity is critical to any organisation and this importance extends to Twitter. If your Twitter account is acting as a communication tool for your organisation then you will want people to instantly recognise and associate your Twitter with your organisation. Consistent branding is particularly important here. Make sure your Twitter brand matches that of your website, Facebook and Youtube accounts.
Twitter supports customised themes and I highly recommend making use of this rather than the generic templates that are available. This way you can make your Twitter page look like an extension of your website. The Twitter caricature is perhaps the most important aspect of branding so it is important to get this right. In the vast majority of cases your logo will be perfect for this.
Follow Relevant People
You will always want to build a Twitter following who are passionate and interested in the same topic of interest as yourself or your organisation. There is little to be gained from following the latest celebrities as they will simply clog up your stream with irrelevant tweets. Focus on what you want to achieve from having a Twitter account! This can be made easier with tools such as Tweepi or Twellow.
Use a Management Tool
Twitter is chaotic by nature, making the management of the barrage of tweets seem like an impossible task. It is essential that you link your Twitter account into management tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. This will help you manage and monitor both the tweets and the people you interact with.
Hashtags allow you to target your tweets to users outside your list of followers, who are interested in a particular topic. This is a great way to achieve beneficial interaction with relevant and useful followers. For example if you are tweeting about Web Design then simply include the hashtag #webdesign in your tweet and people who are interested in Web Design will easily be able to view your tweet.
Write an Eye-Catching Headline
Your tweets only have 140 characters to get across your message. For this reason your tweets should be written with the best headlines you can manage. This will get easier with practise and you will soon see which type of headlines are working and which aren’t. Remember you need to have something that makes your post stand out from the thousands of other tweets being posted at the same time.
Put Twitter Sharing Buttons on your Website
You want to make it as easy as possible for users to share your content on your website. Twitter provides an excellent way of achieving this in that they have many Twitter buttons that allow users to follow you and re-tweet content to their Twitter feed. This provides fantastic free publicity for you and your organisation but just remember to place these buttons in a prominent position on your website to encourage interaction.
Your Rules of Twitter
These are just a list of things that I have found helpful. I would of course be interested to hear any recommendations of things you have found useful and I will add these to my Rules of Twitter.