Twitter Guidelines: 4 Things You Should NEVER Do


What Not to do o TwitterTwitter is one of the top social media platforms on the Internet today They have around 640 million existing accounts with about 72 million active participants.  People join Twitter for any number of reasons.  “Everybody else is doing it.”  Don’t try that one on your mother.  Uber-geeks might join because: “I like to build relationships using 140 or less characters.”  Others, with more of a stalker-like mind set may just join so they can ‘Follow’ people.  A lot of us business types join to use Twitter as one of our on-line marketing channels, where we can focus on targeted audiences who might be interested in our products or services.  Each social media platform has it’s own rules and guidelines, norms and behavioral expectations.  Below are several Twitter guidelines on what you should NEVER do on Twitter.


1) Do NOT force your schedule on people you want to follow.

If you use one of the automated applications like TweetAdder to find people to follow, do not assume they work on the same schedule for Twitter or their other social media platforms that you or your automated system do.  Some automated ‘connector’ services have a default of only 2 or 3 days during which a person can accept your invitation before you ‘Unfollow’ them.  Some Tweeple won’t be logged in when your invitation hits their Inbox, and will find themselves abruptly ‘Unfollowed’ before ever having a chance to ‘Follow’ you back.

As the saying goes: “How rude!”  If you wanted to connect with them on Day One or Day Two, why are you changing your mind and unfollowing them on Day Three or Day Four because they haven’t had time to respond?  Taking this approach won’t win you  points or warm, fuzzy feelings.  Also, don’t Follow someone just to get them to follow you back, just to ‘Unfollow’ them once they are added to your numbers.  Again, “How rude!”  Certainly not sociable or a way to keep and develop followers who might one day become customers.

2)  Do NOT spam your followers.

Unless you tell people before they accept your invitation to ‘Follow’ you that spamming is your Twitter strategy, you can expect to be ‘Unfollowed’ quickly.  If all Followers can expect from your postings is a repetition of your sales pitch, they won’t be around very long.  Certainly posting a sales pitch or special offer from time to time is acceptable.  But, when all, or a majority of your postings fall into this category of Tweets, it will get you ‘Unfollowed’ in a heartbeat. Use a ratio of around 80/20 for postings vs. sales pitches.  Twitter is a social media platform, not a direct sales tool.

3) Do NOT be boring.

Don’t develop only one or two messages (sales pitches) that you rotate over and over and over again with a link to the same video or whitepaper sales piece.  This is  another sure-fire way to get ‘Unfollowed’ quickly.  It will only take a day or two for new Followers to figure out that you’re boring and not at all interested in sharing interesting information or developing a relationship.

4)  Do NOT make Twitter your on-line catalog.

Nothing is more annoying than logging in to Twitter, hoping to connect with your favorite Tweeple, share some information or learn something new, only to find your timeline clogged with a dozen or more individual items for sale from the same person.  Post one or two at most with a link to your web site where those who are interested can find the rest of your offerings.  Who wants to send valuable time clicking a ridiculous number of links to see each individual piece you have on your web site?

People join Twitter to meet people, not to buy something in 140 characters or less.  Twitter is a platform for meeting new people, connecting and developing relationships.  Hopefully, at least some of your Twitter contacts will turn into customers.   If you do your job right and build relationships, people will find your web site, read your blog and maybe even purchase something once they get to know you and how you do business.  Taking up too much of their Twitter real estate with sales pitches will get you ‘Unfollowed’  for sure.  You are only one of their connections.  Why should 50% of their timeline be devoted to your sales campaigns?


Give your Twitter relationships a chance to develop before you hit sales mode.  An automated ‘Thanks for Following’ message immediately directing new followers to your sales video or whitepaper pushing your product or services does nothing to begin developing a business relationship.  Why try to sell a total stranger something  you have no idea if they need it or are interested in it?   Even in a brick and mortar store, the savvy business owner will greet a potential customer with something along the lines of:  “Hello.  How are you today?  How can I help you?”  Remember the adage:  “People do business with people they know, like and trust.”  None of the Twitter strategies above will garner any level of real connection, much less build trust or a desire to do business with you.


How about you?  Have you experienced other annoying behavior from tweeple you’ve met on Twitter?  Please share them with us below.  If you want to connect on Twitter and develop a relationship that could benefit both of us, you can find me at @tlmaurer.  Love to meet you there.





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Terri L. Maurer

Terri L Maurer is a small business consultant with a strategic bent.Using an analytical approach to uncovering potential roadblocks, she helps small business owners and managers create focused roadmaps to their firm's unique vision of success.
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