Tweet Etiquette 101 for Businesses Twitter is a massive social tool with millions of users interacting on a daily basis. So, it’s no surprise that an entire set of etiquette has developed over the last few years to dictate how people tweet and respond to other tweets. For every day users, etiquette is mostly about common sense, avoiding insults, not revealing personal information, and stepping back from threatening, confusing messages. But, for businesses, the rules are even stricter as you must protect the image you project to the public and often businesses have multiple users in there writing things. What’s Appropriate? To start with, you must ask yourself, what’s appropriate for your business? Some niches, like clothing, music, or film (any of the arts really) are a lot more open to potentially risqué topics. You can mention violent movies or make jokes about a sexy TV show you saw a few days ago because your audience not only expects it, but eats it up. But, if you work for a corporation like IBM or you are trying to set yourself up as a business consultant, making rude jokes or off color statements will only make you appear unprofessional and drive away potential customers. Twitter may seem like a place to vent when you feel upset or discuss something you found particularly interesting, but it’s no different than any other marketing channel. Would you go on TV and babble about how a model looked in her swimsuit? Of course not – it’s unprofessional. Social Media Policy If you’re working on your own as an entrepreneur trying to build a name for yourself, any mistakes made on Twitter fall squarely on you. The only person who can control or alter the messages that make it onto your profile is you. But, if you have employees or a partner who helps you in the branding of your company, it is a good idea to establish a social media policy for how certain topics are handled. It may not seem like a big deal, but what happens the first time you get an angry message directed at you from a disgruntled customer? Do you want your employees spouting off rude responses or would you rather they try to help solve the problem or direct them to a customer service profile? Use Common Sense At the end of the day, the biggest problem that most people run into when they say something stupid on Twitter is that they don’t think of Twitter as a real social interaction. The disconnect between real life etiquette and the amorphous digital cloud that is the Internet creates situations where men and women say things they never would otherwise. But, if you think about it from that perspective – realizing that these are real people reading real comments from you – it will be far easier to avoid the damaging mistakes that can hurt your business. Don’t badmouth people, don’t blatantly advertise your services, don’t make claims you cannot backup. Be helpful and genial and Twitter’s users will repay you.
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