Twitter Best Practices for Business Owners

Friday, February 04, 2011

New to Twitter? Been around for a while, but need some tips on best practices? Here are thirteen top do's and don'ts for wedding businesses who use Twitter:

DO: Fill out your name, location, website and bio. This helps people know who you are and what you are about at a glance. Including a link to your website or blog also allows people to find out more about you, subscribe to your blog, sign up for your newsletter, and generally become addicted to what you have to offer.  If Twitter shuts its doors or loses popularity (and it will at some point, as these things all do), you will lose that base of fans unless they are engaged with you elsewhere as well (and no, Facebook doesn't count, for the same reasons). 

DON'T: Only tweet or re-tweet (RT) about you or your company. We do want to hear about you, your successes, and what you have to offer. We don't want to hear about it twenty times a day. 

DO: Show some of your personality. The point of social media is to interact with the people behind the company, so show us who you are.  Determine boundaries you are comfortable with of course, but don't set up such strict walls that no one gets to know the real you. If you are only using Twitter to talk strictly business, it is probably not the best medium for you.

DON'T: Lock or make your company's Twitter page private. People are much less likely to follow you if they have to be "approved". You can't change human nature - the fear of rejection is very real, so don't actively let it get in the way of your marketing and building a group of loyal supporters. Plus, when your page is locked, it makes people think your company has something to hide or that you are gossiping about all of your clients.

DO: Use a photo of yourself for your avatar and not one of your logo. We want to see who you are. People will buy from people they like and trust, and studies show that trust levels increase dramatically when people can connect a face with a name. An exception: if you have several people updating for your company or organization and there is not just one person twittering. 

DON'T: Talk about your clients in a negative light, or share anything about them that could be in breach of an NDA or their privacy. You may be excited that it is the largest floral budget you've ever worked with, but your clients may not want how much they are spending broadcast to the entire world.

DO: Respond and engage with the community, even when they are not talking about you or your company. The keyword in social media is social, however many people who are using it are anything but.

DON'T: Use Twitter as a place to vent non-stop. If you are going to vent, be careful that you don't cross the line into libel and defamation. You can be sued for what you say on Twitter and other social media platforms.

DO: Personalize your Twitter background. There are a multitude of options (your brand's colors, your logo, photos of your work, extended contact info, etc), so be sure to make your brand consistent in this area as well. Quick note: if you are uploading wedding photos for the background, please feature only YOUR work.

DON'T: Only tweet with people you think are the influencers or the popular ones.  If some of those people are your friends, that's great, and you should still talk to them, but just as it would be rude to walk into a cocktail party and make a beeline for the most lucrative nametag title, the same is true on twitter.  Twittering only with the perceived influencers is not a good strategy; it's rude.

DO: Consider your audience if you are going to do a series of informational tweets. A Twitter series can be effective, but many people use them ineffectively. If the majority of your followers are wedding professionals, posting wedding planning tips for brides is going to mainly fall on deaf ears.

DON'T: Pretend to be someone you're not, in any form. If your husband or intern is the one twittering, then tell everyone that it is someone else and don't pretend that it is you posting. Gen Xers and Millennials widely view ghost twittering as lying, not as an effective outsourcing strategy.  Do NOT violate the trust you have worked so hard to establish with your audience by not being up front about who is posting. 

DO: Run your company according to your business and marketing plans, and not according to what other people are perceived to be doing. It's great that Sally Wedding Planner is 90% booked for 2012. What she's not telling you in those 140 characters is that it's all day-of coordination for which she charges less than $1000.  The 700 emails that are keeping her sooo busy? 650 are spam, Google Alerts or special offers from trade magazines. Don't fall into the trap of comparing apples to oranges; relax and just do your thing.

What is some of your advice for a company using Twitter?

Originally published October 2009

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