For a long time I’ve been wanting to put together a ‘best practices‘ for those looking to tighten up their professional Twitter presence. So instead of just doing a boring old “Twitter Best Practices“, I thought I’d mix it up by getting creative and creating a list of what I call the “Ten Twitter Commandments“.
Whether you’re establishing your personal brand, promoting your company or organization, or just wanting to not look like a n00b tweeter, I believe you can benefit from incorporating the following best practices (a.k.a. “Commandments“) and be a step ahead of the average twitter user. So, without further ado, here are the Ten Twitter Commandments:
This is part of the How To: Social Media Series, be sure to take a look at the rest of the series.
Without further ado…
The Ten Twitter Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no ridiculously obscure user name.
It’s no longer the 1990’s, where people used random strings of obscure words and numbers to create their online alias. Now-a-days it’s best to just use your name. Friends, family, fans, or potential clients will be looking for YOUR NAME. Don’t make it hard for them to find you. Even though there could be debate for branding purposes.
2. Thou shalt make of thee a graven image, or some likeness of thee.
There is no better way to broadcast the fact that you are a n00b than to have that weird egg as your profile picture. So, please, go and get an image of yourself, or even something vaguely represents or resembles you and make it your profile picture. (This is also known as an ‘avatar’.) It doesn’t have to be a professionally done photo. You just need something there that represents you. It drives me NUTS when I see that n00b egg.
3. Thou shalt not take up the entire stream of thy followers; for the followers will not hold him guiltless that taketh his entire screen.
I don’t care how much I love you, if you are tweeting five times per minute and my entire twitter stream is consumed by your tweets no matter how inspiring or profound, I will likely unfollow you. If you are bombarding someones news feed with your banter, it will only be a matter of time before they either tune you out, or flat out remove you.
4. Remember the link shortener, to keep it tiny; 140 characters shalt thou type, and do all thy tweeting.
When you want to share a link to a website, blog, YouTube video, or the like, always use a link-shortening service such as bit.ly, is.gd, goo.gl, etc. That way, you will have more room to share what its about and you’ll look like you know what you’re doing.
5. Honor thy followers and mentioners.
Twitter is not a place to monologue. If all you plan on doing is broadcasting your message and not engaging with your audience, you should just do us a favor, stay off of Twitter. Of course, if you’re Justin Bieber you can’t respond to everyone, but let’s face it, you’re not the Bieber. Respond to legitimate mentions.
6. Thou shalt not spill the beans.
This is a lesson I forget sometimes (even recently). If you are going to tweet the results of a sports event, or reality TV show (such as Celebrity Apprentice) make sure you indicate the on-coming ‘spoiler‘ by typing “SPOILER ALERT” at the beginning. Trust me, some people take their TV shows very seriously, and if you ruin the surprise it’s as if you’ve kicked their puppy or something.
7. Thou shalt not commit SPAM.
I’ve covered this before, so I’ll just touch on it one more time– don’t be spam. Moving on.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
This one didn’t need to be modified from the original Biblical text at all. In this context, make sure you alway cite someone if you are quoting them. This can be done many ways (I talk about it in this post). Just always be sure you’re not passing along someone else’s wisdom, wit, or work as your own.
“Spiritual Creativity is Gods vision and provision, instilled into a man who is willing to listen with self-less ambition.” – @JarridWilson
— Dustin W. Stout (@DustinWStout) May 2, 2011
9. Thou shalt not bear boring witness against thy followers.
We don’t want to know when you’re using the restroom, tying your shoe, or taking out your garbage. Unless of course it’s got some sort of entertainment value. The following video offers a great illustration of the ridiculousness of mundane tweeters.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s followers, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s retweets.
Don’t get jealous because someone’s numbers are higher than yours. A large number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean anything. There are various ways to measure your success via the social sphere, but follower count isn’t one of them. As far as retweets go, if you’re not getting as many as you would like, just write better tweets! One of my favorite writers talks more about it in his post titled “Two Ways To Get People To Retweet You”.
11. Thou shalt follow DustinWStout on Twitter
😉 This one is a bonus, not necessarily a commandment; just a suggestion.
But wait, there’s more! I’ve actually visualized these commandments to be even more awesome and sharable! Check out Visualized: Ten Twitter Commandments!
Is there anything that I left out that you think should be added to the list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.