Monday, July 13, 2009

20 TIPS FOR USING TWITTER EFFECTIVELY

If you are active on Twitter and/or FriendFeed and/or FaceBook, I have adapted 20 twittering tips that originally appeared June 19th on the MediaShift website.

1) Think before you tweet -- you can't delete an indiscreet tweet! (Well, you can, but it will survive in Twitter search for three months and in the meantime someone like Maureen Dowd or a website like Gawker could copy it.)

2) Think carefully about what you're re-tweeting and acknowledge if it's unsubstantiated. (Example: "TMZ reports Michael Jackson is dead.") That way, if the info is wrong, YOU are still "right" with the world!

3) Tweet regularly if you want your followers to stick.

4) Determine your Twitter identity. Create a signature look that runs through your online presence. think colours, styles, topics.

5) Be YOURSELF: human; be honest; be open; be active.

6) NEVER "lock" your account unless you really believe you're special, or if it strictly for clandestine communication within a small group (or if you're the Governor excahnging tweets with your girlfriend in another country).

7) Twitter is a community, not just a one-way conversation or broadcast channel -- actively engage. If someone tweets a message your way, RESPOND!

8) Check whether your employer has a social media policy. Some don't care as long as you're not bad-mouthing the company.

9) Be cautious when tweeting about your employer/workplace/colleagues. (see #8)

10) Be a judicious follower -- don't be stingy but avoid following everyone as your list grows to avoid tweet bombardment. Don't worry about losing random followers. A lot of people who start following others are "samplers." They're looking for something, and if you don't have it, they'll move on. No need to follow them back.
11) If you quote a tweet, attribute it. ALWAYS. Period!

12) If you are in sales or if you are a reporter working on a story, expect your competitors to steal your leads if you tweet about them.

13) NEVER tweet while angry or drunk. You'll be sorry! (see #1)

14) Avoid racist, sexist, bigoted and otherwise offensive tweets and never abuse a follower. (#1 again!)

15) Scrutinize crowdsourced stories closely. VERY closely!

16) Find good people to follow, people whose tweets match your field or brand or needs. Foster followers by pilfering the lists of other twits.

17) Twitter is a 'time vampire' (via @anne_brand) -- you don't need to keep track of all tweets, so dip in and out through the day.

18) Prevent information overload by using an application such as Tweetdeck.

19) Add apps to your mobile phone to allow live-tweeting on the go.

20) ALWAYS Add value to your tweets with links, when appropriate... but not too many links or twitter will suspend you. You may also look into Twitpic and other applications for audio and video, but most twitterers I know don't have time to field media-laden tweets. A URL is enough.
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