Show Some Business Tweetiquette! have only been on Twitter for few days and, oh boy, it has been a great experience. However, it would have been a SUPERB experience if it wasn’t for all the glitches I’ve noticed from professional business tweeters. PEOPLE, you need to have tweetiquette -Twitter Etiquette, in all fairness, I thought of this term before I googled it to see if it already exists. Oh well, I’m not the only person trying to be original out there-.
Just from observing businesses behavior on Twitter for the past few days, I have jotted down some punctilios -a new word I learnt today- that you, as a business promoter, need to follow if you want to gather and keep happy followers:

Punctilio #1 Mix business with pleasure, that’s today’s “must-do”:
We all know that you are mainly on Twitter so you can promote your business or blog or whatever it is you are so proud of (and yes we are proud of you too, mostly!) but before you want to add some professional value, you need to add some social value. Remember it’s a “social” network first, not a “business” network. Don’t make all your tweets about headlines and news from your business/blog, sure include some, but remember to also share some fun tweets, or some useful tweets that aren’t related to what you’re promoting. Tweet to show the human side of your business, not the robotic news-feeding side (That’s what RSS feeds and Ad spaces are for!).

Punctilio #2 Drop the direct auto-messages:
It was exciting for me to get direct messages to my inbox after having only been there shortly, thinking I raised some people’s interest. Then I found out that all the direct messages I’ve been getting were just automated, and impersonal like “Thanks for following, we look forward to reading your tweets (Really? Are you? What’s the last thing I tweeted about then?!). Visit this site/blog etc.”. First of all, if you feel the need to send an automated message to your followers then can you please make it a bit more personal! Like add the follower’s name saying “Hey there Manal…”, now that would make me feel special believing you took the time to read my name and know who you are addressing and would encourage me more to visit a link you give me. Sure it might be hard work to do that with every follower you get, so only choose some per day, and if you’re not willing to do the work then lay off the messages. One other thing, I think it would be more appropriate to send your links on a second direct message rather than the first. How would you feel if someone asked you to do something for him/her on the first day you meet!

Punctilio #3 Put some “soul” in your retweets:
You might want to save yourself some trouble or spice up your feed by retweeting tweets that would interest your followers, or by tweeting links of something you read, but please don’t just tweet a dry formal headline. How about you include your comment on the retweet first! Something that makes it apparent that there is a social human being out there with opinions and thoughts and love for sharing… Don’t be afraid to show some humor or wittiness (or emoticons =D) in your comments when appropriate. I have more fun reading posts/tweets/comments that show the reader’s sense of humor/cynicism/emotionality and that motivates me to retweet them myself.

Punctilio #4 Don’t repeat your tweets:
I know that it could be hard to find great content or insight to tweet every few minutes, so you might feel the urge to retweet some of your previous tweets again, but try to resist that! I’m sure it is interesting enough to repeat, but there are followers (and they are many) who are always up-to-date with the latest tweets and make sure to read them all. It would look bad when they go through the really long feed only to see that your repeated tweets are filling it up! I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s best to repeat your tweets for the new followers who are increasing by the minute, but some of those would go through your tweets history and might notice the repetition. If you feel that the content is so important that you need to increase awareness to it by repeating it, then choose a long time interval, like repeat the tweets every 24 hours, not every hour!

Those are some of the punctilios that I have for now, and I’m sure other enthusiastic followers have more as well (if you are one then please add yours in your comment). And remember, failing to abide by tweetiquette would risk you losing followers. In fact, I’m going on Twitter right after publishing this post to unfollow some of you =).

Happy Socializing!