How to be charming on Twitter

Goodness knows I need these reminders. No one is perfect and I certainly slip more times than I care to admit. Consider these to be a general guide.

I use Twitter for work and to promote my website. Since I blog about silent movies (a fairly obscure subject), getting the word out is especially important for my site traffic. These suggestions are based on mistakes I have made, things that have annoyed me and problems I have seen crop up. On the positive side, there are also tips that have helped to network and (hopefully) amuse people.

Say please and thank you

Remember everything they taught you in kindergarten and you will be fine! Thank people for follows, retweets, #FF (Follow Friday) mentions, etc.

But don’t overdo it!

If you have a fan who often retweets you, it may be a bit creepy to thank them every single time. Use discretion. Perhaps a blanket “thanks for all your support” on occasion would be best.

Don’t be a know-it-all

(explosm.net)

Ok, so you’re on Twitter, you’re excited and then, joy of joys, you find someone tweeting about your very subject of interest. Oh frabjous day! But then you notice that they got an itty bitty detail wrong.

Do you:

a) Immediately correct their foolish error. Ha! You win the internet!

b) Let it slide since it really doesn’t have much to do with the conversation

Look, I’m not saying that you have to ignore glaring errors. But if the conversation is going well, is it really worth it to derail everything by pointing out that the Treaty of Whatsit was signed in June of 1765 rather than May? Good rule of thumb: If you would let it slide in real life, let it slide on Twitter.

(Of course, if the entire conversation is based on the treaty being signed in June vs. May, have at it!)

Samples:

No!

Miss Take: I went to Florida to see my grandparents. I wanted the kids to know them before they passed on. JJ was so excited to see a crocodile!

Mr. Know-it-all: Actually, Florida has alligators. Specifically Alligator Mississippiensis of the family Alligatoridae.

Ok!

Miss Take: Why do they say Florida Gators when they have crocodiles there?

Mr. Know-it-all: Actually, Florida has alligators. Specifically Alligator Mississippiensis of the family Alligatoridae.

See the difference?

Another rule of thumb. Think about what you are typing. If you read it aloud and you sound like Malvin in War Games, consider rephrasing.

If someone know-it-alls you

Smile (digitally) and thank them for their information. They may be a newbie, didn’t think before tweeting or some other issue. That being said, if someone is continually boorish and causes you stress, unfollow them or block them as soon as possible.

DM’s can annoy people

Direct Messages (DM) are a great way to quietly mention something or ask a question. However, if you use this function to solicit site traffic or to try to sell items, you are becoming a telemarketer. DM’s are best reserved for real interactions.

I know some people even request no DM’s in their Twitter profile. I personally do not have a problem with the messages as long as they are from someone who really wants to communicate or ask a question and not just push a product or website. However, I respect the wishes of the users who prefer not to be contacted this way.

Your automated services can annoy people

Be careful with that infernal machine! (allposters.com)

There are a few services that can be good if used properly. And then there are services that annoy most everyone.

HootSuite helps you monitor your social media and it can automatically tweet for you. This can be very useful as it keeps your account active. However, you must be careful not to be spammy and always be sure to check your @ messages to see if anyone has answered you. Also, please mix it up. Some folks on Twitter use HootSuite to send the same 10 messages over and over and over again.

TrueTwit. Oh how I hate TrueTwit. It’s a validation service that checks to see if new followers are spammers. The problem is that you can usually tell that by checking to see if they tweet about diet pills or get rich quick schemes. TrueTwit sends a DM to new followers asking them to confirm their humanity. (Premium users do not have to send DM’s.)

Here is a reenactment of what goes through my head when someone uses TrueTwit:

Me: Ooo, a Twitter account about silent movies! Hurrah! I shall follow!

DM: The Account uses TrueTwit Validation Service. Please click here to validate.

Me: What? But I just want to read tweets about silent movies… (clicks) A Captcha!?!?! What foul deed is this? (closes window, forgets about following the account)

Please, please, please do not use this. Follow me or not as you choose but don’t assume I am a spammer without reading a single tweet. 

I know spam followers are annoying. But if you have them, only you are annoyed. If you use TrueTwit, you will manage to annoy EVERYONE who wants to follow you.

JustUnfollow is another service that I use. It lets you see who has followed or unfollowed you on Twitter. This is incredibly useful for obvious reasons. However, it also allows you to send automated DM’s to folks and these can easily become annoying.

Also, I am not a huge fan of automatically tweeting one’s following and unfollowing activity. I dare say that no one cares that I gained 4 new followers and lost 2. Fortunately, both the DM and the tweeting of stats are opt-in propositions.

Remember to be human

If you have a blog or a business, it is easy to fall into the “read this!” “new product!” rut. Remember, though, that Twitter is social media. Answer questions, retweet (but don’t overdo it), and generally act like a human and not a robot.

Take part in the fun!

Weekly events like Follow Friday, Mention Monday or Writer Wednesday are great ways to network. Basically, you tweet the handles of folks you think others should follow.

Okay, I have to make a confession. The first time I saw my Twitter handle attached to #FF, I wondered if I was being insulted.

Never done it before? Here’s what to do:

Choose who you want to mention. Everyone has a different method. Some do #FF for new followers, some have a set list of folks they tweet about every week. Me? I like to mention folks who have mentioned me, retweeted me or left interesting feedback on my site.

Make your tweet. Start with the hashtag FF, followed by the Twitter handles of your selections. It helps to add a short intro phrase since this makes your tweet more interesting.

Sample:

#FF Great food bloggers! @example1 @example2 @example3

or

#FF Good people to know –> @example1 @example2 @example3

If someone gives you a mention in this way:

Thank them! And also consider retweeting their mention.

Do you have to do this every week? If you want to but it’s not required. It’s just a fun way to network and give a shout-out to deserving users.

7 Replies to “How to be charming on Twitter”

  1. Hi Fritzi! I’m going to do this in the most charming way I can. 😉 I’ve given you the One Lovely Blog Award because your blog is a delight to my eyes and an inspiration to my spirit. You have made me interested in silent films with your wit and style. I love your gifs! I hope you will consider this a big thank you and pay it forward to someone who delights you. If you aren’t into this sort of thing, then just know that someone out here admires your work.

    http://synkroniciti.com/2013/07/08/the-very-inspiring-blogger-and-one-lovely-blog-awards/

    Yours,
    kat at synkroniciti

  2. I’ve always noticed and appreciated your Twitter etiquette 🙂 I agree with all of your suggestions…now I just need to start using twitter more often!

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