Twitter use and abuse will eventually derive an etiquette that people follow.
In the meantime Paul Chaney’s blog (Conversational Media Marketing) has a very good piece on the rules for using Twitter.
I’ve looked at Paul’s rules and summarise them here and include a couple of my own.
Do read Paul’s Twitter etiquette rules as he also explains the whys and wherefores and reasons for the rules.
Rule 1: You Don’t Have A Right To Be Heard
You find people to follow whom you have something in common with. You have conversations with your own followers. In short you get to know people and to help them.
Rule 2: Be Polite
When people follow you, thank them. Get into conversation with them and respond if a question is asked that you can answer.
Rule 3: Don’t Just Pitch
If someone follows you don’t immediately pitch them. In fact, like any social situation wait until you’ve got to know them before doing so. And then only if you’re pretty sure you can help them.
Rule 4: Offer Value To The Community
Provide useful information, such as links and re-tweets and your own fresh content in the form of questions, advice and answers. Become known as the expert you are.
And don’t make every link one to your web site.
Rule 5: Mix it up
Show your personal side in your business. It shouldn’t be all about your business, or even your sector. Mix in some of your own personality.
Rule 6: Keep It Real
It’s tempting to use Tweetlater or another tool to respond to follows automatically and send messages when you’re not at your computer, IPhone or mobile. And it’s something I used to do on one of my Twitter accounts. However, the message it sends is that you’re not concerned about the person who’s following you.
Rule 7: Stay Aware of Twitter Changes
As Twitter changes be aware of it and adjust how you use Twitter accordingly. Check feedback from your followers to make sure they’re getting useful stuff from you. Adjust what you do based on the feedback – if you believe they’re right.