Here’s a quick look at the tech industry’s most obnoxious Twitter users:
- The Hardcore Developer
- The Know-It-All Developer
- The Eventaholic
- And more!
Bottom line: Don’t be that guy.
Check these out:
Some social niceties are clear-cut rules, like “Don’t spit in public” (or the high-falutin’ version, “Don’t expectorate in front of the ladies if you expect to rate with the ladies”). Others are general guidelines, in which you should use your own judgment. This one is in the latter category.
In general, don’t thank people for Retweeting you. If you are particularly grateful, and you think it will make the recipient feel all warm and fuzzy to get a private note of appreciation, send the person a simple DM (“Thanks for RTing my link to the article about birds in Belize!”).
Some people do send these thank-yous publicly; however, they usually do it in a single Tweet thanking several people at once:
Some people are entrepreneurial by nature. They love to schmooze, they know how to make deals, and one-on-one networking comes easily to them. Whether they work for themselves or operate a business of 100 employees, for these people, promoting their companies is as natural as breathing.
For many small businesses, though, especially startups, it’s quite the opposite. The entrepreneur went into business for himself because he loves to write software, or he is passionate about making pottery. Marketing and PR are immodest or awkward, accounting is confusing, and any time spent on activities that don’t involve programming or clay is just, well, wrong.
Even if they’re perfectly willing to do marketing, many solo shops and small businesses aren’t very good at self-promotion. These same people can speak passionately about their area of expertise (in fact, it’s hard to get them to shut up), but marketing? They go silent. They have no idea what to say in order to sell their products and services, so they resort to “Buy my stuff!” or “Look at our great deals!”
The Twitter community is very much like a cocktail party. If you’re new in town, it’s important to meet people and to make a good impression. The same social rules apply:
Want to be the life of the party and make new friends? Be the person who listens, communicates, and discusses topics of choice by the group, not just you.
Unsurprisingly, large organizations have quite a few advantages when it comes to marketing – not the least of which is a marketing department and money to fund it. However, small organizations can and do achieve wonderful things with Twitter simply because Twitter is open to everyone. You are limited only by your personal skill.
If you have been in business or worked for an organization for any length of time, you already know how important it is to get along with people. In person, you have learned to dress like your peers (and when not to), to perfect your handshake, to make idle chit-chat before a conference call or meeting starts.
Twitter society has similar conventions for what is “done” and “not done.” Here are some of the unspoken rules, especially as they apply to organizations.
It seems like such an arbitrary limitation: all you can write is 140 characters! But that’s actually a sentence or two, and you already say useful things that would consist of 140 characters all the time. Really, you do.
What Twitter does is teaches you brevity, and to get to the point. I don’t promise that this skill comes easily (and note that this advice is offered by two people who were willing to write 100,000 words), but it does come with practice.
Twitter can help an established brand underscore the ideals it believes in (and uses to its marketing advantage). Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s noticed that millions of Tweets contained unused character space, so they created a campaign that promoted fair trade (using the hashtag #FairTweets). They easily could have stopped there and used #FairTweets to encourage a grass-roots movement toward Fair Trade (the organized social movement and market-based approach that works to improve life for producers in developing countries). That might have been enough.
However, Ben & Jerry’s took their effort a step further, beyond Twitter. The company created a micro-site.