Twitter: Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

You’ve heard so much about Twitter and how to tweet, schedule, run tweetchats, etc. You may be running your own account, or managing one for someone else. What best practices still apply? Here are some things I’ve learned over about six years.

Talk to People

I’m tired of saying to engage, so will say it another way: talk to people. Chat with them, thank them, tell them stuff, retweet their pictures, read their articles and blogs, laugh at their jokes. You know–much like you would in real life! As Derek Silvers says in his video there’s A Real Person A Lot Like You on the other side of that computer. Hat tip to bestie Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) for that video.

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment's Lists on Twitter

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment’s Lists on Twitter

Use Lists

Lists are the great underutilized tool of Twitter. Here’s my post about lists for the power user if you’d like to read it. And if you want to see an example of someone who really uses lists, check out Toyota Equipment’s (@ToyotaEquipment) lists. While you’re there, follow them and subscribe to a few lists. You won’t be sorry.

Discover the Discovery Tab

If you click on the Discovery tab, while you’re on Twitter, you’ll see a mix of popular tweets and tweets from those you know and like. It’s an easy way to find content to retweet, see what’s trending among friends, and catch up quickly.

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

Employ Hashtags

A hashtag helps you organize your tweets, find others’ tweets, have a decent tweetchat, and mock your own tweet. It has even evolved into something else, as this fab article from the New York Times, In Praise of the Hashtag, points out.

Retweet with an Image

If you want to be a super resource, tweet someone else’s link, but add an image! This super charges their tweet, and makes both of you look good. Here’s the how-to directly from Twitter. It takes maybe 15 more seconds to do.

Report Spammers

Twitter is a community. Reporting spammers helps everyone. Most spammers don’t last too long on Twitter because they tend to get shut down fairly quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, as Hunter Walk says, if Twitter closed the loop and told us how our efforts stop spammers? Yes, it would be.

Follow People

Don’t be a snob. You don’t know who people know. For instance, there’s a contractor who doesn’t follow me back because I’m not in his neighborhood. Little does he know I live about 10 miles away from him! And I run accounts that would retweet his content and probably also use his services. I tend to follow anyone who looks legit if their content is at all interesting. I don’t follow bots, spammers, porn accounts, or repetitious accounts.

Join Tweetchats!

Want to know who’s real and who talks? Join tweetchats in your area of expertise and interest. For fun, you could even engage in some way outside your usual area. If you’d like to join mine, it’s #DigiBlogChat (Tuesdays at 1 pm PST). Here’s my post about how to participate in tweetchats.

Twitter isn't all glitter and unicorns

Twitter isn’t all glitter and unicorns

Believe in the Power

Twitter isn’t all unicorns and fairy dust and glitter. But you can meet real people. You can discover your own deeper interests, keep up on the news, enter contests (if that’s your thing), or even donate a kidney, as my buddy Amy Donohue (@TheFabSocial) did. (Her tweetchat on live organ donation is #KidneyChat Mondays at 7 pm pst, by the way).

What’s Your Favorite Best Practice?

Did I forget one? Probably. What’s yours?


Four Ways to Identify Spammers on Twitter

You may be new to Twitter, or you may have been around for awhile. Spammers have been around for awhile, too, and are getting more clever all the time. Here are some ways to identify people who don’t have the best intentions.

The Person Does Not Know You, Yet Acts Like They Do

A potential spammer may call you out by name in a familiar way and ask you to do something, like click on a link, visit a website, or vote for them in a contest. Never click on links if you don’t know where those links go. If you think a message came from someone you know who doesn’t know what they’re doing, or your friend who has been hacked, you could write back “Have we met?” or “Have you been hacked?” Start with a Direct Message, then send a public message after that (many people don’t check their DMs). If you don’t get an answer back, that’s an answer right there!

You Receive Direct Message Phishing Tweets

Phishing tweets are often Direct Messages (DMs) which sound like this: “I can’t believe this is you!” and then a shortened link. Or “What are you doing in this video?” If it sounds like high school “drama” or something your friend (who may have been hacked) would never say, don’t click on it! Tell your friend to change their password—which may or may not stop the unwanted DMs from appearing.

Bad Typos, Incomplete Sentences, Too Many Followers

If someone follows you and their tweets are filled with bad spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences, that can be an indication of a spammer. Or if their tweets are just filled with @this and @that, at the very least that will be annoying after about 2 minutes. And if they only have 3 tweets, but 100,000 followers, that can definitely be an indication that they bought followers.

Porn or “Adult” Material

Just as with a Twitter account with bad spelling mistakes, an account with a naked person or pornographic image as an avatar is likely to be a spammer. My own opinion is just not to follow back. Unless they actively reach out to me, I ignore them. Just like anyone else, if they sell something I’m not interested in, I simply won’t follow them.

Other Annoying Behavior

Someone may not exactly be Spam, but they may be annoying! For example, they may be plagiarizing your tweets or stealing from you in some other way. There are zombies and ghouls around on Twitter, even when it’s not Halloween!

What isn’t Spam?

If someone advertises their services on Twitter and you don’t like those services, that isn’t Spam. Just unfollow that person. There is no need to block or report them as Spam. Sometimes newbies report as Spam people who are not spammers.

Ways to Block Spam

Follow @Spam on Twitter and report Spam to them.

Go to the Spammer’s profile page and report them as Spam. You do not need to follow them to report an account as Spam.

Slam the door on Spam includes ideas on how to report Spam (NY Times blogpost).

Want to know how Twitter is working behind the scenes to fix Spam? Sure you do!

Do you think Spam is getting worse on Twitter? Why or why not? Please comment!

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