Although I spend far more time on twitter for others than I do for myself, every now and then I practice what I preach and focus on increasing my own twitter presence. While I was doing this last week, finding interesting people to follow and hoping some of them find me interesting enough to follow back, I came across certain twitter behaviors that I find a little rude and irritating.

I wondered if I might be overreacting, after all I was following a fair few people at once, so I asked my fellow twitterers what they found rude and they came back with the same things that were annoying me and more!

So if you don’t want to annoy your fellow twitterers (and potential clients!) here’s a few don’ts and do’s for you!

1. Don’t set up an Automatic Direct Message saying you are so pleased your new follower has followed you and that you’d love them to read your book/visit your site/buy your product.

Definitely don’t send an auto DM with just a link! Would you click an unknown link??!

2. Don’t send @replies welcoming a list of new followers, this is like swaggering through a party loudly braying that everybody thinks you’re great. We don’t – at least not yet! All we’re doing is giving you a chance!

3. Don’t use a bot to tell the world who has unfollowed you! Would you tell potential customers that other potential customers don’t like you? If you do use a bot to find out who has unfollowed you, please make sure it’s not set to tweet that information through your account!

4. Don’t ReTweet entire conversations that mean nothing to the majority of your followers. I know that this is sometimes done with the best of intentions, to help the person you are conversing with know what you may have been replying to, but these days it is not necessary. It just looks like you are trying to show everyone how popular/witty you are. Relax, they’re following you already!

5. Don’t ignore people who have @ replied to you about something. Don’t worry, most twitterers don’t expect you to be online 24/7 so it doesn’t have to be instant but if it is more than a few days it might be worth apologising for the delay.

6. This last one is a bit controversial, personally in moderation I don’t find this too annoying but prayer requests and posting lots of ‘inspirational’ quotes can irritate your audience. Personally I don’t mind reading quotes sometimes, but people who fill my stream with quote after quote really are just wasting my time.

Enough negativity! Now let’s look at a few do’s!

1. Do engage with people, sometimes twitter can seem like one big party where everyone is already having a great conversation and they don’t need you. Well maybe they don’t, but maybe they do. I have met and done business with many people on twitter and it all started the same way … With a DM or an @reply.

2. Do have a strategy, it doesn’t have to be long-winded or have your tweets planned down to the last topic and time, but do have some idea what you want to achieve by using it and who you want to connect with. I have three questions in my mind and before I follow someone at least one of them has to answer yes. They are; 1. Am I likely to learn something from them. 2. Are they likely to find me / my tweets helpful 3. Do they seem friendly.

3. Do be polite, reply to those that speak to you and whenever appropriate (see above!) follow those that follow you.

4. Do feel free to unfollow people, and if you have time why not let them know why? There are many ways to do this politely and if their stream is really irritating to you it might help them to know why you have chosen to stop reading them.

5. Do ask for help if you need it, the majority of people on twitter are really kind-hearted and knowledgeable and like extending a helping hand.

6. Do have fun! There’s no point doing anything for long if it’s not fun!

I like to thank all the twitterers that helped me write this, and thank you for taking the time to read it! As always I love to hear your feedback so don’t be shy!


About GemLThompson

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)
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