This is a follow up to my earlier post “Getting started on twitter” in which I explained some basic introductory points concerning twitter.
When it comes to using twitter there are no absolute rules or universally agreed twitterquette(!) but there is a heck of a lot that we can all learn from the experience of those who’ve gone before.
Based on my experience over the last year and inspired by a variety of guides to using twitter for business I’ve collated and tailored a top ten list of Do’s and Don’ts for accountants who use twitter. I hope you find them useful:
- Don’t attempt to use the main twitter website once you’ve registered, added a photo and your bio. The main twitter website is not user friendly and will turn you off very quickly. Download tweetdeck, hootsuite or seismic to your computer and you’ll find it all gets MUCH easier.
- Don’t feel compelled to answer the basic twitter question “What are you doing?” – especially if the answer is something mundane. Better to imagine the invitation is to answer the question: “What is holding your attention right now?”
- Don’t automatically follow everyone who follows you or chase hundreds of followers. If you do this you will attract spammers, marketing ‘gurus’, social media specialists, loners and losers. None of them will be prospective clients or advocates. They probably won’t even read any of your tweets. They will simply follow you in the hope that you’ll follow back and increase their numbers. And that is a mug’s game that many twitter virgins play although it serves no useful purpose.
- Don’t think you need to read everything on your Twitter feed. Think of it as a river. Jump in-stream, participate, and then get out. NEVER worry about what you’ve missed – it doesn’t work that way.
- Don’t assume that all of your followers will see all of your tweets. They only dip in and out – just like you do.
- Don’t set up a standard message to auto-welcome new followers – they won’t click on your links and established twitter users don’t like to get automated ‘thank you for following me’ type messages.
- Despite the fact that you may be using Twitter as a marketing tool, don’t try to solicit business or make sales. It looks spammy, and will NOT secure you new clients. Bottom line: you will generate enquiries only if your followers get to know you and to like you and if they know you’re an accountant and that you like your work.
- Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want to be quoted in the press. Once published all your tweets are there for posterity and you don’t want any of them to come back to haunt you.
- It should go without saying, but don’t tweet anything about a client without explicit permission. Along the same lines, even if it’s good or exciting news about the client, don’t assume that the client has already made it public. Even if it IS public, you may still want to get permission first.
- Don’t expect to ‘get’ twitter straight away. Apparently 60% of people who try to use twitter give up within 3 months. I suspect many accountants will be the same.
- Do be social and interact with your followers and those you follow. Be thought-provoking with some of your tweets and pass on tips and ideas that others may find of interest.
- Do ReTweet (RT) tweets written by other people that you think are worth sharing with your followers. If you want some of your tweets to be ReTweeted, keep them to nearer 110 characters rather than 140 as the RT element of the message will often be 15-25 characters long.
- Do recommend books and articles that you’ve read that may be of interest to your followers.
- Do copy behaviour you find that you like on twitter and avoid replicating behaviour that you dislike. Everyone is different of course but a ‘twitterquette’ is developing and worth following.
- Do tweet links to your own and your favourite blog posts elsewhere so that your followers know what you write about or like. And do ensure that you add a few words at least rather than just posting a link without any description.
- Do use an application like Tweetdeck on your computer to filter topics, create groups, and maximize your time on Twitter.
- Do use an application on your iphone or blackberry to enable you to use twitter in odd moments when you’re away from your desk/office.
- Do remember that your followers may have friends, followers or family who could be looking for a new accountant even if your followers seem unlikely to be in the market themselves. They may ReTweet your messages or simply talk about you if the subject comes up.
- Do respond when people engage you in conversation. If you want to reply publicly use the @ sign at the start of your tweet (eg: @bookmarklee). If you want to reply privately and directly use D before the other person’s user name: (eg: D bookmarklee)
- Do engage the people you follow or who follow you in conversation shortly after you connect. Ask them a question, or enquire about something they’ve tweeted. They’ll be more likely to follow you back.
What do you think? Is this list helpful? Do you agree or disagree or have further tips to share? Please leave a comment with your own ideas and suggestions.
If there is sufficient interest I will post a further item on twitter later in the month. In it I’ll offer some tips and ideas to help you develop your twitter strategy by explaining WHAT accountants can do with twitter and HOW some accountants are benefitting from using twitter. In the mean time if you have any questions by all means post them as comments on this blog.