Twitter Rules

02/09/13 -- On a "no news" sort of a day I thought I'd proffer a few thoughts on Twitter, finding myself with nothing much else to do this lunchtime. I'm a big fan of Twitter, as many of you will have probably realised. It gives you the opportunity to link and converse with all sorts of people interested in the same subjects as you, many of whom that you'd probably never get the chance to have a dialog with otherwise.

In some ways Twitter reminds me of the relatively early days of the internet. Many people are wary of it, many simply don't understand or "get" it. A bit like the time I told a leading feed compound mill buyer that he could get my market reports/prices online (we are going back somewhere around 17-18 years ago here), to which he replied "I don't do the internet, it's just full of Freddie Starr ate my hamster stories isn't it." I don't end that sentence with a question mark deliberately, as he wasn't asking, he was stating what as far as he was concerned was a known fact.

The point is, in 2013, you just couldn't possibly imagine somebody saying that they can't/won't access your market information because "they don't do the internet" can you? This response was however not that uncommon not that long ago, and now it's an indispensable tool.

Could Twitter be considered likewise not too many years from now? If it is, then don't you think it might be an idea to get on board the train now, before it starts to resemble the Mumbai rush-hour?

Think of Twitter like a marketing flyer. We've all seen good ones and bad ones of those. Approach it the right way and your Twitter profile will stand out from the crowd, and possibly make your competition's Twitter profile look as embarrassing and poorly conceived as Chris Waddle's mullet. Sounds good that doesn't it?

Consider of course that whether it's farmers, traders or the man on the moon that is your target audience, the next generation of men on the moon will have already grown up with and fully embrace social media. They'll expect it.

There's are plenty of do's and don'ts to consider. Some of the pet DON'Ts that I particularly dislike are don't tweet nothing all day and then post a dozen (or sometimes two dozen) in rapid succession. Also don't tweet stuff that was known about days ago, keep it as current as possible. Don't just allocate the job of updating your Twitter account to the office cat either.

Be very wary about using one of the various automated services out there to tweet for you, and don't just use your account as a cheap, numpty-friendly way of updating your website's homepage for Christ's sake. The number of websites where the only thing that has been updated in the  last 12 months is the Twitter feed widget is embarrassing:

Day 20, London wheat closed up 50p.
Day 19, London wheat closed down 50p.
Day 18, London wheat closed up a pound.
Day 17, London wheat closed up 25p.
Day 16, England 4 West Germany 2.
Day 15, London wheat closed down 25p. 

That's really going to have your followers just gagging to know what happens on Day 21 (when you finally get around to tweeting it at noon on Day 22) isn't it? More to the point, IF anyone is reading it what are they going to think about your company? Rearrange the following letters: YOURESHTIYOUARE to find out.

DO instead use Twitter to engage with your customers or potential customers. Interact with others. Post things that are up-to-the-minute and interesting. Send traffic to your website. Highlight promotional deals, discounts, special offers. Enhance your profile.

If you want any help in getting started, or sorting out the embarrassingly poor Twitter account that you've already got, drop me an email. Bear in mind though, that there's no such thing as a free lunch.