Managing multiple clients who all have eccentric personalities can make twitter a scary place for PR professionals. While the micro-blogging site is a great way to build brand equity and engage with your audience, constant communication without a filter can be dangerous.
One erroneous tweet can turn into an endless avalanche of bad press. So before you decide to unleash your client into the Twitter-verse, give them a few basic guidelines to follow.
1. Thou shalt use spellcheck and proper English
A 140-character limit should not keep you from speaking in coherent sentences. It’s a tweet, not a text message. Every tweet is a reflection of your brand, and you don’t want your audience to think you didn’t pass kindergarten.
2. Thou shalt be modest
Your Twitter feed should consist of more than press releases and company news. Share information and start conversations that are relevant to your brand. Talk about others more than you talk about yourself.
3. Thou shalt not tweet TMI
You want your Twitter followers to feel a personal connection, but they don’t need to know your personal business. Your conversations should be friendly, but keep it professional.
4. Thou shalt not wear out your welcome (aka Spam)
Just because Twitter is available 24/7 doesn’t mean you need to tweet every second of the day. Don’t flood your followers’ timelines with retweets, responses, etc.
5. Thou shalt be timely and responsive
If a follower takes the time to send you a message, reply to them as soon as you can (especially if your primarily function on the social network is in customer service). If you wait too long, they might lose interest or feel slighted.
6. Thou shalt engage with your followers
Some brands have found success with one-way broadcast systems. But the best way to build goodwill with followers is to engage with them. If someone gives you a favorable mention, thank him or her. Users love to receive attention from their favorite brands. Be cautious about responding to negative comments, these situations can easily backfire. Contact your publicist immediately if an interaction gets tense.
7. Thou shalt not tweet when angry
Twitter is not your therapist. Twitter does not care about your feelings. This is a channel for professional use. Leave personal issues offline. Tweeting out of emotion will only open the door for those tweets to be used against you later.
8. Thou shalt not tweet and delete
Don’t think you can tweet something and delete it later when you have regrets. Screen shots exist, and they will come back to haunt you.
9. Thou shalt add value.
“I just ate a sandwich” tweets should be saved for a personal account, though it is doubtful whether they would be welcome there either. Providing your followers with information they can use will build loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
10. Thou shalt tweet like your publicist is watching
If you have any doubts about a tweet, always ask yourself “What would my publicist do?” If you’ve had to think this far, you probably should not send the tweet. Back away from the computer and/or put your smartphone down immediately.
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