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October 21, 2014

13 Tips for Using Twitter in the Enterprise

Barry Graubart is a guru of smart, company use of social tools, in addition to serving as Vice President, Product Strategy & Business Development at Alacra.  He recently participated in an SIIA seminar I led around Law #1: “We’re Becoming Our Own and Each Other’s Editors.”

His thinking impressed the breakfast group and he followed up with 13 suggestions, which we’re sharing more broadly.

Twitter is about sharing. It’s not designed to say “look at me”.

My philosophy is that the best compliment we could get would not be “I follow @abc because they are cool” but rather “I follow @abc because they always share cool things”.

1.       Have something relevant to share

2.       A huge part of Alacra’s value proposition comes from curation – we help our users find business critical information they might otherwise miss; Twitter can be an extension of this – on Twitter, we can provide links to critical information they might otherwise miss.

3.       Twitter brings serendipity: one of the great benefits of Twitter is that it brings the user information they might never have thought to look for. While you don’t want your tweets to be random, they also shouldn’t be completely predictable. One person I follow is @pkedrosky. He tweets largely about financial matters, but will occasionally provide links to information on unusual weather patterns. You don’t want to appear random, but it’s OK if 10% of your tweets are not specific to your business.

4.       Don’t be (too) self-serving. If all you do is tweet links to our own content (or worse, to pages where we are selling our own content), then your followers will quickly drop off as you don’t provide much usable value. Make sure that you RT relevant tweets of others.

5.       Read & respond (where appropriate) promptly to any @ responses that we get.  It’s a conversation, not a broadcast. If someone responds with a useful comment, RT that.

6.       Create an attractive and useful profile page. If you have little info (URL, photo, bio) on your profile page, most people won’t follow you back.

7.       Keep your following-to-followers ratio attractive. Ideally,  you want 2-3x as many followers (or more) as you are following. The reverse makes you look like a spammer.

A few tactical suggestions:

8.       Make sure your tweets are “re-tweetable”. My user name is @graubart. So, to ensure my tweets are re-tweetable (is that a word?), I need to keep them to no more than 126 characters, leaving 14 characters available for RT @graubart:

9.       When you RT, feel free to add your own comment – but make sure it’s clear that it’s your comment, not the author. For example, if I wanted to retweet a tweet by @DickBoveSays “Citigroup is already dead… But Citicorp is not Citigroup and Citicorp is not too big to fail. $C http://bit.ly/3H7AaR” I might add a comment like:

Good point RT @dickbovesays: Citigroup is already dead. But Citicorp is not Citigroup + Citicorp is not 2 big to fail. $C http://bit.ly/3H7AaR

10.   Use hashtags – both to tag your content and also as a short, one-word commentary. For example, if I wanted to RT someone and note that the made some brilliant insights, I could simply put #brilliant before the RT – adding my opinion in only 10 characters.

11.   Tag company-specific posts for StockTwits. Make sure you follow StockTwits (it will follow you back) and use the $ticker tags for any listed company-specific tweets.

12.   Use bit.ly as your shortener and make sure you create a bit.ly account. This will allow you to track click-throughs from your tweets and RTs.

13.   Tweets should come out throughout the day. I’ve seen some publishers (and people) who send a batch of tweets every day at a given time, then are silent until the next day. That’s a dumb approach. First, if your followers are not dipping into the Twitter stream at that time, then they’ll miss them. Also, it makes you appear to be either automated or someone who doesn’t “get” that Twitter is a conversation. If you must post your tweets as a batch use one of the tools that allow you to schedule tweets such as TweetLater.

Follow Barry at his blog: http://www.contentmatters.info/
and on Twitter: Graubart.

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