Using Twitter as a means of connecting with your consumer base is one of its most useful functions for business owners. Keeping up with @ replies and direct messages essentially enables you to engage in a real-time conversation with customers by being able to quickly answer their questions and respond to feedback. But just like in-person networking and interactions, there are dos and don’ts when communicating via Twitter. Keeping these in mind can ensure that your followers are finding your tweets friendly, interesting and relevant – rather than pointless or even annoying.

  • Keep spam out of their feeds: Whether in email or snail mail, no one likes spam (except maybe in food form). Constantly sending out multiple tweets or direct messages with the same information about your services may be considered spam and lead to people blocking or un-following your account. While you’ll certainly want to send out tweets that publicize your latest blog or announce a special promotion, be sure to mix them in with a variety of other messages, rather than taking the risk of losing followers. Similarly, try not to be too excessive with your tweets in general. Doing so clutters up people’s news feeds, which can quickly lead to an un-follow if they get tired of your updates.
  • Maintain a conversation: While it can be difficult once you start gaining a mighty follower base, try to check and respond to @ replies and direct messages as much as possible. Responding to @ replies not only lets you build relationships with customers, but it also allows others to chime in on the discussion since the replies appear publicly on your profile page. At the same time, be sure to stick to direct messages any time personal information is involved.
  • Let your walls down: Twitter is a social network, so use it accordingly. With transparency more valuable to consumers these days, it’s important to come across as friendly, personal and accessible with your tweets. Rather than using Twitter strictly to advertise your services, throw in tweets that give a glimpse of what things are like in the office, for example. Tweet about engaging or relatable topics that will entice people to respond. Also, make sure your profile information is filled out to help new contacts know exactly who you are and what you offer. There is a line between openness and over-sharing, though. As with any other social network, be careful what you put on your profile, since anyone can see it as long as it’s public. And of course, save personal complaints or gripes for your private account.
  • Return the favor: At least while you’re still growing your Twitter network, it’s a good idea to follow people out of courtesy when they follow you. But later on, it’s best to be more selective and focus on following people who are more closely related with your industry. It will be more beneficial for your business to follow tweets from relevant contacts, rather than having to sort through a wave of unrelated information.

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