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Learning social media rules

I have been using a lot more social media (specifically twitter) recently as part of my Love Santa project. It because abundantly clear that some people have no idea (or don’t care) about how to effectively use Twitter. Follow TashWord on Twitter

Top most is having an understanding that twitter is for communicating and building relationships – not for blatant ads like old-fashioned media (e.g. a newspaper ad was a one way message). I saw a few businesses tweet their ad at least every couple of hours with no other messages in between. For one business, they had 3 variants of it and ran them in succession once every hour or so during their business hours. I wasn’t their audience anyway but seeing it so often bored and annoyed me, and gave me an uncomfortable feeling about them as a business.

Next is to have one honest profile. It because obvious when 3 supposedly different twitter users repeatedly sent the same tweet straight after each other – a number of times. It came across as trying to trick and con people, plus it seemed they were desperate for business rather than offering quality or showing a genuine interest in people watching their tweets.

The other behaviour that was annoying while I was on twitter a lot (I haven’t really seen it when just keeping up with people I follow on twitter) was an excessive use of hash tags*.

To me it was like reading a blog post or webpage written to show off keywords rather than actually communicate something – boring, annoying and an insult if they think I am impressed by such actions.

Adding # to key words within a message is fine, adding a keyword or two after the message is also fine, but the following wasn’t so fine:

  • adding five or more hashtags after a brief message
  • adding hashtags that were about advertising not the message (e.g. adding #santa after a message about a computer breaking down to get noticed for Christmas or adding #webdesign to a message about dreading a visit to the dentist)
  • making the entire message hashtags with a link

Tweets are like any other content you write – make it about the message and people reading it, not about SEO and getting noticed by more people, as that is what will genuinely get your message heard and distributed.

I can’t say what results those people get from their tweets, but I know I would never retweet or follow them (and I’m sure I’m not alone). I can say that most of the retweeted Love Santa tweets were those based on replying to someone else – in other words, ‘talking’ to people was appreciated and earned greater exposure to other tweeters.

Twitter can be a great marketing tool but it needs to be thought of as a relationship tool with marketing bonuses to have the best impact on your business.

Or maybe you are happy to read tweets with some of the above characteristics? Or have found them effective for viral marketing?

* A hashtag is simply adding # at the start of a word (or group of words without a space in between) that can be used to highlight a topic and make searching for relevant information on twitter easier.

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