3 March 2014

Twitter Business Rules: Take Heed In 2014

Twitter Business Rules

Twitter Business Rules

A seemingly continuous theme of Twitter is that individuals are often unaware of the potential implications and consequences of their comments, actions and behaviour on the social media platform. The problem is exacerbated when those acting on behalf of a brand, or who have a company name in their profile name, reveal their own thoughts on subjects and discontinue to toe the neutral policy of the brand they represent. Unfortunately for these individuals, writing “views are my own” in their description does not lessen the damage caused to the brand they represent.

It is widely accepted as Twitter etiquette not to post inappropriate content, however there are also a number of unwritten Twitter etiquette rules which users should be aware of before tweeting. Collected beneath are five of these unwritten Twitter Business Rules.

  • Twitter Business Rules – Reconsider tweeting content under the influence:

Social media can be widely accessed regardless of location, thanks to mobile based apps, however there are times when it is better to disconnect. This unwritten rule comes as a result of the PR fiasco which befell the Red Cross in 2012. An intoxicated admin of the handle tweeted, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… When we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.” Luckily the tweet was removed after less than an hour so a PR crisis was averted, however the potential repercussions are clear.

  • Twitter Business Rules –  Confirm that you are logged out of your brand’s handle prior to tweeting:

Prior to tweeting personal information, it is essential to ensure that you have logged out of your brand’s handle. Over the years of Twitter’s activity, numerous Twitter PR backlashes have been blamed on this rookie error. Perhaps the most famous of which was the controversy which surrounded Microsoft and Ann Coulter. The wrongly posted tweet read, “@RBReich your granddaughter’s level of discourse and policy positions > those of Ann Coulter.” Microsoft was highly apologetic about the uncharacteristic political insight it provided.

  • Twitter Business Rules – Be aware of ongoing events and trends:

A poorly timed tweet can spell a PR disaster for a brand, Tesco’s comment about “hitting the hay” at the time of their horse meat burger scandal comes to mind. Unfortunately there is no way to completely avoid the occurrence of this error. However it is well worth keeping up to speed on trending issues, whilst also gaining an understanding of the real underlying story. Paying attention to breaking news and trending topics is an excellent way of avoiding negative miss-associations.

  • Twitter Business Rules – Don’t use your brand profile to tweet personal updates:

This unwritten rule is essentially common sense. Rather than using your brand’s handle to tweet personal updates, use your own handle, or better still voice these opinions on Facebook with the correct privacy settings in place, to avoid unwanted negative backlash. The key to utilising social media commercially is to build and nurture ongoing relationships, not to bombard followers with spam like content which they are likely to be uninterested in. For user’s who are in the public eye it is important that their personal profile pages match the image which is portrayed by their brand page.

  • Twitter Business Rules –  Avoid negativity on Twitter:

Simply put there is no reason to be, or benefit to being, negative on Twitter. Avoid being drawn into critical comments or attacking competitors, it is imperative for a brand’s Twitter profile to remain positive and focused on their strategy. Occasionally a brand may have to respond to a negative comment or complaint from a customer, when dealing with this, remember that Twitter is a public forum, due to this anything tweeted from your brand’s handle can be viewed universally.