I’ve just spent some time subscribing to a bunch of Twitter social media and community manager types (via twitterpacks.pbwiki.com) My goal in doing this is to learn more about digital community management, and how that relates to the library version of digital communities.
But while doing that, I started noticing some similarities in twitter account pages, and thought I’d share those with you.
Twitter Best Practices:
1. Have a bio. When people see an interesting tweet, they might click through and want to read a bit about you – the first place they’ll look is your Twitter bio. Most bios provide a brief outline of who you are. For example, mine currently says “I write about, talk about, and work in libraries!” (yes, that’s a very boring bio – I should change it). “I write about, talk about, and work around libraries, social media, and digital communities. Also check out my videoblog: http://davidleeking.com/etc” (just changed it 🙂
Even better – include an invitation in your bio. Here are two examples:
- I’m a 35 year -old marketing professional who is learning about new media. Help me learn Twitter please! Follow me and I’ll follow you!
- New followers: please @ me to start or join a conversation.
2. Extra links in your bio. You can add links to pertinent sites and services in your bio. If the URL is long, make sure to shorten it with one of those tinyURL services. Otherwise, the link text will run into the background of the page… and make you look like you look bad.
3. Spell check your bio text. Misspellings look bad. Nuf said.
4. Use a good headshot for your picture/icon: Best practices for the little pic that accompanies your tweets – a headshot of you, smiling. Or maybe you being silly. If possible, show your personality.
Don’t frown – if you don’t look friendly (or you look scary), others might think twice about friending you. And on the web, thinking twice means you’ve lost them.
5. Add a background image. Any image. Silly. Professional. Ugly. The point here is that using the default Twitter background on your account makes you look like a newbie. And that’s bad, especially when it’s so easy to add an image.
Brownie points for using the image like these two tweeters. See what they’ve done? They smartly positioned an image version of a link list that appears in the far left portion of their twitter page. Nice way to share links and promote themselves!
6. Say “Hi” to new followers. When someone follows you, reply back. That’s nice! Here’s one example: “you might be the first librarian I’ve met. Hi!”
Even better – one person direct messaged me with this message: “Welcome New Follower!! How goes it?” Have you tweeted anything that I should know about that I may have missed?” Wow – he’s asking you to introduce yourself in a very direct and helpful (to him) way. Nice.
7. Silly observations:
- Social media and community manager types tend to play guitar in a band and mention it in their profiles…
- they all subscribe to Chris Brogan’s twitter account.
8. Finally, don’t do this: I saw one twitter account (that I didn’t follow) with these characteristics:
- Bio said the person is a “key executive in digital media”
- No picture/icon was included
- No background image was used
- He’s not following anyone
- He has 7 followers
- He’s only written 5 updates
Notice the irony here? This person’s bio and his actual Twitter activity don’t match up. He doesn’t sound like a key executive in “digital media” He needs to take 5 minutes to add a pic, add a background, follow a few usual suspects in his field, and add a couple more tweets. This will make his account look “normal” – and he’ll look more knowledgeable to boot.
Update: after writing a whiz-bang twitter article, I completely forgot to add a link to my own twitter account (twitter.com/davidleeking)! Duh…