There are no take-backs on Twitter. No matter how fast you can delete an unfortunate tweet, as we witnessed on The Newsroom last week, someone always finds out. It’s important to familiarize yourself with Twitter best practices, and use those do’s and don’ts to create a company-wide Twitter policy. Below, we’ve got examples of five things you should not, under any circumstance, ever tweet.
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Twitter Don’t: Talk Smack about Competitors
You’re running a business, not running for office. Keep your marketing strategy positive. Your tweets should be filled with high-quality content and good points about your company, not jabs at your competition. People get turned off by constant negative messaging, and it’s really the “empty calories” of marketing, when you think about it. You’re telling people why they shouldn’t choose other companies, but you’re not telling them why they should choose yours. You’re wasting your energy and not helping your brand.
[Tweet “You’re running a business, not running for office. Keep your marketing strategy positive.”]
Twitter Don’t: Share Irrelevant Personal Info
This is a rookie Twitter mistake. In general, no one really cares what you ate for dinner or where you’re going on vacation this summer, but those tweets are especially self-indulgent and boring coming from your company’s Twitter account.
Keep the focus on topics relevant to your business. So, if you’re in the food industry, maybe you could tweet about an excellent meal you had, say during a company outing. If you’re a travel agency or website, perhaps you could work in a tweet about your upcoming trip to a professional conference. But you should put yourself in your followers’ shoes and ask, “Does this tweet give them useful information about my company or industry?” If it doesn’t, don’t publish it.
If you have a need to tweet the details of your own life (and most people do), create a personal account. Just be aware of what account you’re logged in to when you’re tweeting!
Twitter Don’t: Tweet without Reading the News
Being well-informed doesn’t just make you a responsible citizen; it also keeps you from tweeting some seriously offensive and insensitive things.
Take, for instance, the NRA’s tweet in the wake of the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado. The organization had this to say the morning of the shooting:
Taken out of context, the tweet is pretty innocuous. But context is always important. A quick scan of the headlines could have prevented this tweet from ever going out. To avoid the same mistake, make sure to:
- Review tweets before they’re published (don’t publish on the fly).
- Review all scheduled tweets before they’re published. A harmless tweet scheduled for two weeks from now can quickly take on new meaning if no one’s watching the news.
Twitter Don’t: Get into a Twitter Fight
While you definitely want to respond to negative feedback or customer issues, an argument is never the answer. It’s not easy, but you should always be respectful and helpful.
“Arguing on social media creates a negative environment and can leave a bad taste in the mouths of your prospects and customers,” says Social Media Today. “Immediately lashing out and acting on emotion will not only make you look bad, but it’ll make your company look bad as well.”
Twitter Don’t: Lie
Just don’t, okay? Don’t lie about the things your company can and cannot do. No one likes to do business with a dishonest company. Designate someone to vet all tweets for accuracy, so you don’t unintentionally publish something that isn’t true.
“If you are making things up, whether it’s what you can do or what you’ve achieved, someone out there is going to know it and punish you for it,” says Inc. magazine. “The Web is extremely transparent and there are people out there just dying to bring your dirty laundry to light.”