It'd be great if there were hard and fast rules for every business about the exact right style and content for Twitter. Now, of course, there are certainly some valuable general guidelines. But the needs of your audience and what they like to click-through or re-tweet can vary tremendously.
What if you created a personalized Twitter 'style guide' unique to your business? This can be an especially valuable resource if you have multiple people with access and permission to tweet for your company. But even if just one person holds the tweeting rights for your company, devising a style guide can be a valuable exercise for creating the right Twitter persona for your business.
If you are putting together a 'style guide' what topics should be covered? Here are some suggestions for broad areas to cover.
How often should you tweet?
Here is an example, picked at random. If you are, say, a roofing company should you tweet as much as a marketing consultant? Generally speaking, it can be assumed that followers demand for roofing related tweets will be less than tweets on how to be a better marketer. This doesn't mean that every tweet from a roofing company has to be a tip about roofing or the latest special offer (see 'content' section below).
The overall point is to create a target number of tweets that makes sense for your business and then be accountable to it.
Content - Should you tell everyone how much butter you just put on your toast?
The answer to that is 'no' (unless you're a big-time celebrity - they seem to get away with tweeting anything, no matter how trivial). But there are serious considerations here. Where should your business draw the line between some fun and personalizing engagement versus pointless irrelevance? A written out guide that defines what types of posts are truly interesting and what crosses the line into boring is important. Use concrete examples to reinforce the distinction.
And speaking of crossing the line...
Every Twitter style guide needs to have a "sensitivity" section - also known as the "look before you Tweet" rules. This could be a list of questions to ask before sending out a Tweet for all the world to see. Some examples:
- If it is a humorous tweet, who is the 'joke' on?
- Is a comment on politics always off limits (for many, but not all, businesses the answer is 'yes')?
- Is the subject of the Tweet a subject that might hold deep emotional connections for some followers? If so, how will they interpret it?
Have an industry-specific section
Here's hoping you already follow others in your industry to see what they are doing. Now take that a step further and add examples to your style guide of what draws the heaviest replies and re-tweets of businesses similar to yours. Without resorting to flat-out copying, use these tweets (and your own best tweets) as examples of the best styles. Certain patterns and templates will emerge and you can further refine this section.
What's missing here? What else should businesses consider when creating a personalized Twitter style guide? Leave a comment and tell us.
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