No introduction. Right to the point (like a good tweet) :

1. Listen & Interact.

Don’t use twitter just to broadcast. It is a 2-way communication platform. Read others’ tweets and respond (quickly) by @replying or RTweeting. Don’t overdo it though. It’s not a chatroom.

2. Don’t just RTweet. Add your comment.

That’s obvious. Even if it’s just one or two words, your followers want to read your comment on a tweet. It adds value and it shows that you spent more than 2 seconds to retweet it.

3. Contribute more in the beginning.

If you just started tweeting, you should be patient. Things will go slow. Contribute and interact actively to grab attention. Make useful comments until you catch some eyeballs. From then on, your follow counter will go up.

4. Do not spam with same tweet.

You do not want to look like one of these people that tweet every hour about how they increased their followers from 10 to 10,000 in 2 days. If, for some reason you want to repeat a tweet, alter it and post it at the most 4 times. Sometimes, repeating a tweet makes sense. You cover different time zones and reach the maximum of your followers.

5. Be selective of who you follow.

Just because someone decided to follow you that doesn’t mean you have to follow him/her/it(!) back. Take a look at their bio, their link, their recent tweets and their followers/friends ratio. If something is wrong about these, just skip them. It is not rude. It is a normal human behavior.

6. Don’t use your twitter account to just sell.

It is ok if you want to promote your products or services through your twitter account. But if you tweet only about how great they are, you will look spammy and lose your followers. Try to tweet about news and tips that are related to your industry. Interact and add value to the conversation. People will then trust you more when you promote your products.

7. Keep your background image simple.

Just because twitter allows you to upload your own background image, it doesn’t mean you can use it to write your life story. I would say your logo, 5 words for what you do and some contact details are enough. And keep it aesthetically simple but attractive. I believe that the background image can tell the nature of the user behind it. If it is aggressive with flashy colors, expect a tweet storm.

Update: 06/18/2009

8. Don’t send automatic Direct Messages to your new followers.

It is better if you don’t send a DM at all than sending out an automated one. By setting up your account to auto-send DMs when your are being followed, you immediately fall into the “lame” twitter user category. Users associate you with excessive twitter usage and spammy intentions.

9. Thank people.

If someone RTweeted your tweet and also commented on it if it is about your new blog post, then it is a good idea to @reply and thank him/her. Also in occasions like #followfriday, saying thank you is always a good gesture since you enforce your social media relationships.

10. Any rules I missed? Post them below — and thanks!

Manolis Kounelakis manages the Social Media Marketing portfolio for Eyeflow.
Interested to see how Social Media can help your business grow? Let us show you.

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3 Comments » for 7 Unwritten Rules of Twitter
  1. Various32 and Snorch: Did you say similar things about blogs? Just curious?

  2. Hassan says:

    This is kind of wrong. The number one rule of twitter is to follow back. It’s considered rude if you don’t.

    • admin says:

      Interesting opinion. I definitely agree that you should follow back if you think the person or brand is going to provide you with tweets you’ll find valuable. The problem is some people follow you either just in hopes you follow back so they can increase their followers or they are trying to sell you something.