Using Twitter is a great way to reach out to your public and keep people current on business-related activities. However, any company using Twitter should consider drawing up a policy and enacting guidelines to make sure a positive image is always cast and its good name is protected. Here are five Twitter policies you should implement before posting real-time updates.
- Deciding Who Should Tweet
It’s extremely important to know that you have your best people reporting information to the public. Just like a good PR manager, it’s imperative that the person or group doing the Tweeting have the following qualities.
Good written and verbal communication skills: Although Internet culture has taken on a decidedly dressed-down approach to communication, it’s not OK to make your company look like a sixth grader is behind the keyboard. Remember that the person Tweeting is representing your company’s brand and products. You may even want to write out a list of which terms are acceptable and which ones aren’t.
Not vague or contradictive: There’s nothing worse than getting an update that is misleading or constantly goes back and forth. Moreover, it’s never good to have updates that contradict each other — this often happens when projects are just beginning or the matter at hand hasn’t been signed off by upper management. Before posting, make sure all points have been covered and decisions are final. This will make people following your company a whole lot more interested and ready to return for more.
Can explain things in a clear and concise matter: It’s important to have a person in charge who can relay information, whether it be technical or detailed, in an easily understandable and coherent manner. Sometimes it’s easy to think that everyone following your business is in the same field of work or knows what happened yesterday. Someone with the ability to summarize and speak in simple terms is the person you want posting your messages — especially given the 140-character limit.
Has the proper background and credentials: It’s a good idea to assign one person to this task to avoid inconsistent postings and to allow them to get familiar with these guidelines. It’s even better if they have a PR background and know all the aspects of your company in order to represent it to the fullest.
- What Are They Allowed To Tweet?
After deciding who should do the updating, the next step is to set the ground rules of what the person in charge is allowed to Tweet. The following should help you decide what is and isn’t OK to post.
Sensitive company information: This may seem obvious, but as we’ve all witnessed over the years, things tend to leak prematurely from time to time. To avoid incidents like this, any person Tweeting should treat every post as if it were a press release and stick to embargo date for the information.
Avoid slander: It’s important that your company strictly enforces and condones any talk about fellow employees and direct attacks on other brands or companies. These messages can be considered libel and they may come back to haunt you.
- How Often Your Company Should Tweet
There are good updates and then there are mostly too many. Make sure you don’t overload your audience with random, meaningless updates. A good way to avoid such posts is to stick to relevant and interesting news that parallels the reasons why people are following your company in the first place. If a post has little to do with your business, your followers will have little to do with it.
- Who To Follow
Following others is one of the best ways to build your network on Twitter. But knowing whom to follow can sometimes be tricky; it’s a good rule of thumb to always learn as much as you can before accepting your public. The person in charge doesn’t have to perform a complete background check, but they can visit the page of the person or see what comments this person has left for others before following. This is a great way to avoid spammers and malicious activities.
- Expanding Your Policy
Remember, these rules can be applied to nearly any real-time social networking site. Whether one person is Tweeting or a group, call a brainstorm meeting and focus on what everyone thinks is relevant and should be applied. By keeping your employees in the loop and drafting ideas that are specifically tailored to the type of business you’re in, there will be fewer errors and better updating all around. Revisiting the policy periodically will also ensure that your practices keep current with evolving technology.