Twitter Etiquette: The Balance Between Organic & Annoying

By on October 27, 2015
twitter_etiquette

Nothing’s worse for the average end user than trying to interpret a tweet #that #overuses #or #misuses #hashtags, or trying to make sense out of a company’s ill-timed and/or insensitive tweet. Even when using social media, companies need to remember that it’s humans that patronize them, and it pays more to be human rather than robotic.

About Hashtags

In practice, hashtags are useful in finding others who are discussing the same topic, but there have also been ill-timed, insensitive and hilarious repercussions that come with hashtag abuse. Organizations of all shapes and sizes have either gotten it right, or horrendously wrong.

Organizations that have failed to understand the power of the hashtag tended to:
• Overuse hashtags in an attempt to reach a wider audience
• “Hijack” popular, yet irrelevant, hashtags
• Not adequately research unintended, and sometimes inappropriate, second meanings (#CowboysUK, #RIMjobs, etc.)

Before embarking on any sort of Twitter campaign, be sure that everyone with access to the organization’s official account is onboard with the overall purpose of said organization, while keeping in mind these finer points of Twitter etiquette.

Use Trending Hashtags Responsibly

The point of creating a hashtag in the first place is to create a clear, super-specific search term that would enable other users to find each other more easily and thus, perpetuate the exchange of information between them. Not using this power responsibly would be akin to searching for vanilla ice cream and getting results back for used tire outlets.

One sad, glaring example of hashtag misuse is when DiGiorno Pizza attempted to “hijack” the then-popular hashtag #WhyIStayed in 2014. Unfortunately for them, the hashtag was created by women in abusive relationships to share their horrific experiences, which made their “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” tweet seem not only out of place, but also highly insensitive.

Though Digiorno Pizza personally apologized to hundreds of incensed users, the damage was done. Stick with hashtags that are relevant to your organization for best results.

How Many Hashtags are “Too Many”?

There’s debate on this topic from both extremes, but one thing is true: too many hashtags do nothing but annoy your followers. One major perk of using a hashtag within a tweet is that it drives engagement by up to two times more than those that don’t contain any. Conversely, recent research also shows that tweets using more than two hashtags actually drops engagement by 17%.

There’s even research that suggests that advertorial tweets that contain no hashtags or mentions (@) generate up to 23% more clicks. The reason behind this is that there’s less places to click within a tweet, thus making the call-to-action more prominent.

Instead of trying to figure out how many hashtags are too many, try to figure out if:

  1. The hashtag(s) you want to use are relevant?
  2. Could their use potentially distract from an important call-to-action?

Be Real, Not Robotic

One big mistake that an organization can make is to appear robotic in their Twitter delivery. Accounts that suffer from this appear to be very mechanical or disconnected, making it really hard for them to gain a loyal customer base. However, the ones that are able to create conversions from online referrals in droves tend to be real in all of their online interactions.

Their actions can include:

  1. Accommodation of tweets to your followers’ respective time zones
  2. Being personable
  3. Not buying followers
  4. Responding to complaints in real-time
  5. Knowing the competition and market well

By having a dynamic and lively online presence, some businesses were able to see new client and business leads of up to 80%, simply by being real.

Be Adaptable

Recently, Twitter has introduced a new feature: video. Currently, the feature has three ways that you can share videos:

  1. Record
  2. Import
  3. Upload

Before Twitter enacted this feature, other social platforms such as Instagram and Vine had already been employing it. Short form videos are four times more likely to be shared across multiple platforms, which gives marketers a lot of incentive to begin incorporating this practice into their regular tweet schedule.

Further, evidence suggests that video content is ten times more powerful than text content. As more features are released and refined, focused engagement and diversity will gain more prominence, putting the pressure on organizations to engage their followers in more dynamic ways that set them apart from the rest.

Bottom line: don’t remain still, but rather, keep growing.

About Robert Conrad

Robert Conrad is a consultant for three different video game websites and teaches the otherwise awesome webmasters how to "social media". When he's not helping his fellow humans and inhumans, he can be found furiously gaming on his Nintendo with his totally awesome son.
  • http://australia-b2b-marketing.com/ Helaina Berry

    Thanks for the tips. I would apply this in managing my twitter and I will observe proper twitter etiquette so that my followers will not be annoyed or be irritated by my post. I thought using more hashtags will help you to increase follower satisfaction but I was wrong. I will now minimize my hashtag usage to 2 hashtags per post.

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