27 Twitter Laws to Follow

by Renee Warren on Aug 11, 2011

Twitter newbies often ask me “where do I start?  How do I succeed on Twitter?”.  It’s often a loaded question followed by anticipated eureka feedback. The truth is, there is no right answer to successfully using Twitter as a platform to succeed. However, there are Twitter laws, as I call it, that can help you get ahead.

Below is a list of the top laws I consider important to follow. Break your own laws and suffer your own consequences.  Here they are:

1. Don’t Swear

Whether or not you want to rule out swearing altogether is up to you, but frequent swearing is usually frowned upon by professional tweeters.

2. Be Authentic

Be yourself! Social media is about getting to know your peers and building relationships. Don’t hide your personality from your followers.

3. Get Personal

While posting professional news and tips is helpful, don’t forget to tweet about your personal life too. Talk about an event you went to or a movie you just saw.

4. Engage

Having a large following on Twitter is almost completely useless if you are not engaging. Reach out to your followers and the people you’re following to start new conversations.

5. Don’t Overschedule

Scheduling tweets is a neat idea when you want to reach audiences on the other side of the world. Just don’t get carried away and start scheduling all of your tweets.

6. Stay Active

Twitter isn’t something you should be updating once a week. It’s something that requires daily attention if you want to succeed with it. Post regularly!

7. But Not Too Active

You also don’t want to overload your followers’ feeds. You don’t need to tweet about what you and your brand are doing every second of the day

8. Tweet Links

Research shows that there is a connection between the number of followers a person has and the number of links they tweet. If you want more followers, tweet links to industry posts.

9. Promote Others

Show your followers and the people you follow that you value them by sharing their stuff. Tweet their new blog posts or even links to their websites.

10. And Yourself… Sometimes

Promoting yourself seems like an obvious tip, but it’s important that your feed isn’t one big self-promotion. You should promote others far more often than yourself.

11. Use Link Shorteners

Link shorteners like bit.ly and ow.ly allow you to track clicks. They also provide specific stats that can help you improve your click through rate on Twitter!

12. Short and Sweet

Keeping your tweets short and to the point is important. You don’t need to use all 140 characters! If you want retweets, be sure you leave characters free.

13. Repeat Yourself

Don’t be afraid to tweet the same information twice! If you just posted an awesome blog post, you can let your followers know more than once. If you only tweet something once, it is likely to be missed.

14. Monitor Keywords

Identify keywords that are important to your brand. Use a platform like TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor them and reach out to people who are chatting about them.

15. Honest Advertising

If you’re being paid to advertise something on Twitter, be honest about it. Making it clear that you have the potential to earn money from the tweet shows that you are genuine.

16. Provide Value

Why do people follow other people on Twitter? The answer is simply for the value the person provides. Figure out how you can be valuable to others and showcase it.

17. Connect Offline

Once you’ve established a relationship on Twitter, look to connect with the person offline. Ask them if they have time to meet for lunch or coffee. You could even try to meet at a conference!

18. Send Traffic

Don’t forget to send traffic to your Twitter page! Tell your existing customers about it via email and make the Twitter button prominent on your website.

19. Use Hashtags

Using hashtags is a great way to connect with relevant groups of people and gain attention. Be sure to work them into your tweets from time to time.

20. .@Mention

When you @mention someone, only people following that person will see it on their feeds. To avoid this, slip a period in before the @mention and all of your followers will see it!

21. Live Chat

Participating in live chats is an awesome way to connect with new people. Hosting your own live chat on a topic that’s relevant to your brand is even better. Live tweeting during an event is also a great idea.

22. RT Instead

Instead of clicking the retweet button on Twitter, use “RT” instead. This allows you to add a comment. It also allows you to better notify someone that you’ve retweeted their thoughts.

23. Talk, Don’t Sell

Twitter, like all other social media platforms, is not about selling a product or service. It’s about building relationships and then encouraging sales. Don’t make your page an advertisement for your brand.

24. Share Pictures and Videos

Sharing pictures and videos goes with rules 2 and 3. They make you more human and help build connections. So, when you’re doing something cool, take a picture and tweet it!

25. Always Respond

Respond to everything! Every mention, every mention of your brand, every RT – everything. Don’t let anything go unnoticed. Managing social media means you’re always on.

26. Monitor Success

Use tools to monitor your success. Think Radian6, EvoApp, TwitSprout and the like. Find out what works for your followers and what doesn’t. Then, use that knowledge to your advantage.

27. Go Mobile

Again, social media means you’re always on. Having Twitter installed on your phone makes it easy to keep in touch wherever you go!

Do you have any laws or rules you follow? Please share them in the comments below.



Image source: Shutterstock.com

Post Author

Geek in stilettos. Founder of Onboardly. Chocolate lover. Traveler. Tall. Canadian in San Francisco. www.onboardly.com...

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  • “Figure out how you can be valuable to others and showcase it.”

    It seems to me that this, out of all 27 Twitter Laws, reigns supreme. Every other one falls under it’s umbrella. Awesome list you geek in stilettos! I’m looking forward to more of your awesomeness.

  • I love this. Thanks for the advice.

  • Great post, thanks! And I didn’t know law no 20 (oops!) – so that was particularly useful

  • Anonymous

    28. follow @theregjoe:twitter 

  • Renee, great guide here–really comprehensive; this is like law! I just want to speak to point 13 on repeating yourself. Yes! I think this very speaks to having a little bit of consciousness about how your tweets appear, which is in a feed with zillions of others. I will go to individual twitter pages, but only if I’m checking that person out for the first time. So it’s good to have some balance, but I think it’s completely appropriate to repeat tweet when you have something really important you don’t want people to miss. Of course, be sure to put adequate distance between them!

  • Wau

    I enjoy the article. But, I’m afraid you forgot to mention those people simply ignore you, when you want just to follow them. It’s a sign of your admiration, right and wouldn’t be polite at all.
    Thank you! 

  • Kevin Harrington

    I think the issue of the ratio of business/professional posts to those that are personal is interesting. A lot of people seem to just push business messages. I find that those people who post a mix and share some of their personal life/character become the ones I follow and read most often.

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  • Hello, regarding Rule #20, “When you @mention someone, only people following that person will see it
    on their feeds. To avoid this, slip a period in before the @mention and
    all of your followers will see it!”: This caught my eye because I have never heard it before. I am pretty certain that when I send an @mention tweet, it is publicly viewable by anyone (since I’m a public user), it shows up in my sent tweets, my followers see it in their home feeds, and the mentioned user sees it in their mentions column and, if following me, in their home feed. Perhaps your tip about using the period before   means something other than my interpretation?Knowing the ins and outs of the platform is important to me, so I checked support.twitter.com to be sure: “@mention defintiion: Tweet containing another user’s Twitter
    username, preceded by the “@” symbol, like this: Hello @NeonGolden!
    What’s up? (Example above.)Where it appears for the sender: On the sender’s Profile page of public Tweets.Where it appears for the recipient: In the recipient’s tions tab, which is accessible only by them. Additionally, mentions
    will appear in the recipient’s home timeline view (not Profile) if
    they are following the sender. Also note: anyone on Twitter who is
    following the sender of a mention will see the Tweet in their home
    timeline.Places it will never appear: On anyone’s Profile page, unless they wrote the message.”

  • If I tweet a message to  @SocialFresh and the first character in the Tweet is the @ Symbol then my only followers that will see it are the one who also follow @SocialFresh.     I wrote an entire post dedicated to the history of this, with examples that may explain it a little better:  http://richtucker.posterous.com/twitter-replies-twitter101

  • Yes, I have to do a mixed business and private.

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  • Dar’shun Kendrick

    Glad to know that I am doing all this :) Thanks for sharing.

    For those of you interested in “law” and “social media”, visit http://wp.me/p1JRPo-d where I blog weekly about legal business issues. I am only authorized to practice law in Georgia so if you are a Georgia based business, enjoy learning some more legal stuff—the REAL legal stuff!

  • Did not know about the .@Mention. I tested it out today with @CoupSmart. Very cool. I’ll have to check out the Live Chat feature, too.

  • Lot of stuff I didn’t know about here. Thanks

  • fabulous post! definitely going to tweet and RT – thanks

  • Dianem Mcpherson57

    Yeh no swearing and some of the profile pictures of nude parts I can not stand @dmcpherson58

  • Deepak Sadhvani

    Really useful info, will surely implement and benefit from it

  • Beckewing

    Thank you for posting…I am new at seriously tweeting, this is very helpful!

  • DonnaMHarris

    Thank you for posting.

  • interesting but overall kind of annoying – like really are we just reducing ourselves to marketable commodities. when are we going to move past the limitations of constantly thinking in terms of maximizing profits? 

  • I love that this is all very consistent with real time face to face business. I think we forget who we are in twitter world, and all we need to do is be who we are.  Thx.  Elizabeth

  • Good post – breaks down Twitter for newbies and gives even the more seasoned user some tips. One thing I’d add is to avoid the auto-DM on follow. I’m not a fan of this as a tactic, as it works against the “social is warm and real” ideal. I’ll definitely share these laws with folks interested in speeding up their learning curve. Thanks

  • Hi Renee,
    As a Twitter newbie (about 5 months now), your post answered all my Twitter questions. I had been wondering if I’m not posting enough or too much or if others would think of me as being nosy for adding my thoughts to their tweets, etc. What I have learned and love about Twitter is the people embrace and support one another, the tweeps I follow are awesome that way.

    Thanks so much for sharing this and for allowing me to comment! Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Have a great day! Corina

  • Don’t linkbait. Many users will follow you then leave after you follow back. That’s linkbaiting. It’s shameless

  • William Siong

    Hi Renee, I’ve stumbled upon this page while searching for some answer pertaining to tweeting and I was glad that I still learn a things or 2 having been a Twitterian for almost 3 to 4 years by now!

    I’ve a Personal law (hopefully someone else has the same thoughts pattern ;-) :

    Un-Follow ANYONE that you have followed, and has more followers than following and is Just An Ordinary Folks like you or me! I do not see why I should be reading his tweets when he does not see mine.



    SAVE MONEY when Booking for Your Next Air Ticket or Hotel Lodging

  • Rule 1 and 9 are utter nonsense. I know of countless professionals that use profanity. This is Twitter, not a Kindergarten class. As for #9, promotion cost money and if you can’t pay to promote then you aren’t worth being promoted.

  • Josh

    The only reason you should break rule 1 is if;

    A. It’s an important part of your brand
    B. Rule 2 causes you to override Rule 1. This is usually only the case because of A

    Twitter is a public platform and it’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward.

    As for #9 Renee is talking about curating content for sharing which is completely different from promoted Tweets or other paid advertising. If it wasn’t free to share, social platforms would go bust awfully quickly!