Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

20 Essential Tips for Better Twitter Etiquette

I’ve been on Twitter almost since it started. I love it. While it’s become more mainstream recently, I still find a lot of people misusing Twitter.

Twitter Etiquette

To be fair, it’s a user-driven platform, so the “rules” are always changing. Still, there are some simple practices anyone can use on Twitter to make you not look like such a newbie — or a jerk.

Here are 20 quick tips (in addition to my Twitter tips for beginners) to help your social media etiquette:

Twitter manners 101

  1. Be gracious.
  2. Be social. Twitter is about conversation, not monologue.
  3. Say “thank you” (a lot).
  4. Use the @ reply to publicly thank someone.
  5. Don’t just follow people; engage them.
  6. Have a sense of humor.
  7. Refrain from flaming. Use your words to encourage and lift up rather than to tear down. Never underestimate the power of a tweet.
  8. Don’t follow someone expecting him to follow you back. Follow because you’re interested in what the person has to say. (Conversely, and somewhat ironically, if someone does follow you, it’s courteous to follow back.)
  9. Be informal. Have fun. Don’t treat it as a chore.
  10. Don’t hound influential people, begging them to read your blog or retweet you. Win their trust and influence by being remarkable and serving them first. My best strategy for networking is serving others.
  11. Hold back the urge to tweet too much (more than 20 times per day). If you have a lot of ideas, use a program like Hootsuite or Cotweet to schedule your tweets so that they can be spaced out.
  12. Listen to your followers.
  13. Show interest in others, before asking them to care about you (or what you do).
  14. Ask questions.
  15. Don’t be afraid to ask for a retweet when it’s really important. (This is best utilized when it’s to help out someone else.)
  16. Tell the truth.
  17. Don’t tweet in the third person (Jeff hates it when you do that — it’s so Facebook circa 2008).
  18. Don’t retweet people who retweet you, unless you’re responding and quoting them. e.g. “RT @JeffGoins are you crazy?! // You bet.”
  19. Promote other people’s stuff (blog posts, photos, websites, etc.)
  20. Talk about other people more than you do about yourself. A good rule of thumb is the 20:1 ratio.

What tips for Twitter etiquette would you add? Share in the comments.

 

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

How I got 100,000 blog readers in 18 months

Sign up for the free newsletter and get a three-part series on exactly what I did to grow my blog from zero to 100,000 readers in less than two years. Enter your email below to get started.

  • http://popparables.com Keri

    Wow, tweeting others 20:1!  I have heard 12:1.  That’s hard to achieve when I don’t probably don’t even tweet 20 times in a day!

    What thoughts do you have for someone like me, who really can’t be on Twitter much at all?  I don’t have time to have conversations, so I feel like I’m monologueing all the time. Should I just focus on sharing others stuff and not my own?

    • http://popparables.com Keri

      Oh, p.s. Have you done a post like this for FB because I could really use some tips over there! Thanks for all your info, Jeff!  I really appreciate it, even when I don’t comment.  I try to RT.  :) 

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        I did this one: http://goinswriter.com/sharing-content-on-facebook/

        But I’d like to do more of an etiquette piece on Facebook, as well, but to be honest, I don’t do FB very well (not as well as Twitter, anyway). But I do have some thoughts. Do you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions?

        • http://popparables.com Keri

          In my niche, the readers I want to reach are NOT on Twitter, but they ARE on FB.  So I’m trying to make more use of my FB blog page.
           
          I have an FB page for my blog, and I also have my personal FB page.  For my fellow bloggers that I consider friends, I’m more than happy to accept a friend request, but I also would love to have their interaction on my FB blog page.  But, I don’t know how to get them there, other than posting a link to my FB blog page on my blog (which I have done).  Might be good to cover whether to have a separate FB page for your blog or to simply use your personal FB.
          I know that some want to build a platform and that is why they prefer to simply use the personal page, but I think it blurs too many lines.  I don’t want my readers seeing pics of my kids’ birthday party!
           
          Some questions I’ve pondered.
           
          Sharing content through my personal page: yes or no?
           
          Suggesting my FB blog page to friends: yes or no?
           
          How many times a day should I post on FB?
           
          I know there are more, but those are the only things off the top of my head. 
           
          I’m a pretty heavy FB user for personal comm with friends/family, but I want to use it much more for blogging!  Any tips you can share would be awesome, Jeff!  Oops, I think I went over the 50 word max!  ;)
           

          • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

            Cool. Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It all depends on context and should be averaged out over time, but as a rule, I do agree with that.

      I’m trying to spend less time on Twitter. I schedule most of my tweets in bulk via hootsuite. I share 15-20 links from recent posts and articles I’ve read and throw in a few thoughts I have. (These days, though, I mostly just share links.)

      I think you can throw in a few of your own pieces of content in there, as well.

  • Anonymous

     Thanks, Jeff, good information for those of us wadding in 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Lyndie!

  • http://twitter.com/AnnieAndreHacks Annie Andre

    Jeff, Thanks for this post. speaking from experience. I think a lot of people don’t know how to engage in conversation.  I’ve been on twitter for well over a year but didn’t know the full potential until 2 months ago when i started reaching out and talking to others.
    It’s when conversation starts happening that the magic happens…

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Similar thing happened to me.

  • http://katieax.blogspot.com Katie Axelson

    I’ve always wondered how many tweets a day are socially acceptable as well as some of these other unwritten “rules”… Thanks!
    Katie

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      All depends on your followers but that’s a rule I found on Chris Brogan’s blog.

  • Pingback: Highlights of Social Media Success Summit 2011 – Day 3 with Stelzner & Thomases | Cedar Sage

  • JamiesRabbits

    Great list! I especially love #6 and #9.

    However, #11 is my favorite because 20 tweets a day will put you in my Twitter time-out. As will linking to things all day long – including your own stuff found elsewhere. I want to hear your voice on that platform in that moment (with a smidgen of the other). I think over-tweeting simply devalues what you’re bringing to the table. I like Michael Hyatt’s suggestion of 10-12 daily tweets max.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks for the comment, Jamie. I confess that I sometimes tweet a LOT. I love it so. I appreciated your feedback, though. I’m trying to learn to say more by tweeting less.

      • Jamiesrabbits

         P.S. You weren’t actually the “you” in my example. To my knowledge, you’re far from being disciplined. :)

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          “far from being disciplined”? Not sure if you meant that, but you’re right! ;)

          • Jamiesrabbits

            “Disciplined” in terms of going to previously mentioned “time out.” I automatically write 3x less effectively when posting comments on a blog of a real writer.

            • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

              Hah! Real writer? Says who?

            • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

              Hah! Real writer? Says who?

  • Pingback: Simply Missional - The Death of the Alpha Leader | RANDY ELROD Creating Culture | Influencing Influencers

  • Pingback: The Blogger’s Guide To Being A Self-Absorbed Jerk On Twitter | David Santistevan

  • http://mamahearmeroar.wordpress.com/ Mama, Hear Me Roar

    Really useful tips for the beginner that I am, Jeff.  Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      you’re welcome!

  • http://i2harmony.info/ Iwan Restiono

    Hai Jeff, i like your Twitter Etiequette, it is so usefull form me.
    I want to translating it into Indonesian, for my blog, if you don’t mind. :)
    Just 20 tips only, not the whole article, i will place a linkback to this article. :)
    Sorry if my english is messed up.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Iwan. Sorry for the delay. Sure, go for it!

  • Pingback: Why Twitter Sux | Adam Waid's Blog

  • Pingback: Thursday 12/01/11 | scivley10ela

  • Pingback: Tools of the trade: December 2011

  • Juliepeirce22

    #8… Interesting…do you..yes, you, really “follow” people who “follow” you? Or do you just like to reiterate things you’ve read/ heard? What is being Twitter Courtious mean to you?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Julie, I follow most of the people who follow me. The exception is obvious spam accounts or profiles that look sketchy (no bio or pic).

  • http://www.darkheartfelt.com darkheartfelt

    Hi Jeff. nice post.

    Bothering me lately that people want to CC in seventy different ways.  So I made this blog post: 

    http://www.darkheartfelt.com/blog/2012/1/31/how-to-cc-on-twitter.html  

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      interesting! i’m guilty of this.

  • http://www.unorule.com/ Luis Javier López Arredondo

    Good one Jeff, I agree, but in the point of public conversations; personally, I don’t follow the thread of the conversations.

    I have made my own Twitter etiquette: http://www.unorule.com/twitter-etiquette

  • Thea Nelson

    Great post Jeff.  I’ve only been on Twitter since last summer but the one that perplexes me is when people retweet compliments they’re given.  There’s something about that that kind of doesn’t sit well with me, but it seems so common. 

    Wish I’d gotten to meet you at Killer Tribes–that day was so busy but thank you for your contribution to that outstanding event!

  • moonsix

    So far the best list I have found. Great job.

  • Henderson

    So very superficial and Diplomatic!  Anyone  could have said this. These etiquette  are not good behaviour but protocol to impress others.