Being Mindful of Your Twitter Presence

Being Mindful of Your Twitter Presence - TwitterSmarter chat with Crystal King - July 18, 2019

Over the years, Twitter as a platform has changed a lot. But, are we making the most of this evolution? In our Twitter chats, we’ve spoken about Twitter marketing, best practices, and social media tactics, but we wondered how we could take the conversation to a new level. That’s when we realized we needed to discuss how to be wary of our Twitter activities. You could call it best practices, but it’s more than that. We wanted to know the real stuff to watch out for.

So we sought Crystal King, author, editor, and social media professor, to help us determine if we’re using Twitter mindfully.

Here’s a summary of our chat:

Topic: Being Mindful of Your Twitter Presence
Guest: Crystal King
Format: Eight questions directed to the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Why are a lot of people overwhelmed by Twitter?

We’ve all been there—we log into Twitter, scroll down a couple of tweets and all of sudden the browser tab reads 10 new tweets. And you wouldn’t have even got through five tweets before you have fifty more. That’s the reality of Twitter. It’s fast, it’s spontaneous, and it’s so full of information that it makes you feel inadequate. Twitter isn’t like other regular platforms where you you can hang around without doing much. When it comes to Twitter, you have to make an effort to be present, and that can sometimes be daunting.

But like our guest pointed out, when you stick with it and persevere, you’ll soon realize that Twitter is easy and more fun than you imagined.

Our chat regular, Joana made an excellent point, too. Some people dive into Twitter without knowing what they want from the platform. It’s a classic rookie mistake. You sign up just because everyone else is on it, and start following celebrities and influencers blindly, hoping you’ll somehow make it into the elite zone, only to be dumbfounded. Going in without a plan isn’t a good idea, people.

Q2: What are some things to consider before sharing a photo on Twitter?

We’re all so careful about sharing photos on Instagram. We try various poses, filters, captions, hashtags, and tags, so much so that it could easily take an hour to make one post. But do we pay as much attention to how we share photos on Twitter?

We should. To some extent at the least.

Crystal reminded us that image dimensions are critical on Twitter, just as on Instagram or Facebook. The ideal size, as she said, is 1024 x 512 pixels. Aim for images smaller than 5mb and GIFs smaller than 3mb. You don’t want your images or animations to be too heavy that they take forever to load.

And stock images are great. But explore other options too. Share high quality photos of real people (with their permission, of course). Also, posting images, banners, GIFs branded with your logo and colors is a great way to establish credibility and build recall value.

Aside from those basics, like Tamara said, consider the message that goes with the image. Know why you’re posting the image in the first place. It has to offer value to your audience, instead of being just another random post on Twitter.

Q3: What kind of tweets should you never post on Twitter?

Seeing all the meaningless and vanity tweets, you might think Twitter has no rules. Ah, but it does. Some of the topics you can’t discuss include terrorism and violence, abuse, child sexual exploitation, and self-harm. Check out Twitter’s rules page for more details. And always play by the rules.

Other than that, what you should and shouldn’t post depends on your type of business and audience. If you’re handling a business account, be careful not to share personal opinions and biases. You don’t want to deviate from the brand’s voice, as Jessica articulated so well.

It’s also worth remembering that engagement should be natural. As Brett said, don’t try to grow quickly by running false giveaways or using sneaky automated engagement tactics. If you’re running contests, take a look at Twitter’s guidelines for promotions and follow protocol. That’s the best way to avoid being penalized.

Q4: How can you share content without being overly self-promotional?

It’s only too easy to bombard followers with “Hey I wrote this!” or “Follow me for great marketing tips!” type of tweets. But in reality, no one like to see tweets like that all day. Vary it up. How?

According to Crystal, every audience wants 3 things: To

  1. be entertained
  2. learn or be informed
  3. network with others

Remember this every time you create content on Twitter. Every post should cater to these needs. Offer useful content in a digestible and interesting manner, and engage with people who respond to your content.

And this means, as Dan pointed out, you don’t always have to start every conversation. Building engagement is largely about joining existing conversations. Establish your online presence by networking ,and sharing your thoughts and ideas with others. If you’re into videos, consider doing video replies. Both Madalyn and Dan are huge advocates of video replies, and a lot of our #TwitterSmarter members have had huge success with them too.

Another great way to share content without coming off as too promotional, is to share other people’s content. That’s what Jake recommended. Do some research and find others who discuss similar topics. Share these with your audience so they can accumulate a wide range of opinions. Not only does this give your tweets some variety, but you’ll also be offering valuable food for thought to your audience.

It might take a while, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that you as in individual are separate from your expertise. Chelsea said it well. You can share the value of content you’ve created without marketing yourself.

Q5: Share some tips to avoid getting into unhealthy arguments.

As much as we all love Twitter, you have to admit that it’s a playground for unhealthy arguments and hate speech. Even Twitter has had a hard time curbing some of the inappropriate conversations that take root on their platform. So we had to ask our guest, what can we do to avoid those situations?

For starters, think. When you reply to a hater on Twitter, you’re replying for the whole world to see. And once it’s out there, it’s almost impossible to take back what you said. Think. Is it worth the risk? If you’re handling a brand account, will your reply—and the way you’ve phrased it—affect the brand’s image?

In most cases, when you pause to think, you’ll feel the anger fade away. And when you’re not angry, you can look at a situation objectively and act accordingly.

The key? Don’t tweet when you’re emotional or drunk. That’s how you create disasters.

If you’re dealing with an angry customer, because that’s way too common on Twitter nowadays, be careful. Acknowledge them and, like Crystal suggested, get them into a direct message so you can sort things out. Most of the time, you as the Twitter manager for your brand, can do nothing to solve the customer’s problem. That’s where a direct message can help—get the customer’s details and pass it on to someone who can fix the problem.

And in situations like this, it’s good to tell yourself, silence is sometimes louder than any utterance. Thanks to John for reminding us of that.


Q6: How do you deal with Twitter trolls?

Goodness, they’re everywhere!

Stay calm when you encounter a troll. As our guest told us, most trolls want attention. Every time you reply to a troll, you’re feeding them, and giving them exactly what they need to keep the conversation going. Don’t get defensive or emotional—that will only entice them. Instead, if you’re having constant trouble with trolls, block them.

Another great way to broadcast to trolls is to use a pinned tweet. Put a general message like “Won’t reply to trolls” or something similar so that you don’t have to deal with them each time.

As Jim said, you can also report them to Twitter as irrelevant, abusive, or as an account claiming to be someone else. Twitter will immediately take action. They will contact you to verify your report, and will, in most cases, delete the troll account.

Q7: What do you think is the ideal ratio of personal and professional tweets?

This is such an “it depends” question. Your ratio and frequency of Tweets should vary according to your audience’s needs. However, a common practice that a lot of social media professionals, including Crystal, follow is the 80-20 rule.

The 80-20 rule: Of all your tweets, 80% should be about your audience. These tweets should offer value, support, and suggestions. They can be articles, tips and tricks, answers to frequently asked questions, or anything educational. The remaining 20% of your tweets can be promotional, where you talk about services you offer.

But like our friends at Synthesio said, it all depends. Sometimes, you have to break the 80-20 rule and take another route. Understand your mission, find what works for you, and stick with that.

Q8: What are some Twitter resources and accounts you recommend?

Twitter is an ever-evolving platform. And we need to always be learning. Joining Twitter chats is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening. Follow Twitter’s official accounts (Twitter and Twitter Marketing – also available regionally), and keep an eye out on their documentation pages for updates.

Here are a few resources you can learn from, as recommended by our guest Crystal,

Avery gave us a few great tools to check out:

  • For images: GIFs, graphics: Canva, Picmonkey, Magisto, Wave, Animoto
  • For analytics and reporting: Hashtracking and Twitonomy

Of course, there’re so many more. Some of the blogs and websites our community members rely on include:

So that’s all for this week’s summary, folks. I hope you found it useful. If you have any additional thoughts or suggestions, feel free to tweet out to Madalyn or myself.

Can you spare an hour on Thursday? Then join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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