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April 14, 2009

SMX Sydney: Twitter Tips and Etiquette

Coverage of the Twitter Tips & Etiquette session by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Twi Tip at SMX Sydney 2009.

Darren starts by stating that 6 million tweets a day are going out on Twitter at the moment. He began as a skeptic towards Twitter and is now an addict [sounds familiar!].

Benefits of Twitter for Darren:

  • Networking and collaboration
  • Research – Darren received 50 responses in 2 mins and 100 responses in 10 minutes to a research question. Therefore he says the potential to capture data from an audience is incredible. He gave an example of a poll he ran on “Have you ever tweeted from the toilet?” 59% of respondents hadn’t but scarily 41% said they had!
  • Branding
  • Driving traffic – Twitter is the #3 referrer to Darren’s blogs
  • Water cooler
  • Humanizer
  • Deepens relationships
  • SEO

The Twitter Opportunity:

  • Twitter is fastest growing community site on web
  • Twitter has had 1,382% growth in the 12 months to Feb 09
  • The largest user group on Twitter is 35-49 year olds

Twitter has tweaked their title tags in past week or so. News agencies are talking about Twitter all the time these days.

Twitter Usage by Top 10 Countries:

United States = 47.9%
Germany = 9.2%
United Kingdom = 6.8%
India = 5.9%
China = 2.9%
Australia = 2.9%
Canada = 2.7%
South Africa = 2.0%
Japan = 1.6%
Netherlands = 1.2%

Twitter is the 85th most popular site in Australia at the moment but the trend is increasing.

Business are using Twitter too. They’re letting employees tweet or even making them do so. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are that it makes the business seem more personal and more approachable. The cons include the risk of fallout if the employee managing the Twitter account leaves.

Businesses are also using Twitter as an Internal communications tool, for promoting internal news, mentoring, project status updates, social interactions etc. Similar tools for this include Yammer and

We’re seeing more businesses use Twitter as a monitoring reputation management tool as well – watching keywords, tracking brands, reputation management and damage control. Twitter usage by businesses deepens and reinforce relationships and it’s also an opportunity for sales and marketing. Savvy businesses are using Twitter alerts to track mentions of their brands etc. Now some businesses are monitoring their target keywords to see who’s talking about them and then sending them suggestions and tweets that are targeted directly to their interests etc.

Tips for businesses on Twitter
(via @pistachio):

  • use manners
  • dress nicely
  • be a good conversationalist

Darren recommends creating a purpose-built Twitter landing page that introduces you and your brand to Twitter followers. Don’t link to your home page, he says.

Before You Start on Twitter

  • Reserve your Twitter accounts NOW
  • Learn the culture and language
  • Find a tour guide who speaks “twitterese”
  • Identify key players
  • Listen/ monitor
  • Identify objectives

Smart companies have multiple channels on Twitter, says Darren e.g. Dell has 34 Twitter accounts

Tips for Finding Followers:

  • Provide value, solve problems, fill needs
  • Leverage other profiles and networks
  • Ask questions
  • Be conversational
  • Be active (especially at peak times)
  • Offer incentives

Darren uses some automated Twitter tools to auto-tweet while he’s asleep to reach his US audience, but is careful how he uses these. As an example of incentive offering on Twitter, Sitepoint offered a free ebook to anyone who followed them on Twitter and raised 20,000 followers in a short period.

Other Tips:

  • Use direct messaging where possible (can damage your brand otherwise)
  • Re-frame questions for your followers instead of the one word answer – adds value to your followers, brings everyone into the conversation
  • Be playful
  • Work with rhythms of your followers
  • Be careful of automated tweets because some people unfollow those who use automated “thanks for following” type messages
  • Be a thought leader
  • Leave room in your tweets for ReTweeting by others (room to add your @handle and “RT”)

Recommended Twitter Tools:

  • TweetDeck (Twitter platform)
  • CoTweet – (Twitter platform)
  • (URL shortener)
  • Monitter (monitoring service)
  • Twends (monitoring service)
  • Twitter Search (Twitter’s internal search service)
  • Twitter Hawk (monitoring service)

Good Use of Twitter by Aussie Businesses:

– BigPond

– Commonwealth Bank

– Dominos Pizza


– Fairfax Digital

– Jetstar

– RioTinto

– VirginBlue

– Vodafone

Darren says that Twitter are open to being approached if someone is squatting your brandname as a Twitter account.  See Darren’s Twitter blog Twi Tip for more Twitter tips.

[Added by me: If you have an issue with spam on Twitter, direct message @spam with the name of the account doing the spamming. If you have an issue with impersonation, TOS violations, TM violations, etc. on Twitter, file a ticket rather than messaging @spam. You can file a ticket by visiting and clicking on “submit a request”.]

* Photo courtesy of Andrew Ballard of ReBusiness