This post assumes that your executive or senior leader has committed to use and manage their own Twitter account. If they have, here are five quick tips that sets them up for instant success.
1. Make sure your bio is complete
This is the first opportunity you’ll have to convey some of your own personality into your account. When people follow senior leaders on Twitter, they want to get to know the person – not just the figurehead. So use your bio as a way to share some personal, interesting details about yourself. Hobbies, interests outside of work – whatever you’re comfortable with the public at large knowing. And when someone get’s notified you’re following, this is largely what will inform their decision to follow you back. So help them make an informed decision based on information that shows you’re a real person – and that includes making sure you use a proper photo of yourself.
2. Share your own company’s stuff
Many executives and senior leaders using twitter love to share quotes, articles and retweets from their historical figures and their peers. As senior brand ambassadors, you owe it to your company to share content that is created by your own team. If you have corporate blogs, share great posts (and if you don’t want to share them, tell the teams responsible why not – it will be invaluable feedback for them, and give them good executive exposure). Also make an effort to retweet posts from employees – they’ll take a great deal of pride in having their CEO acknowledging that what they posted was worth your validation, and you’ll benefit from their showing goodwill to your staff.
3. Check your @ replies on a regular basis
I’ve found that while many executives use twitter as a broadcasting tool, they often forget that people are broadcasting back. Make sure you get in the habit of checking to see when and if people respond to you. Being on Twitter and not responding to genuine conversations can have a detrimental effect on your company’s brand – and your personal brand, too.
4. Check your spelling!
While some might suggest a spelling mistake every now and then shows that it’s a real person behind the account, I think it’s just bad form – especially for senior business people. So before you tweet, double-check you’ve spelled everything correctly. Especially your company name, and the names of your customers and strategic partners.
5. Think before every tweet. And if you don’t think you should respond – don’t.
While it’s true that Twitter is a realtime, in-the-moment social networking tool, there’s something to be said for being thoughtful about every post. Some executives may feel compelled to respond to many messages right away. If it’s a customer sat issue, respond as quickly as you would expect to be helped yourself. If someone sends you a message that makes you upset, don’t respond. If someone replies to one of your tweets that appears like they’re goading you, don’t. Very likely, they’re trying to goad you into a public confrontation. If you have a communications team, consult them first. They’ll help you triage the situation and make a decision how (if at all) to respond.
What tips do you provide to managers, senior leaders and executives when you coach them on proper Twitter etiquette? Please add them in the comments below.