The Twitter Rules of Engagement

Note I used the word engagement. Not selling, not spamming and definitely not preaching.

What many companies fail to understand is business success on Twitter is secondary to relationship building. Twitter is a two-way conversation. It’s about engagement. You have to get out there and comment, compliment, reply and add value. It’s your golden opportunity to share your brand personality with the world.

There has never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur.<!–more–> The opportunities to build your presence online and attract attention to your brand using Twitter are endless. The important key for entrepreneurs and companies using Twitter is understanding that it’s about sharing, NOT selling. Followers want to see real people with real experiences.

Tony Hsieh, the CEO of, is an excellent example of someone who is raising the profile of the Zappo’s brand by tweeting in a very authentic manner. He uses a great mix of interesting content, business links, personal observations and a very likeable enthusiasm for his life and his business. Tony connects with his followers on a very human level. And emotional connection is the key to building a powerful personal brand.

To build your personal brand on Twitter, you’ve got to give your followers a snapshot into your life as an entrepreneur. And you’ve got to be willing to give more than you get – to add value and show support for others’ projects and businesses.

Here are my Twitter Rules of Engagement:

1. Only tweet when you have something meaningful, valuable, interesting or humorous to say. I’m not interested in what you had for breakfast for the fifth day in a row.

2. Post regularly (at least several times daily). You can use a free application to schedule tweets (I like Hootsuite) and best manage your social media time.Twitter Bird All Posts

3. Don’t just tweet about yourself and your business (this is for all the narcissists out there). Spamming your business down your followers’ throats is the fastest way to get unfollowed. Instead, share knowledge, ideas and resources that will help them.

4. Keep your tweeting balanced. A good rule of thumb is no more than 20% about your business, and the remaining 80% should be personal and added value, such as links to great resources, observations and articles your target market may be interested in. The key is to offer information that helps, entertains and uplifts your followers.

5. Ask questions regularly. Twitter is about a two-way conversation. Listen.

6. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t tweet it. If you do, it’s out there forever. Remember, tweets are picked up by the search engines.

7. Always remember that deep-down, people want to be acknowledged and recognized for their efforts. Do this every day on Twitter, coupled with creating value for your followers, and you will be well on your way to a powerful presence online.

8. Take time each week to read what others have to say. Reply and compliment someone if you really like something and re-tweet (RT) the most valuable comments and insights. Remember, this is about engagement.

9. Remember to give credit where credit is due. Use the re-tweet symbol (RT) when sharing something someone else has already tweeted.

10. Twitter in the short term does not work. You must be in it for the long haul and be persistent, consistent and committed.

By regularly letting your followers know that they have your attention and your support for their success, you are building the all-important “know, like and trust” factor. As a pleasant side-effect of following the Twitter Rules of Engagement, you may eventually find yourself and your business booked solid.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010

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