With the emergence of new media, we have witnessed new and innovative mediums to connect, share, distribute and exchange our ideas and views. Micro-blogging is one such medium that has become extremely popular among netizens. Every such service has certain de-facto rules and conventions that are implicitly followed by the masses. Some learn these conventions in quick time, while others remain clueless about the correct usage of the service leading to abandonment of their stagnant accounts.
I have witnessed several friends of mine scratching their heads after creating an account on twitter. This phenomenon is quite common around the world when people sign up for any micro-blogging service and then wonder - "What to do now?". Well, here are some basic guidelines that may help you in making your micro-blogging experience a pleasant one.
Create An Unambiguous Profile - Why Should I Follow You?
One important aspect of micro-blogging is connecting with like-minded people and creating a large network of fans/followers to share and distribute your ideas to the maximum number of eyeballs. Unless you are a celebrity or well known personality in your domain, a potential follower will not press the follow button until he is not sure about your area of expertise by giving a glance at your profile. Make sure you keep the following attributes up-to-date while creating your micro-blogging service account.
Mini-Bio - Clearly mention your area of operations, your interests and (if possible) the nature of messages you will be posting. This eases the decision making process for every potential follower. Make sure your mini-bio is more or less similar across all social media accounts. Failing to do so can lead to confusion among your connections.
Unique Avatar - Brands are known by their logos. They have the power to influence the masses. The crux of social media marketing is creating a unique identity among thousands of connections. Create a unique avatar for all your social media accounts and highlight it prominently wherever possible.
Custom Profile Page - Micro-blogging services like twitter allows you to create a custom profile page. This helps your regular connections feel at home whenever they visit your profile page. For new connections, custom profile page gives added visual information about you and your domain. Normally, blog or web sites links, your own image and logo or theme slices are inserted into a profile page.
Provide Value - Give A Reason To Follow
Content rules the web, and this principle applies across all forms of web content. Although micro-blogging messages are a mixed bag of posts, still potential followers almost always expect a consistent stream of postings that fall in a specific category. Experimenting too much and sending unrelated posts could trigger mass unfollowing.
You have to create a delicate balance between one-to-one public conversations and messages related to your domain. Try to keep the latter type of messages a bit more prominent in peak hours. That's the time when your followers are most expectant for their daily dose of juicy messages coming from you.
Listen And Respond - Isolation Leads To Inevitable Death
Social media runs on relationships between groups and individuals having common interests and goals. Have you ever seen adverts claiming to get you thousands of followers on twitter on autopilot, and that too in quick time? Some of these products may get you some followers but they cannot sustain them for long time. Reason is simple. These autopilot products lacks human touch and runs via API calls posting messages through programmed bots.
Every successful social media campaign runs on the basis of two-way fruitful communication that benefits both parties. Ask questions, conduct polls and answer public and directed questions to develop a healthy community via your micro-blogging efforts. As I said before, you should evenly distribute your conversation messages and your business messages to create a mixed bag of stream that is received well by your audience.
Learn Microblogging Lingo
Almost every micro-blogging service puts the restriction of 140 characters in a single message. At times, you may get frustrated due to this restriction that forces you to express the maximum in minimum words. With experience micro-bloggers learn to overcome this restriction by carefully trimming unnecessary words and using short codes commonly used in micro-blogging. Here's an excellent micro-blogging lingo guide by Mari Smith that will equip you with necessary knowledge to understand and create space saving yet meaningful messages.
Use Direct Messages Wisely - Say No To Auto-DM's (Marketing)
Direct messages are an important part of any micro-blogging service. They help you directly pass the message that you don't want to appear in public timeline. Sometimes people try to misuse this feature by configuring automated direct message for new followers consisting of marketing pitch with a link. At least for me this results in instant unfollow. What about you?
There's no harm in welcoming new followers via automated DM, provided you keep it simple without any selfish promotion of your services in the very first DM immediately after someone follows you. There's another case where sometimes newbies bug you every now and then by continuous stream of DM's as if they are conversing with you on an instant messenger. This is the last thing you can do to get yourself unfollowed.
Your Message Goes Public - Think Before Sending!
Unlike instant messaging, your messages are public to the entire network and beyond. Nowadays major search engines also index micro-blogging messages. Sending intimate or NSFW messages can instantly trigger mass unfollowing that may hurt your reputation. Although most of us are cautious enough to avoid any such circumstances, keeping an extra vigil can save us from any embarrassment.
At times, you may inadvertently send some unpleasant message in public timeline. Acknowledging it and resending the helper and supplemental message can avoid any dispute or public argument. If the situation aggravates it is advisable to delete that message altogether and settle the argument via DM's or email.
Say No To Mass-Following - Don't Appear As a Bot
No internet service is free of spam. Micro-blogging services are no exception and are prone to spam accounts that follow large number of people in short span of time followed by stream of junk messages via automated software. If you want that your account is not tagged as spam or get suspended for indefinite period, make sure you do not follow large number of people in quick time. Nowadays almost every micro-blogging service has come up with more sophisticated systems to detect any suspicious activity. Once an account is identified as spam, irreversible account suspension is inevitable.
Keep a check on your following rate and do not hesitate to report any spam account. There are many services that filter micro-bloggers with similar interests to help you grow your network by following right kind of people. Using these services can save your time provided you don't do the mistake of following large number of people in short span of time. Create a list and distribute your following exercise across reasonably long span of time. This time period is variable and is completely dependent on the length of the list and how many people you plan to follow each day.
Do Not Overwhelm Your Followers - Take A Break
Have you ever unfollowed anyone just because of the sheer volume of messages he or she used to post in peak hours? Well, I have unfollowed few of them. It's good to share wealth of information with your followers, but make sure you are not bombarding them with large number of messages in quick succession. If you have too much of information to share, distribute the messages across the whole day or schedule them with reasonable time intervals.
It's possible that your peer or close friend may give you a hint via DM or mail about your messaging spree. Take note of it seriously and change your message posting frequency at the earliest to avoid mass unfollowing.