What’s the first thing you do when you come across somebody new? If you’re anything like me, it’s to Google them and often one of the first hits that comes up is a Twitter account. This series of steps tends to apply to everyone, from potential new clients to someone applying for a job, which means that your Twitter reputation is much more important than it might have been a couple of years ago. So, how do you go about protecting it?
Avoid reckless tweeting
We all know to avoid tweeting while drunk, tweeting unwise images and avoiding swear words. However, reckless tweeting is more the kind of content that you think you can get away with because no one will check – incorrect facts, quotes attributed to the wrong person, bad links, that kind of thing. Verifying what you tweet to make sure it is correct is the cornerstone of maintaining a spotless Twitter reputation – as soon as you start tweeting content that is identifiably false you’ll begin to build a reputation as unreliable.
Don’t do the hard sell
We’re all selling on Twitter. Whether you have a tangible product, a set of services, or you’re just selling the idea of you as a digital talking head, the very foundation of Twitter is self promotion. However, gone are the days when you could generate engagement (or sales) from simply demanding it – today, the only acceptable approach is the softer, subtler sell that adds value to other users’ day before demanding something in return. Fail on that front and you’ll get a reputation as an account not to follow.
Failure to engage on Twitter is one of the fastest ways to undermine your social media reputation. While it used to be the case that only those who directly interacted with you would know whether you were engaging or not, now there are third party apps that produce a measurement of your engagement, providing a snapshot of who you are on twitter, which many other users will incorporate into their decision as to whether or not to follow.
Monitor your name
Whether you’re an individual or a business, keeping an eye on what is being said about you online is an important part of reputation protection. There are many ways in which you can search via Twitter itself – using your Twitter handle, name or any other related terms, such as product names or service titles. You can also set up a monitoring service that will report what is being said based on certain keywords you supply it with. If you find inappropriate tweeting about you then report it, if you find complaints answer them, and if you find positive content then share it far and wide.
Whether you’re a business or an individual, an authentic voice is key to a positive Twitter reputation. Do you never reply to those who tweet at you? Do you argue with users who are trying to cause problems? Do you ‘broadcast’ i.e. simply putting statements out into the Twittersphere rather than engaging? Are all your tweets simply chunks of text from a corporate brochure? All of these will ensure that your account has an inauthentic reputation and users will gradually drop away. So perhaps the first thing you might do after reading this blog is to google your own name …