What do Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama have in common?

They each have over 9 million followers on Twitter.  And they each know their hash tags from their hash browns.

But there are millions of Twitter users who don’t.

Twitter in a nutshell:

There are currently 200 million Twitter accounts.

And Twitterers are sending 200 million tweets a day – 200 MILLION.

That’s a lot of communication.  Much of it is fascinating, but there’s a lot more that’s not.

If you’re using Twitter to grow your business, you need to focus on the needs of your audience when sharing content.

Here’s a list of Tweets that you should avoid publishing if you want to use it for business:

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Nastiness to other businesses makes them sad, and your customers sadder

1. “@Someone’sName – Your business is rubbish and I hope you go bust soon.

Bad-mouthing your competitors won’t endear you to your followers, your friends, or your customers.

2. “Think I’ll have cheese on toast for lunch.

That may be the case, but if I follow your tweets, I’m not all that interested in what you’re having for lunch (unless you’re a celebrity, or you’re my husband who’s supposed to be on a diet).

3. “Does anyone want a bargain break in Cornwall?

Are you talking to me (your follower), or are you talking to a big crowd?  Using ‘anyone‘ in your tweet makes your followers feel like a number.

Talk directly to them.  “Do you want a bargain break in Cornwall?”

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Keep it relevant and useful - avoid sharing the more intimate details of your life

4. “I can smell dog poo.

I don’t want to know that – no-one does.

(You may need to check the bottom of your shoes before you get up from your chair, but don’t tell your Twitter followers what you find there).

5. “To be a chicken with wings is better than to be a banana in a fridge.

What?!  Whimsical life lessons are for the pages of tiny books with light blue covers.  Unless your business is all about inner sight and reflection, keep the cryptic wisdom off your Twitter feed.

6. “OMG u aint doin nuffin. Gna c ya l8a. Lol!

Text speak is sneaking into our everyday lives – every Summer the press tells us stories of students’ exam papers written entirely in abbreviated text speak, leading to media debates about the importance of the apostrophe in modern Britain (don’t get me started).

My Facebook feed sometimes looks like it’s written in a foreign language (I know I sound like an old person – I’m not – promise), but unless your audience is 15, write words.  Pls. ThanQ.

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The hashtag is your friend - use it sparingly

7. “If I #use #hashtags lots I will #show #up in #more #search #results – #goodnews.

No.  No-one will be able to understand your tweets if you cram them with # after # – try and keep it to three hashtags maximum per tweet, and only use them where #relevant.

8. “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.

This one is genuine – Cisco withdrew their job offer, tweeting: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

If you tweet it, you’re sharing it with anyone and everyone – if you wouldn’t want your boss/mum/ex to read it, don’t tweet it.

9. “Just off to meet a client – in the worst town I’ve ever been to – hope the car’s still there when I come out.

Being rude about your client/s or their town will come back on you – and it doesn’t make you look all that professional either.

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Ethical, honest, genuine - values we look for in a business

10. “Wow I’ve just made $1 million dollars with this amazing web tool and it only costs £1000 to buy – try it now!

Make loads of money doing nothing!  Just click here.

If it’s too good to be true, it’s not true.

Publicising schemes on Twitter that involve spending money to ‘guarantee’ a massive return on investment, will destroy any credibility you’ve built up and get you unfollowed quicker than you can type:

“How do I spell gullible?”

Spammers hang out on Twitter as well as on email (and in direct mail, and Facebook, and blogs).  Don’t be one of them.

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Look into my eyes - and give me something useful please - thank you, Twitter x

Twitter is about adding value, having conversations, engaging with others and building relationships – respect the people who take the time to follow you and don’t waste their time with rubbish.

PS I’ll be giving more Twitter tips at my next social media 1/2 day training session – on Thursday 21st July in St Austell, Cornwall.  Find out more info including how to book your place here.