Tweet Tweet, This Is How I Do It

Posted on 05 July 2012

I’m Kay Ross (@kayross), and I love twitter!

I’ve noticed that different people use twitter in different ways, and that’s OK. People often ask me for advice about how to use it, so I thought it would be useful to share how I use it, and what my policies and strategies are about following people, attracting followers, using DMs (Direct Messages), using lists…

That certainly doesn’t mean you have to use twitter exactly the same way I do. But as marketing consultant, I do think that some behaviours on twitter are more likely than others to get you the results you want. So when you’re considering how to use twitter, think about the results you want.

Here’s what I do (and don’t do):

  • I don’t automate my tweets or DMs – it’s all me, in real time.
  • If I follow you and you immediately send me an impersonal auto-DM saying “Thanks for the follow. Visit my website at [link]”, I’ll immediately unfollow you and stick pins in a voodoo doll of you. Here’s why I hate auto-DMs.
  • I tweet about the topics I mention in my bio: marketing, editing, copywriting, performing, comedy, healing, CouchSurfing, and life in Hong Kong.
  • I follow people whose tweets are useful to me and whose interests appeal to me. By “useful”, I mean: relevant, interesting, thought-provoking and/or funny. So if I don’t follow you, the #1 reason is probably that I don’t find your tweets useful.
  • I absolutely do not automatically follow back everyone who follows me (and if I follow you, I don’t expect you to automatically follow me back).
  • I don’t do anything with the sole motivation of attracting more followers. For example, I absolutely do NOT follow thousands of people (ANY people), in the hope that some/all of them will follow me back. And I don’t unfollow people who don’t follow me back. I wouldn’t want people to follow me if they don’t find my content useful, or if their only reason for following me is that they want/expect me to follow them back to boost their numbers.
  • I regularly use to cull the list of people I follow. If you haven’t tweeted in the past 30 days, I’ll unfollow you because your tweetstream is probably no longer useful to me.
  •  I probably won’t follow you if:
    –  your tweets are not about the topics you mention in your bio;
    –  your avatar doesn’t clearly show your face;
    –  your handle, bio, avatar, tweets, website and blog do not give me any indication of who is actually behind the account (especially if it’s a corporate account);
    –  I can’t find your real first name and surname in your twitter handle or bio, or on your website/blog (not even on your “About” page!);
    –  you tweet nothing but inspirational quotes by other people;
    –  you tweet nothing but links to other people’s content;
    –  you tweet about what you ate for lunch;
    –  you don’t credit the author/source when you tweet someone else’s content;
    –  you tweet nothing but RTs of other people’s content;
    –  you promote an MLM company (I’M NOT INTERESTED!);
    –  you don’t engage in conversation;
    –  there’s no personality in your tweets;
    –  you use poor grammar/spelling or lots of textspeak in your tweets and blog posts;
    –  you follow a lot more people than follow you back;
    –  you use the hashtag #teamfollowback in your bio;
    –  your tweets are not useful to me.
  • I block lots of people/accounts that follow me. In particular, I block and report twitter accounts that:
    –  are clearly spambots;
    –  offer to sell twitter followers;
    –  use an image or symbol of cash as their avatar;
    –  send me an @ tweet that’s clearly a spam message that has been sent to lots of other people too;
    –  are full of offensive language;
    –  use a photo of a scantily clad woman with a huge cleavage.
  • I do not automatically post all of Seth Godin’s or Mashable’s blog posts – I assume that if you like them, you’re already following them. But if I DO post one of their blog posts, I give due credit.
  • Hey, I get snarky sometimes, because bad marketing pisses me off.
  • I don’t buy twitter followers.
  • If you choose to unfollow me, that’s fine. I don’t keep track of that because that’s your business, not mine.
  • I always read a blog post or watch a video before I tweet about it. If someone’s tweet includes a link, I always check the link and review the content before I retweet.
  • I absolutely will NOT retweet a message simply because you say “Please RT”. I’ll retweet a message ONLY if I think it’s going to be useful/relevant/interesting/funny to my followers, so there’s no need to say “Please RT”.
  •  If I retweet someone’s message or blog post, that doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with it; it could just mean that I think it’s thought-provoking and contributes something useful to the debate. I guarantee, though, that I will NOT retweet something that’s badly written.
  • I don’t care about my Klout score, or yours, because I think a Klout score is meaningless. In fact, I deleted my Klout account.
  • I prefer not to post lots of public thank you messages or engage in public online conversations that I think should be private. (I don’t like seeing tweetstreams that are full of irrelevant @ messages to people I don’t know or follow.)
  • When I follow someone, I almost always add them to one or more of my lists (but I’m annoyed that twitter allows us to create a maximum of only 20 lists, with a maximum of 500 people per list).
  • I regularly check and respond to my incoming DMs.
  • I try to keep my blatantly self-promotional tweets down to less than 10% of my tweets – I prefer to post useful content; share other people’s useful resources; recommend people and events; ask and answer questions; engage in conversation… However, I do have a business to run, so yes, sometimes I do promote myself.
  • I do NOT automate the cross-posting of the same message on twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In fact it really pisses me off when people do that, because the three channels are different animals, with different conventions and etiquette. So if I post a similar message on two or three of those channels, I’ll change the wording to make it fit the medium.
  • On average, I post about four times a day. That means that some days, I tweet more often than that, and some days I take a break and don’t tweet at all.
  • If you don’t follow me on twitter, I won’t accept your request to publish your guest post on my blog. (But hey, simply following me on twitter won’t guarantee that I’ll publish your guest post on my blog.)
  • I manage the twitter account of People’s Liberation Improv (@PLIHongKong), an English-language improvisation troupe here in Hong Kong, because I’m a member of the troupe.
  • I’m a member of the organising team of Hong Kong Social (hashtag: #HKSocial), a group of twitter enthusiasts in Hong Kong. We have a face-to-face breakfast meetup (in English), usually on the first Friday of the month, at which two or three guest speakers share helpful tips about social media.
  • I love twitter. I’m not so keen on Facebook – I use it only to keep in touch with people I know and like in real life, and to keep up-to-date about events in Hong Kong.
  • If you don’t like anything I’ve said here, please feel free to unfollow me, or not to follow me at all. Your call.

Some other blog posts I’ve written about twitter

Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!

If I Haven’t Followed You Back On Twitter, Here’s Why

Twitter Bios and Twetiquette

Crediting the Writer – It’s Just Common Courtesy

Please Don’t Make it Hard for Me to Find Your Name

And my “Twitter Tips and Resources” series (now up to Part 68), in which I compile and share resources by lots of great people.

Due credit

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post like this for ages. What finally prompted me to do it was seeing this: “How I Tweet in a Nutshell (55 behaviors from a twitter nut!)” by Pam Moore (@PamMktgNut).

How do you tweet?

So that’s how I tweet. I’d love to hear from you – how do you feel about what I’ve written here? How do YOU like to use twitter?


4 responses to Tweet Tweet, This Is How I Do It

  • […] “Tweet Tweet, This Is How I Do It” by Kay Ross (yes, that’s me, @kayross) […]

  • Frances says:

    Hello Kay from the Emerald Isle! I want to use this great post as part of a presentation I’m giving this Wednesday here in Ireland – see more here:

    This post is a really useful guide for everyone who uses or is thinking about using Twitter, so I hope you are ok with me using it? My audience will be a mix of experienced tweeps as well as Twitter newbies. I will of course credit you & send Irish social justice advocates to your blog.

    Many thanks,


    • kay says:

      Hello Frances – yes, I’d be honoured if you used my post as part of your presentation. I’m glad you like it. I hope your presentation goes well – let me know. Kay

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