This quick checklist is aimed at communications professionals on Twitter… who are likely to be, or want to be, tweeting for employers, clients or broadly as an individual in the industry:
1 State any client relationship within the tweet
If you mention a client, or share their news, or promotional content, whether they have asked you to or not, in a tweet, you should declare the relationship – for example this can be done neatly by using the #client hashtag
2 Declare financial compensation
Any tweets sent by any individual as part of paid advertising or social PR activity must include the #ad hashtag in line with UK regulations. This should be applied to your own tweets and if you ask any another person (e.g. blogger, celebrity, other influencer) to tweet for your client. If you are tweeting for any extended period of time as part of sponsored activity, also consider including a short description of the promotion in your Twitter bio during that period for absolute transparency.
3 Check any link before sharing
Read everything you tweet or retweet before sharing, if the tweet contains a link- check what it leads to – if you share without doing this your followers may not get what you bargained for. Sometimes tweeters will change or use uneexpected links to spread viruses or other objectionable content, or for comedy value like @Glinner did here (the link he posts is not actually from the Huffington post as you might expect):
OK, an extreme example, but expecting this, or not? 😮 (Tip: this is not the original link the Huffington Post tweeted!)
4 Use the delete button
If you make a mistake, and no one else has yet screen-shotted or picked up on it… you can delete your tweet to avoid most people seeing it. That is, unless you are a US politician who falls foul of Politwoops:
5 Absolve your employer in your bio
Specify in your Twitter bio that your views are your own – unless you are specifically tweeting as a mouthpiece for your employer.
6 Double check your tweets when using management tools
Be careful if you’re managing multiple accounts (employer, client, your own, your secret identities) on a tool like Hootsuite, it’s all too easy to post to the wrong account by mistake. Always check which accounts are ticked and review the account you thought you were going to post to after you hit send, to see if your tweet does indeed appear there.
Companies who find themselves at the centre of a high-profile mistake like this would do well to take a leaf out of the Red Cross’s book and not take it too seriously. When the tweet above was erroneously put out on their Twitter account, they responded with humour and wit, rather than condemnation and drama, thus:
7 Build respectful, reciprocal relationships
Reciprocal relationships (you follow them, they follow you) with people you most want to reach is where Twitter is most valuable to communication pros, especially for those last minute asks. Always operate on a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, basis, and try these tips for taking your use of Twitter to the next level.