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Don’t Be Rude: Twitter Etiquette Tips That Woo

  |   Classy Marketing, Online Etiquette, Social Media Marketing   |   9 Comments

Don't be rude! Take these Twitter etiquette tips and woo your fans.


Do you know what to say when someone follows or retweets you on Twitter? What about when someone favorites your tweet?


Do you clutter your newsfeed with dozens of  “thanks!” and risk annoying your other followers? Or is it OK to, well, do nothing?


It’s easy to figure out how to use this chat-based social network (click, type, done!), but knowing how to make a positive impression every time you come in contact with people on Twitter can stump even the most well-intended of us.

(Like you + me. 🙂 )


In today’s blog post I share my online etiquette advice with Lauren, the author of the beautifully wise blog Breathe & Nourish.

She writes:


Hi Erika! I have a question as it pertains to Twitter etiquette. If I am mentioned or if someone talks to me, I do my best to always reply, just as I do every comment on my blog. I would also say I reply to about 80% of my retweets. But as a follower, I get annoyed sometimes when my feed is just filled with people thanking other people for following or for tons of retweets. I usually don’t welcome new followers… is this viewed as rude? Should I be welcoming each and every new follower? (Oh and what about favorites??)  — Lauren




That is such a great question!  Your point about it being annoying to see tons of tweets in the newsfeed saying “thanks for following!” is a good one, and I feel the same way. I think it’s nice that people want to acknowledge new followers (and it IS good etiquette), but I also think there’s a better way to do it that’s more genuine than simply throwing out a canned “thank you.”


(In fact, many people don’t even do it personally…they’re using programs that automatically respond to each new follow! How authentic is that?! The sad reality is that people are so used to getting a generic thank you on Twitter that it doesn’t impact them at all.)


My advice? Instead of welcoming each and every new follower with the same old response, and potentially aggravating others, take a moment to check out their profile/newsfeed — and, if you have a moment, their website. Try to find something you have in common, like, or find useful, and send them a tweet with your thoughts.


You can include a thank you or not, it’s up to you, but it’s really not necessary. That person is going to find it more memorable that you actually took the time to find out who they are, and that you cared enough to tweet them a personalized message.


As an example, I recently followed someone (the fabulous Kim Herrington of Bear and Beagle Creative!) who followed back shortly after…then tweeted me a wish for a happy birthday.


I was totally baffled! I couldn’t figure out how she knew it was my birthday! When I asked her about it, she pointed out that I had tweeted about it a few hours earlier.


This meant that she not only took the time to scroll through my feed, but she also took the time to reach out in a personal way. I was IMPRESSED.


Now she is someone who I pay attention to when I see her name come up in my feed, I make it a point to keep up on her blog, and we’ve had several great conversations. But this is only the case because she treated me like a real human being.


As you might expect, this same approach also works for retweets. If it’s not your own content and you are able to chat for a few minutes, try a response that builds rapport and initiates a conversation: “It was a great article, wasn’t it?” or “What did you think about the author’s point on __________? That was my favorite part!”


But if circumstances are that you just can’t give a delightfully lovely response at the time (I get it — we all have periods where we’re overwhelmed and other things simply must take priority), you have another option.


If they’ve retweeted your link to your new blog post it’s OK to say something simple but clearly grateful. “Thank you so much for taking the time to read!” or “I’m glad you enjoyed!” both work well.


If all else fails, look through what they’ve tweeted recently and see if there’s anything there that YOU can retweet. That’s always a nice way to return the favor, and people will be thrilled that you’ve helped give them more exposure.


As far as favorites are concerned, I wouldn’t worry yourself too much about personally responding to those. I like to see who favorited it, and depending on who it is, follow them. (I can get a lot of odd — aka: spammy — accounts favoriting my stuff, so I don’t follow people who favorite as a strict rule.)


If we’re mutual followers, I make it a point to pay more attention to them and interact more with their tweets. But it never, ever hurts to tweet them something thoughtful, personal, and kind.


A good rule of thumb? If you have the time, be as personal — and interested — as possible. You can never be too classy. Plus, the better you treat people, the more you’ll benefit!


Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)



OK readers, chime in! What advice do you have about Twitter etiquette? What do you say to people who follow, retweet, or favorite?


(Have your own burning question about social media marketing, online etiquette, or managing your digital reputation? Contact me for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming blog post!)


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  • When someone follows me on Twitter, I send them a DM rather than clogging up everyone’s feed with my gratitude to that person.

  • Aw thanks gal! I’m glad you think I’m fab.

    I agree with Maria that using DMs is good for many scenarios. However, in the case where it was your birthday, I wanted people who follow both of us to know that so you’d get even more birthday wishes! Thinking about the scenario makes more sense then a general rule.

    It’s also wise to consider if the conversation will help continue to your followers’ experience. Say I start a conversation with another expert on a topic that’s near mine, like copywriting or analytics management. If I frame my questions and conversation as a way that my audience will benefit, it will increase my overall relationships, not just that one with that expert.

    • Kim, that’s smart advice. I know from my own experience that I have benefited greatly from “listening in” on some Twitter conversations. Thank you for sharing that tip.

  • I love this Erika! I feel like I’m failing at Twitter in a major way (probably because I hate it, haha) and etiquette is something that I’m still learning. Your birthday story is awesome-if someone wished me a random happy b-day I would DEFINITELY notice. Thanks Erika!

    • You bring up such an important point Karen! It’s really hard to be good at something you don’t like. 😉 Twitter is definitely NOT for everybody. Sometimes in blogging or business it’s a “necessary evil,” but as important as social media marketing is I tend to say that if you don’t really NEED a certain network…don’t use it! Devote your time to the platform(s) you like best — and where you see the best results/engagement/interest. Those places are usually where you’ll naturally shine!

  • Excellent Twitter tips! I love when people use them for me, and I’m working hard to make sure I reciprocate. I’m pretty new to Twitter still, but I’ve already made some amazing connections, including you!

    Much love.

    Beverly Bean

    • Beverly that means so much to me. I’m really glad that this post helped you. 🙂 I know how difficult it can be sometimes, but the effort is worth it!

      I’m so glad we’ve connected, too!

  • Hey this was a really great post Erika. I always say thank you to RT’s but never to new followers. I usually follow them back as a thank you unless they seem spammy or don’t seem to tweet anything I’d be remotely interested in or they look like they’re jis fishing for followers.

    I find it interesting that people would get their feeds cluttered with thank yous because I was under the impression that tweets that begin with @username don’t go to the main feed for everyone to see.

    I don’t like thank yous via DM because I feel those clutter my “inbox” and most of them are automatic anyway so I wouldn’t really know if it was real or not.