You’re Doing Twitter Chats #Wrong When…

Providing counsel on Twitter, and sometimes specifically Twitter chats, frequently falls in our laps at the request of clients.  While we’ve all seen the ‘best practices’ for these things, there are of course, worst practices.  Some of my top ones, as well as those of some contributors, are below.  What are some of the worst practices you’ve seen?

You’re doing Twitter wrong for clients if you:

  • Suggest they can use any hashtag they want: It may be actively used by another group – this is particularly true if you’re intending to use an acronym.
  • Hint that they should hijack a conversation: This is unfortunately very easy to do – find a regular conversation and provide comments parallel with the discussion at hand but not actually be engaged in the conversation.
  • Use hashtags that are too long: All the participants will be limited to 140 characters, don’t eat up too many of those with the hashtag (submitted by Paige Holden, on twitter here, here, and here).
  • Using a company name exclusively: Unless you’re a major brand that everyone will recognize.  And even then it becomes too easy for a simple mention or customer complaint to get inserted into the chat (also submitted by Paige).
  • Using confusing or obtuse hashtags: Hashtags should give some indication of what the chat is about. It certainly helps with brand/ topic recognition.
  • Along the same lines – using an acronym that has multiple meaning: For example remember ‘PR’ isn’t just public relation, but also Puerto Rico. Guess how many things ADA, AMA, and APA stand for?
  • Tell them you’ll register the hashtag: There is no legitimate hashtag registration process.  There are a few ‘registries’ that sprung up for organizational purposes, but no one owns a tag and so are effectively completely meaningless.
  • Suggest they use a hashtag to get an audience without researching it: For example, even if they’re a tech startup in NYC, the #NYC hashtag tends to be used by anyone referencing the city, not necessarily the completely appropriate audience, find something better.

So do tell loyal readers – what’s the worst of the worst you’ve seen when it comes to this?

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