Twitter Tips Part Three: Professionalism & Best Practices

The theme of Part Three is professionalism and best practices (mostly for writers and bloggers, but the tips are applicable to any tweeter.)

As I discussed in the previous two posts, Twitter is a powerful tool. So powerful, in fact, you’re making impressions in ways you might not realize–sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. With that in mind, it’s important to remember:

1. EVERY TWEET REPRESENTS YOU: Even people without Twitter accounts can see your tweets when they Google your name and click on your Twitter profile. Think potential literary agents, editors, readers, employers, and your mother-in-law. Of course if you choose to “protect” your tweets that’s not the case, but I caution against it. Protected tweets are right for some people, but not for those of you trying to gain a following of book buyers, blog readers, etc.

2. AUTHENTICITY VS. TMI: Whatever you do, be genuine. Don’t be afraid of honesty, humor, and all the good stuff that makes you follow other people. But remember, Twitter isn’t your journal. There is such a thing as too much information and tweeting too often.

Here’s a good example of too much honesty: Literary agent, Janet Reid, wrote a post warning writers not to Tweet or blog about the query process when they’re right in the middle of it. I couldn’t agree more. Why would you want to advertise your rejections while other agents have your manuscript?

3. DON’T BE A DIVA: Part A. Unless you’re Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult, or Judy Blume, you kind of have to follow some people back. I’m not saying you have to follow everyone. I certainly don’t. But if someone seems like a genuine reader, fellow writer (no matter what stage in the publishing process they are), fellow blogger, and an honest to goodness fan who doesn’t overtweet, I don’t see why you wouldn’t make their day and follow back. You can still be discerning. I tend not to follow people back who constantly complain, people who write endless lists of #FF (Follow Fridays), people who constantly write public tweets that should be @replies (more on that in Part IV), and people who are selling a product. (That includes authors who tweet about their books and nothing else, as well as bloggers who push the same post 15 times a day.)

Making lists will help you organize your followers as you go along so you’re not overwhelmed by an absurd amount of tweets. I wrote about the how and why of lists in my previous Twitter Tips post.

4. DON’T BE A DIVA: Part B. The follow back issue is negotiable. What’s not negotiable is responding to people who talk to you on Twitter. If you have 10,000+ followers, you obviously can’t respond to everyone. At least make it a point to respond to various people from time to time rather than only focusing on your friends (blogging friends, author friends, etc.)  This relates closely to #5.

5. KEEP YOUR GOALS IN MIND: You ever hear people say Twitter is cliquey? If you’re on Twitter to sell books or attract readers to your blog, you simply can’t afford to spend ALL of your Twitter time chatting with the same handful of people all the time. If you only want to interact with your real life author friends or the virtual friends you met when you started blogging, then Twitter might not be the best venue for increasing your blog audience or your book sales. (Back to Facebook for YOU!)

As always, I hope this post was helpful! Happy Tweeting, Nina


photo credit: by tveskov via Flickr


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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at and Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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36 Responses to Twitter Tips Part Three: Professionalism & Best Practices
  1. Erika D.
    March 14, 2011 | 6:31 am

    Yes, I think Part 4 is inevitable! Thanks for this, Nina.

  2. Barbara Forte Abate
    March 14, 2011 | 6:44 am

    As someone who is still wading their way through Twitter, your posts have been wonderfully informative and especially helpful, Nina. As with so many things in life, it really does help when one has something of a clue as to what they’re actually trying to do :-)

  3. Shell
    March 14, 2011 | 7:13 am

    Great tips- I just did a post on twitter don’ts today. Yours is definitely more professional than mine, I was just poking fun at twitter pet peeves. 😉

  4. Julia
    March 14, 2011 | 8:16 am

    Thank you for another great Twitter tutorial! It’s so helpful to get these tips on professionalism and etiquette–it is definitely a challenge to come across authentically yet appropriately when someone doesn’t know you….especially in 140 words! Often I end up either tweeting too much because I just don’t know how to say something; or holding myself back for fear of mis-stepping. Your blogs definitely make the road seem less treacherous! THANK YOU!

  5. annegreenwoodbrown
    March 14, 2011 | 8:42 am

    oh yes… please do a fourth post on modified tweets. I’ve wondered about that.

  6. J.A. Paul
    March 14, 2011 | 11:17 am

    Your series posts on twitter are a great resource no matter if you are a newbie or experienced twitter user. A chance to refresh everyone’s frame of mind about twitter is wonderful. Thanks, Nina!

  7. Tanya
    March 14, 2011 | 11:47 am

    Very informative! It makes me glad that I don’t have a book/blog/career needs twitter, because I’m just too opinionated to keep my mouth shut sometimes LOL.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 14, 2011 | 11:58 am

      HI Tanya! Well, I think opinionated is not a bad thing. It’s the cliquishness/snobbishness that can turn off readers/buyers more than anything else.


  9. Anne R. Allen
    March 14, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    Yes, please to part 4. I’ve got no idea what a MT is.

    Thanks so much for this whole series. You wouldn’t believe what a Twitter-twit I’ve been. I couldn’t even find my @ messages for the first year. And this is so important “Even people without Twitter accounts can see your tweets when they Google your name and click on your Twitter profile. ”

    This is the best guide to Twitter I’ve found. Thanks a bunch!

  10. julie gardner
    March 14, 2011 | 3:14 pm

    Yes yes yes to Part IV. This is so important. (and I am so very dumb.)
    I really appreciate the work you’re doing here to be sure everyone’s experience on Twitter is as productive (and non-destructive??) as possible.


  11. liz
    March 14, 2011 | 3:28 pm

    Totally inevitable! :)

    And your new badge works wonderfully, BTW.

  12. Scary Mommy
    March 14, 2011 | 4:02 pm

    Totally laughing at my name being included. :) I do love this series. Wish Twitter would give it away as an e-book upon an account being opened. Can you look into that?

  13. Amanda Hoving
    March 14, 2011 | 4:06 pm

    Very good points, Nina. I often think “TMI” when scrolling down my twitter stream. You can be “you” without burning bridges.

  14. Penelope
    March 14, 2011 | 4:22 pm

    These are really, really good tips!

  15. Jack
    March 14, 2011 | 5:21 pm

    Nicely done. Twitter can be a vast and wild wilderness for some. You have done a good job of helping to clear away some of the brush.

  16. Ashley Graham
    March 14, 2011 | 5:59 pm

    Thanks for this post, Nina! You’ve sent me on a Twitter editing frenzy to see if I’ve abused any of these things! Looking forward to reading more. :-)

  17. Megan (Best of Fates)
    March 15, 2011 | 3:30 pm

    Such great advice – now I need to check out my Twitter feed and make sure I’m following it!

  18. Amy Fellner Dominy
    March 15, 2011 | 10:23 pm

    Thanks Nina! I really appreciate these posts and learn a lot from them. Will keep my eyes out for #4.

  19. […] Badzin adds a new post to her Twitter Tips […]

  20. Hallie Sawyer
    March 22, 2011 | 9:53 am

    I may or may not have been guilty of TMI. :) I blame it on all the great people I’ve met through Twitter and I MAY have gotten a little too comfortable. Great tips on keeping it professional.

    I hope you include #FF’s in your next installment! How to do it PROPERLY would be great. Effective #FFing…I will RT the heck out of that post!!

    Love your Twitter tutorials–great idea!

    • Julia
      March 22, 2011 | 9:58 am

      I’m with Hallie — #FF and #WW assistance — along with *how to respond* to #FFs and #WWs — greatly needed. Actually, how to thank other tweeters in general for mentions, comments on blogs, retweets, #FFs and #WWs, would be greatly appreciated! :) And, I too, will retweet the heck out of it!!

  21. Alexandra
    March 23, 2011 | 6:24 pm

    For my sake, a Part 4, please.

  22. Camille Noe Pagán
    March 27, 2011 | 8:32 pm

    Nina, I love these (especially about following fellow writers back–so off-putting when someone has a zillion followers but only follows a handful of people) and wish I would have read them when I joined Twitter last year.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2011 | 7:37 am

      Thank you, Camille! I agree…following hardly anybody is off putting. So trick is to know who to (not an art) and how follow (lists are key).

  23. […] (Twitter Tips Part Three) […]

  24. Sara (sarasexpletives)
    May 4, 2011 | 11:51 am

    This was the most helpful (and entertaining) post I’ve read on Twitter. Thank you for taking the time to write it! I would LOVE a part four about hashtags and MTs!!

    • Nina Badzin
      May 5, 2011 | 10:06 am

      Oh thank you! I’m working on part IV which will include some pet peeves too. :)

  25. CMSmith
    May 19, 2011 | 6:34 am

    I think you just saved my life with these three posts. And yes on the hastags.

  26. […] TWITTER TIPS PART IV (Twitter Tips Part III is here) […]

  27. Cynthia Robertson
    May 31, 2011 | 7:40 am

    Gosh, Nina, how did you learn all this? Invaluable information. I can see I’ve been guilty of some mistakes. Now I’m afraid to Tweet at all until I figure it all out! Especially the lists thing. When my followers got to a certain number I got overwhelmed. I’m sure using lists will help. And please do a post of hashtags and what they are used for!
    Great posts on Twitter. Thank you!!

    • Nina Badzin
      May 31, 2011 | 7:58 am


      hi! Thanks for reading the posts. Listen, some things are “rules” and some are my opinion. The difference between an @reply and a regular Tweet is important and not my opinion. The stuff about thanking people and how and when is more of an opinion. I’ve been on Twitter a bit over a year . . . I learned things over time. It’s the only way! I hope my posts speed things up for others. Nina :)

  28. […] rest is here: Twitter Tips: Part Three | Nina Badzin Be Sociable, Share! Tweet This entry was posted in Twitter Marketing and tagged tweet, […]

  29. […] Twitter Tips: Professionalism and Best Practices […]

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