Twitter Best Practices

  • Be a real person. Use humor and/or empathy to create short, sweet, casual, interesting, compelling, insightful, "insider" message with a friendly tone.
  • Check your facts before you tweet.
  • Pay attention to replies, answer questions and engage in conversation—people love that you are a real person. (see first bullet)
  • Shorten the URLs that you post links to with a url shortener. Give URLs context so that users trust it is a good link.
  • Search for your agency name or acronym to learn of users' good/bad experiences, and respond to them.
  • If you have RSS feeds on your regular website or blogs, consider pushing the headlines to Twitter. There are many tools that let you set time increments for how often you want the feed to push to twitter. Many of these tools also give you demographic information, letting you see who's interested in your content and what topics are more appealing.
  • Consider establishing multiple accounts to represent your agency. This can be very helpful for local audiences who are interested in very local information (for instance, it's highly valuable for a state agency to have someone who knows about projects in a local area).
    • A person as the face of the agency
    • Agency account
  • Get a developer in your IT shop to learn the Twitter API, which will help you introduce:
    • Direct messaging features including delivering direct messages to an agency e-mail account for response as needed.
    • Records retention/Public Records Request (options include downloading xml for your tweets daily for records retention or using a service like TwitterMail or TwInbox which lets you automate record retention by using e–mail)
    • Back up your Twitter account

Timing is everything

  • Do not put important messages out on a Friday. Twitter has many more visitors Monday – Thursday, with the highest traffic on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • If you do send a tweet later in the week, retweet a variation of it on the following Monday. Tweets get easily lost.

Security Concerns

  • Use a very strong password for your account and change it often.
  • Don't click on another user's short URL unless they have given it fair context and you trust their source.
  • Don't retweet a shortened URL unless you have verified the link.

Additional Resources

The inclusion of advertising, logos, or website links on this document/Web page does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services so advertised.



Content Lead: Justin Herman
Page Reviewed/Updated: March 19, 2012

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