|Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert is an award-winning entrepreneur, an attorney, a New York Times best-selling author, a media personality and a highly sought after keynote speaker.|
Are Your Customers Hitting the Twitter Mute Button?
"Excuse me, honey. What did you say? I wasn't paying attention."
These words—or some very similar—are uttered in living rooms around the world every evening, and now Twitter is bringing the same phenomena to its online world.
The latest version of Twitter's iOS and Android apps includes a mute feature. Simply put, when you hit the Twitter mute button for people you follow, you're still subscribing to their feeds, but they are removed from the content you see until you "unmute" them.
If you'll let me go back to comparing the Twitter relationship to a marriage, the danger with the Twitter mute feature is that it could be a trial separation that leads to eventual divorce. You don't want that, so it's smart to know what kind of Twitter behavior can prompt your small business followers to hit the mute button and this is where it gets a little tricky.
Frankly, all the conventional wisdom tells us that we need to tweet rather frequently to get the kind of branding horsepower out of it that we desire. Many social media mavens recommend as many as 14 tweets a day, Monday through Friday, and about half that on the weekends.
If you're consistently churning out 14 tweets a day, is that enough to push the needle on the "Annoyance Meter" into the red and motivate followers to hit mute? The general answer is no, but here's the caveat: Your content must be consistently informative and/or engaging.
When you give some thought to your Tweets, this shouldn't be a problem. And your primary thought should be a question you ask yourself: Will my followers like this? Step outside of yourself for a moment and try to honestly judge the quality of your content from the perspective of your follower.
What to avoid
Here are some instances when I think your followers would be inclined to mute you:
You're at an event and you get so overwhelmed by the experience that you go into "moment-by-moment tweet mode." Everything you're seeing and hearing is knocking your figurative socks off and you want to share it. Don't. Be more thoughtful. You aren't Beyonce getting ready to go onstage at London's O2 Arena.
In situations like these, collect your thoughts, take photos when appropriate and publish solid content throughout the social media platforms a little later. This also allows you to make better, more strategic use of the information you've gathered.
Someone engages you in a long public conversation. This shouldn't be a major problem for small businesses, but be sensitive to the fact that the general public won't care about prolonged "back-and-forths" between you and anyone else. If you see one of these starting to take off, switch channels before users hit their mute button.