Top 30 sites for freelancers
Every site you'll ever need! check it out →

10 important Twitter Etiquette tips for Freelancers

10 important Twitter Etiquette tips for Freelancers

Twitter encourages people to “join the conversation.” It is certainly very useful for business. Unfortunately, as Twitter becomes more popular, it comes with people who don’t really know how to use it. As a freelancer, one of the things you should be focused on is building your personal brand. You want people to like what you do. I’ve scoured the web in search of what the majority of complaints are about the way people misuse Twitter and proper Twitter Etiquette, and have compiled this list for you.


1. Give credit where credit is due

If you see someone tweet something informative, clever or useful, don’t just copy and paste it so everyone thinks you thought of it.


2. Don’t use automated systems

Have you ever followed someone just to immediately get DM’d a canned, unsolicited response like “Thank you for following me. Check out my other accounts…”? It’s quite annoying. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for productivity. If you can make your job easier, do it – but isn’t the whole point of social media to be…social? My  advise is to keep your Twitter stream personal. Take a look at the unfortunate disaster this tweeter encountered:

Twitter Etiquette: Don't use Automated Services for Twitter

There were more posts, but you get the point.


3. Space out your tweets

You want to have random tweets throughout the day. You’ll gather more followers and won’t annoy your current ones. Consider using a “scheduling” feature, like the one that’s built into Hootsuite or Twuffer.


4. Make use of CamelCase with hashtags, and keep them short.

Remember, as a web developer, you should constantly be asking yourself how you can improve a user’s experience. Eliminating strain to people’s eyes should be a top priority. Which is easier to read? #figurethatoneout or #FigureThatOneOut? #yourwordsnotmine #YourWordsNotMine

 Twitter Etiquette: Avoid using Long hashtags


5. Avoid sunsets, food, and selfies

A common theme throughout this post is that you should be keeping your mind on creating value for your followers. If you’re Justin Beiber , then your fans would obviously appreciate pictures of you (We just couldn’t get through a Twitter article without mention of the Beibs, could we?). Steer away from wasting people’s time with photos like that on Twitter. If you must, use other avenues like Instagram.


6. Don’t thank people for ReTweeting or Following you

Don’t JUST thank them, I mean: “Thanks for the RT!” What you should do instead is include a follow up comment or question for them. “Thanks for RTing! Do you have any experience with this?” Be yourself while thanking them, and converse. Add some sort of interaction and value to your tweet.

 Twitter Etiquette: Don't just thank people for ReTweeting or Following

7. Utilize DM’s

We learned earlier not to group your postings and how annoying it could be. If you’re going to have a full conversation with someone on Twitter, use Direct Messaging, or DM.


8. Check links before ReTweeting

Don’t just blindly ReTweet because you think a link might be useful to your followers. Use preventative measures. You don’t want to send a potential client or colleague to a bad site (I’ll leave the definition of “bad site” up to your imagination). Follow a link and approve of it before you associate yourself with it.

Also keep in mind if you have a link in every tweet, you’re spamming, says Twitter’s TOS (Terms of Service) guidelines (‘…You cannot use Twitter for the purposes of spamming anyone and if your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates, you can be shut down.’)


9. You don’t always have to follow back

This one there’s quite a debate over. You can follow someone and see their updates, but there is absolutely no obligation for them to follow you back. Though I suggest at least checking out their stream and reviewing their account. If you think they provide meaningful information or are just plain fun to follow, then follow them. Twitter isn’t a race to see who can get the most followers. Post useful content and it’s more likely that legitimate users will find you and read your updates. People follow other users on Twitter to read updates that are interesting to them.


10. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

It is dreadfully unpleasant to be around someone who’s injecting unpleasant emotions and vibes into every conversation. Life is already short and tough enough, you don’t need negativity dragging you or others down. Get more in touch with the emotional aspect of the conversation. Be mature, play nice. Above all else, remember that what you post on the internet, even if you delete it, is forever.


What drives you crazy on Twitter? What are some of your best practices? Share your ideas and experiences below.

See you in the Twitterverse. Make sure you’re following @youngwebbuilder. I’m under @scribblesteve

Written by Steve

Steve is a freelance web designer, technologist, educator, Adobe Certified Expert and friend from the San Francisco bay area. He is a incessant seeker of knowledge and tirelessly thinks about how he can make things better. You can learn more about him on his website, or by following him on Twitter: @scribblesteve

  • Pariah Burke

    I am the guy whose Twitter account (@iampariah) is shown as the example in #2, “Don’t use automated systems.” It’s a valid point.

    Yes, that really happened. No, it wasn’t intentional. Yes, I take responsibility for it.

    I was experimenting by using to send messages to unfollowers–one at a time, as they occur–but had a problem and saved them all up until it blasted my account with a dozen or so of those unfollow-follow-ups at once. I’ve since deleted that recipe from my account.

    I take responsibility for that, and good for you, Steve, for calling me on that.

    BTW, that recipe is quite popular on (I didn’t create it, I just used it), so hopefully my experience with it saves others from using it to their own chagrin.

    Steve also says in that section that automated DMs are bad. In general, I agree. However the text he used is also straight from my Twitter account: “Thank you for following me. Check out my other accounts…” In my defense, I run more than 12 Twitter accounts. Except for @iampariah, which is my main account through which I engage, the accounts are news aggregators for creative professionals, who are the majority of people that follow me @iampariah. For instance, I run @Photoshop_GU, @InDesign_GU, and @WorkflowFlash, which provide, respectively, Photoshop-, InDesign-, and Flash- and Flex-related news and resources. I also run @wFreelance, @workWordPress, @workflowEPUB, @DesignJobsLive, and others similar accounts, all of which provide news, resources, and, in the case of @DesignJobsLive, up to the minute full-time, part-time, and freelance job postings for creative professionals in a variety of fields. These multiple accounts allow me to provide a great deal of useful business information to creative professionals while remaining focused on a specific subject.

    The average person who follows @iampariah also follows 6 of my other accounts because the average follower of me on @iampariah is a creative professional for whom some of my other accounts are also very useful. Thus, when someone follows @iampariah or any of the other accounts, there is an automated DM informing them of the existence of some of the others. While that may be annoying to some, the fact that average follower of any of those accounts immediately follows others tells me that people appreciate the heads-up on these related Twitter accounts.

    Great post, Steve. Lots of good information in there. I hope I don’t come off as being defensive. I deserve the criticism on the unfollower message fiasco, and I just wanted to explain that sometimes automated “thanks for following” DMs are appreciated.



    • Steve

      Thank you for your comments, Pariah.

      I didn’t realize the “Thank you for following me. Check out my other accounts…” was your message (Didn’t mean to seem like I was targeting you!). It’s just something I’ve encountered many times before. I can see it’s usefulness if you’re managing multiple accounts like you are. And it’s useful to also know the average follower for your main account also follows 6 others. That’s pretty cool.

  • Pariah Burke

    I’d also like to add my support of #4, using hashtags. Recently a very large creative software company did something that upset a portion of its customers. The company was oblivious to the upset discussion until a hashtag began being included in tweets. It turns out, the company’s name is so big and used so often, they can’t monitor the name on Twitter and other social media; they can only watch hashtags. Once the hashtags started appearing in such frequency, with upset customer messages around them, the company understood what was happening and was able to respond.

    The lesson: If you want to be heard by a particular entity, and you don’t want to or can’t include the entity’s @ twitter handle, use hashtags. It also enables others with the same issues to join the conversation.

  • Ashlyn

    I’ve actually read how there is a lower response rate on automatically added tweets and Facebook posts (such as ones added through Hootsuite) than ones you add personally. And, maybe that is because you don’t have the immediacy with a pre-planned tweet as you would with a tweet that comes on the heels of breaking news being reported.

  • Pingback: Tweet Brander | Fire Up Your Personal Brand. » 10 etiquette-rich Twitter tips for freelancers

  • Pingback: 10 tips for minding your Twitter manners | That Eric Alper

  • Pingback: Friday Roundup March 29, 2013 «