5 ways your small business can avoid getting muted by followers on Twitter

John VanBeekum / Miami Herald

Special to the Herald

Twitter recently announced a new “mute” feature that has received both accolades and jeers from its 255 million users. Muting a user on the popular microblogging site means that you will no longer see the user’s tweets or retweets in your timeline. In addition, you’ll no longer be able to receive SMS notifications (Short Message Service, which is basically a text message) from the user that you’ve muted.

Twitter offers the ability to unmute whenever you wish. Muted users won’t know that they’ve been muted: They can still click the “favorite” button, retweet or reply to a tweet that you’ve posted. When you’ve muted a particular user, you won’t be able to see that activity on your timeline. However, others who have not muted that user will be able to see those favorites, retweets and replies on their timelines.

Empowered with the ability to mute, some Twitter users have praised how they can cut down on unwanted information cluttering their timelines. They can also quiet those who tweet too often (send genuine content more than three times a day) or engage in Twitter spamming (when users send random advertising messages constantly to Twitter accounts).

However, there are legions of users frustrated by the mute feature’s notable exception: companies that pay to advertise on Twitter.

Companies that use Promoted Tweets are immune from the mute feature on Twitter: The mute button isn’t offered on Promoted Tweets and will always appear in a user’s timeline.

So what does that mean for small business owners who use Twitter to market their products and services? Here are five ways your small business can avoid getting muted.

1. Focus on quality content. Now that users can silence those they don’t want to hear from, it is imperative that you, the small business owner, focus on producing quality content. Keep content interesting, short and to the point. Limit content to information your followers can use, such as sales, discounts and other promotions. Putting time into creating quality content will reduce the likelihood that you’ll be silenced.

2. Use direct messaging sparingly. Wondering if you should DM followers on Twitter as a way around the mute feature? Think again. Sending too many direct messages to your followers won’t get you muted, but it will get your message blocked, which means that you’ve lost a potential customer. Avoid the temptation to DM too often, and instead spend that time polishing your content.

3. Try Promoted Tweets. Advertisers pay to appear in Promoted Tweets. Because they’re an advertising product of Twitter, Promoted Tweets can’t be muted. Consider using this avenue to promote your own business. You can get more information here — Most small business owners have minimal marketing budgets; with Promoted Tweets, much like Facebook and other social networking platforms that sell advertising, you can set a budget that works for you.

4. Don’t tweet too often. Carefully consider the number of times that you tweet each day to reduce your chances of being put on mute by your followers. And again, make sure the content you’re tweeting is of the highest quality to hold your followers’ interest. To avoid being muted, make sure you tweet no more than three times within 24 hours.

5. Cut down on live tweeting. Tweeting live from an event, conference or other gathering can result in being muted, particularly by your followers who are not participating in the event. Instead of live-tweeting often from an event, plan and send what you consider the three most important pieces of content that will be useful to your followers — and go with that.

You can reach Tasha Cunningham on Twitter@MediaPRBranding.

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