Twitter Guidelines Most People Don’t Know About

July 26, 2012
Twitter for Business

Twitter is well-known for being loosie goosie when it comes to rules. Marketing on Twitter is much simpler than Facebook. Brands have no restrictions and anyone can freely use it as long as they don’t violate trademarks. If you ask people why they Tweet it’s open for interpretation. You make it what you want. Historically it has been far less restrictive than Facebook whose guidelines for brands and people are lengthy and vague. And, whose features have become more complex as they herd Facebookers into using the platform the way they’d intend us to. To see paid ads/stories. We’ll leave that discussion for another time. Back to our beloved little bird…

You’d be surprised to know that our beloved bird is no longer ours. Remember the days of fun little birds we illustrated or purchased on iStock to market our Twitter brand? And, the fun we had in customizing Twitter icons to match our website? Oh, yes, sorry that’s still most of us today. Well, those days are over according to the new brand guidelines Twitter corporate released in June. They impact everything from how we ask for followers to how we talk about a “Tweet on Twitter”. That last part follows the new guidelines. The key take away: Don’t mess with the bird or you could receive an unwanted visit from Twitter’s lawyers.

PROS: It protects the brand and dispels confusion. Everyone now has much needed clarification around brand use which promotes standardization.

CONS: It hinders creativity among designers and the Twitter-using community, and forces language that will sometimes seem unnatural. Case in point “Tweet me on Twitter…”

I’d have to argue that even Facebook does not have such stringent rules around brand use. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a letter from Facebook saying “you’d better change that follow icon, you’re website is way out of line buddy!” OK I’m exagerating but only a little bit.

Social Media Club recently held a round table discussion about Twitter rules led by Kari Embree. Kari has done the dirty work for us by reviewing Twitter brand guidelines in detail and putting together a handy cheat sheet. You can Tweet her on Twitter @karilikesafari. Download the rules cheat sheet now to find out how it impacts your Twitter marketing. Whether or not you agree with them, it’s important to stay informed. (Cheat sheet no longer available).

I have to admit I’m disappointed in Twitter for going so corporate. Did they have to take it this far? I feel little bit unappreciated as one of many early adopters who helped turn “tweeting” into a verb and “tweet me” into a standard salutation. I was “that girl” who proudly wore my bird on t-shirts and loved creating friendly signs for tweetups reading “welcome tweeters”. I wore my Twitter heart on my sleeve. Now it’s illegal.

Do you think the new Twitter rules are helpful or hindering? Leave me a comment.

Interested in attending Social Media Club San Diego’s next round table? Learn about The Social Hour here.

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