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What Twitter’s New Mute Feature Means For Marketers

We all have that one friend. They’re opinionated, often uninformed and have no filter whatsoever. And for some reason, we follow them on Twitter. If you’ve ever wished that you could find a switch to turn off their half-baked tweets for a few days (or months, or years…), now you can.

Twitter recently unveiled a new “mute” feature that allows you to remove a user’s tweets and retweets from your timeline and block their push or SMS notifications. The silenced user will not be notified of their “muted” status, as they can still send you direct messages and favorite, reply to and retweet your tweets. This means that you’re only one click away from silencing someone you follow in a way that leaves them blissfully unaware.

While this might be great news for personal users, this is somewhat terrifying for marketers. Though someone who is truly annoyed with a company’s Twitter activity is more likely to unfollow than mute, they still have the option to shut off your tweets during particularly tweet-heavy days, like when you’re conducting a Twitter-based live interview or real-time tweeting a major event. For the first time since Twitter’s launch, there’s no guarantee that all of your followers are seeing your tweets in their timeline.

What you tweet has always been important, but now it could be what keeps you from (or causes you to be) muted. Here are some crucial things to keep in mind:

Give the people what they want.
94% of Twitter users want discounts and promotions from the brands they follow, and 87% are hoping to be entertained. Deliver on these desires and keep your tweets both fun and valuable. Always ask yourself what your tweet is offering to your followers. Whether it’s an interesting image or a chance for a giveaway, give something that separates your tweets from the unnecessary noise.

Tread lightly.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately several major brands have broken this rule: NEVER appropriate a well known tragedy, disaster, or conflict for your branding. The only way to comment on such events is with seriousness, respect and absolutely no mention of your company. The attention you might receive for incorporating a catastrophic happening into your marketing is not worth the inevitability of offending your followers.

It’s a dialogue, not a monologue.
Twitter should be used as a tool that facilitates conversations between businesses and consumers. Reply to mentions, both positive and negative, and remember to keep a conversational tone. You’ll increase your company’s approachability and appeal by making sure your tweets don’t sound too formal.