Chill The Chatter: Twitter’s New Mute Feature

By: Jenifer Wetterau

At the advent of Twitter, you most likely followed anyone and everyone in hopes they would follow you back and make your brand look important and popular. In the same way you can turn on notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now slyly “mute” users whose content is of little interest to you without officially unfollowing them. A similar feature has been available on Facebook for quite a while. It’s useful for hiding annoying posts of people when unfriending may be perceived as hurtful or rude: the company who can’t seem to get out of selling mode and only hawks their products or services. Or the friend who can’t stop sharing photos of what they are eating. Twitter believes people will adopt a similar strategy with their mute button, cleaning up your timeline without the fear of losing followers as a result of unfollowing them.

Does this spell disaster for brands? Only for those publishing poor content.

Actions most likely to get your brand muted:

-Buying followers

-Behaving like a brand

-In-your-face advertising

-Follow to Win competitions

So what’s a brand to do to get tweeted… and retweeted?

-Engage with fans: answer their questions and provide interesting content.

-Help your followers with tips to better their everyday lives.

-Create fun, entertaining content that makes the workday better. No one wants to retweet an advertisement or regurgitation of your services

-Behave like a human, with a personality and point of view that will resonate with all your followers, current and potential

Basically, brands need to stay focused on the ‘social’ in social networking, and let your followers be the judge and jury of your content. You need to commit to being truly sociable by thinking like your readers and serving them engaging content. For your tweet to be perfect, it needs to appeal most to your readers, not to you.

This is not an opportunity for free advertising or hard selling. You can be certain that constant repetitive streams of self-promotion will be quickly muted. If it’s advertising you’re after then get ready to open your wallet!

Lurkers are 99% of social media. If you want to inspire interaction and click-throughs you need provide consistently inspiring content. Trawling for new followers with ‘RT and follow to win’ contests will not create an authentic audience. Since users are now able to follow, then immediately mute you, they get just what they want (then sell it on eBay) without ever having to see your tweets again.

The true measure of success for brands is not the number of followers, since it’s impossible to know how many are actually listening. Engagement is the success metric that counts now. Brands need to share and create content that resonates with the specific audience they want to target, the audience that will talk back.

This is accomplished by talking about them, not about you. Pinpoint the type of people likely to become customers then observe and join the conversations they are having. Find the right content by examining what has been shared by a community over the last month. This will give you insight into the topics and trends your followers are most interested in.

Remember: be consistently excellent. You cannot afford to be anything less.

Are you exited by or horrified by the Twitter mute feature? Are you confident in your social strategy or do you see a major reworking in your future? As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.


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