Twitter Guide for Government: Don’t Bait and Switch

Download the PDF: Thou Shalt Tweet! 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter


It can be tempting to spice-up our tweets to get more clicks, RTs, etc. This is especially true in the public sector where content can sometimes be…shall we say…dry. DON’T!

Don’t say that your senior leader is announcing important changes in the trade industry if he or she is only really commenting on minor changes.

Don’t say that your mayor is on a “historic” tour of Williamsburg if 3 mayors have done it before him or her. And don’t ever provide a description for a link that directs tweeps to a different page.

Nothing will frustrate Twitter users faster than clicking on a shortened URL only to find out that the subject is different that what you described. It is ok to improve a title to give it some hook, but only to a point.

Do try to find something that is “newsworthy” in your post if you can.
Is it a first visit? Is it important? To whom is it directed to? Try to find what is interesting about this post and highlight it.

Do this consistently and you will earn a good reputation, and a good following.

Complete Listing of All 15 Twitter Commandments

This guide evolved from a post by Alain Lemay on GovLoop titled “Who Not to Follow On Twitter: A Guide for Public Sector Employees.” Alain is a Senior Web Communications Analyst for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Agency in Canada. He graciously donated his time to assist in producing the 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter Guide in tandem with the GovLoop team.

  1. Thou Shalt Listen Before You Leap
  2. Thou Shalt Use Thy Profile Information Properly
  3. Thou Shalt Have a Disclaimer
  4. Thou Shalt Not Be a Bully (Nobody Likes a Bully!)
  5. Thou Shalt Tweet Regularly
  6. Thou Shalt Integrate My Tweet Approval Process
  7. Thou Shalt Not Register Alternate Accounts
  8. Thou Shalt Not Automate Thy Tweets
  9. Thou Tweet In the First Person
  10. Thou Shalt Not Bait and Switch
  11. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  12. Thou Shalt Be Selective About Who You Follow
  13. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Account
  14. Thou Shalt Contribute to the Conversation
  15. Thou Shalt Measure for Success