Have you ever wondered about the characteristics that make a Twitter account credible? If you are an SEO marketing professional, it is quite likely that you have, and often. Luckily for all of us, Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University took it upon themselves to conduct a study on the trustworthiness of tweets, and released a ten page report on the results of their analyses.

An article on Mashable aptly sums up the main points of this report. It features a compiled list of ten specific characteristics, factors, and situations that make a tweet more credible to other people. A person is more likely to trust a tweet if:

1. He comes across the tweet because it has been re-tweeted by someone he trusts.
2. It is clear to him that the author of the tweet is an expert on the subject.
3. He personally follows that author’s account on Twitter.
4. The tweet includes a URL, and is interesting enough for him to click on it and check out the page that it leads to.
5. The person has heard about the author before, whether in the online world or the offline one.
6. He can see a verification seal on the author’s account. This badge is usually placed on the accounts of celebrities and particularly well-known companies.
7. The person can clearly see that the author of the account regularly tweets on that specific topic.
8. He can see that the majority of the author’s tweets contain similar and related content.
9. The author uses a personal photo as his user image.
10. He can see that the author is frequently mentioned and his posts re-tweeted by other members of the Twitter community.

These characteristics – proven by research – can serve as incredibly helpful tips for SEO professionals who are carrying out social media marketing campaigns. There are several things that marketers must avoid doing on Twitter, however. These are:

1. Using bad grammar and failing to use proper punctuation in tweets.
2. Not uploading a personalized photo as a user image, opting to leave up Twitter’s default icon instead.
3. Using a cartoon character or other avatar as a user image.
4. Following too many other accounts on Twitter.
5. Using a logo as a user image.

Thanks to the researchers at Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University, many businesses can now move forward with creating more successful social media marketing campaigns via Twitter.