Individuals and brands are flocking to Twitter, but all the employees figuring out how to share their company’s message on the new medium might be surprised to learn that often the best thing to do on the service is stay silent.

At the 140 Character Conference in New York on Wednesday, that was the most ardent advice for brands using Twitter. According to Peter Fasano, Principal at Mass+Logic: “The most important thing on Twitter, is knowing when not to Tweet.”

With over 4 million users on Twitter, there is a lot of noise on the service. And brands need to avoid creating more of it.

“We’re all figuring out our own rules of engagement,” says Brian Morrissey of AdAge, but twittering responses to any mention of a brand — an increasingly common practice — isn’t doing much of anything.

In fact, it can be a negative for a brand’s image. According to Fasano: “Popping up because of a keyword mention doesn’t matter.” As more individuals and brands flood the zone, “the autopresence of saying ‘I’m here’ loses it’s value.”

Instead, brands should focus on helping consumers, solving problems and growing their reputation. And that’s what brands need to be considering when they reach out to people into the space.

According to Fasano, it’s easy to get caught up in the live stream of Twitter, but brands have to ask themselves: “You can see what matters today, but does it matter tomorrow? Did it influence other media?”

Working from that perspective, brands can jump into social media when it matters and make a difference to forward their business model.

The value of Twitter for brands goes beyond simply being up to date with the latest technological fad and making sure that they are where consumers are. It provides brands an excellent way to dialogue, engage and grow their reputations, but it’s important to know why people are there and what they’re looking for.

Brand advocates should keep in mind a simple motto: “Don’t always be selling.” Consumers are on Twitter, but they’re not there to purchase. And while Summize can be a powerful tool for brand management, where every companies can see every single mention of their company and products, responding to every tweet can simply create more work.

Consumers already experience fatigue from brands coming after them on the phone, in the mail, or online, and twitterers are just as apt to feel abused by marketing in the space. They also have an immediate platform for their negative reactions.

Says Morrissey: “People don’t go to these chanels to talk about brands. If you’re not adding value, you’re spam.”

Image: TwitTip