A Hit Parade of Twitter Mistakes

January 22, 2013 Becky Schroeder

If you're new to using social media for business and still trying to figure out how Twitter works, you can easily end up spending too much time on the social network. It's also easy to make mistakes that could cost you followers.

To help you avoid the awkward learning phase and start building a Twitter following, I've put together this hit parade of Twitter mistakes to avoid.

10. Tweet Length

A tweet must be 140 characters or less. Does that mean it's okay to use all 140 characters in every tweet? Actually, no. If you want your followers to share, or re-tweet, your tweets, you need to leave them some space so they can add their own commentary. An occasional 140-character tweet is okay, but aiming for 120 characters will leave room for your followers to add a comment, @mention or hashtag if they wanted.

9. Scheduling Tweets

Many social media management tools allow you to schedule tweets. Scheduling tweets ahead of time can make social media much easier to manage. It allows you to make sure you are regularly sharing content without having to spend too much of your day on social media.

I schedule some of our tweets so I can focus on other projects throughout the day, but I don't schedule tweets more than a day or two in advance because if you rely too much on it, your profile will look like it is managed by a robot instead of a person. You may be using Twitter for business purposes, but your Twitter followers want to know there is a person controlling your account so if they have ask a question or comment on Twitter, they are more likely to get an answer.

So schedule a few tweets but make sure you are logging in a few times a day and responding to @mentions or other tweets from your followers. This shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes at a time and will go a long way toward making sure your followers know that you are actively listening and open to conversation on Twitter.

8. Bait and Switch Links

It's not only frustrating to see an interesting tweet, click the link and then realize you've been taken to an unrelated page, but many people see it as dishonest and misleading. I know any time this has happened to me, if I don't immediately unfollow the accounts, I am definitely far less likely to click on any link they tweet in the future. Don't hurt your online reputation with the old bait and switch. Write interesting tweets that are related to the link you're sending and will pique the interest of your followers.

7. General Questions

Questions are a great way to start conversations on Twitter. But unless you've got an active following that engages with you regularly, you are not likely to get answers to general questions like "How's your day?" Think about your Twitter strategy. Are you keeping your tweets professional or mixing in a bit of personal tidbits? Ask questions that fit your strategy. Also, compose your tweets in a way that will encourage people to respond. For example, "It's National Ice Cream Day! What's your favorite flavor? We're having mint chocolate chip today."

6. Hashtag Overload

Hashtags are a great way to get your tweets found by new followers and participate in an ongoing Twitter conversation. However, too many hashtags are not only distracting but will also make your tweet look like spam. Don't stuff your tweet with hashtags. Pick one or two that are related to your tweet, and put them at the end.

5. Retweeting Mentions of Your Agency

It can be very exciting when someone first mentions your agency on Twitter, especially if it was an unsolicited mention. Resist the urge to retweet that mention so all of your followers can see it. Instead reply and thank the person who mentioned you and move on. If you really think your followers would be interested in the content or link of that mention, make sure your retweet includes a thank you to the person who mentioned you.

4. Repeating Tweets

The fast pace of Twitter can make it a more interesting social network than Facebook or LinkedIn. However, this fast pace can mean your tweets may be missed by a large number of your followers. To help their tweets be seen by more followers, many brands will repeat tweets throughout the day. Moderation is key because repeat your tweets too often, and followers will start to ignore and then unfollow you. Keep your repeat tweets to a handful of times spread out over a couple days.

3. Retweeting Yourself

Similar to liking your own posts on Facebook is the Twitter mistake of retweeting yourself. It is safe to assume that people will know you're proud of what you tweet. There is no reason to retweet yourself. If you want to repeat a tweet so people who may have missed it the first time will see it, don't take the easy way out. Write a new description or reword the content.

2. Inconsistent Tweeting

If you're not consistently tweeting, you might as well shut down your Twitter account. By consistently tweeting I mean at least a couple posts a day. It's expected that your activity on Twitter will go up when you are running a contest or promoting an event. However, when you're not so busy with promotions, you still need to maintain a Twitter presence. It doesn't have to be as active as those busy times but keeping a regular posting schedule is good for when you do need to promote an event or contest as your followers will be more likely to help you by sharing your news.

And the number one mistake you can make on Twitter...

1. Constant Self-Promotion

If the only content you tweet is about your agency, it will be very difficult to get new followers, let alone keep them. Yes, tweet about your agency. Share that blog post or video you made. Tweet your unique selling proposition. It's okay to do so, but again, moderation is key. Aim for a ratio of 1:10 where for every tweet that is self-promotional, the next 10 tweets are about other topics. Mix in tweets about community events or news, useful information or safety tips. If it's part of your strategy, include personal tidbits about you and others at your agency. Those personal tidbits will really help people feel connected to your agency and therefore more likely to buy from you in the future.

What would you add to this list?

About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As Chief Marketing Officer, Becky Schroeder is responsible for driving ITC’s overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and developing marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.

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