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Twitter For Business: 5 Common Twitter Mistakes

Updated on June 19, 2013

Twitter Practices

There are 5 common mistakes for companies.
There are 5 common mistakes for companies. | Source

Social Media

Social media is playing a growing role in businesses as a way to network with clients, make new connections, and increase recognition of their own brands. Twitter in particular is a great tool to use as it operates quickly, Tweets are succinct, and millions of people use the network daily.

Yes, daily.

With an audience of so many people available at one's own Tweeting hands, however, costly mistakes can also be made. Here are 5 common Twitter mistakes for businesses to avoid in order to achieve networking successes.

Hashtag Overload

Twitter hashtags are valuable keywords you add to Tweets that increase their visibility within search categories and for your Followers who are browsing their streams. Use a hashtagged word in your business Tweet and you could see views double, triple, and more, if you have enough connections to help you.

A common mistake is piling on too many hashtags; I call this strategy "hashtag overload". Here is an example a Tweet that illustrates what NOT to do:

"Today I #sold the #first #chocolate bar at my #company. #Woohoo!"

There are four hashtags used here. Twitter's Best Practices suggests using two hashtags per Tweet at most. I have personally seen three or four hashtags in a single Tweet. Why the restriction? Use too many of these keywords and your Followers could become both annoyed and confused. They may just hit the Unfollow button to stop the annoyance. You have lost potential new clients and perhaps other helpful business connections too.

Hashtags: Less Is More

Limit the number of hashtags used per message.
Limit the number of hashtags used per message. | Source

New Followers, Not Related Followers

Another common mistake for companies is to hit the Follow button for a large number of Twitter profiles in as little time as possible. The short-term goal is to bulk up the company profile, spreading the word about the company with new Followers. A problem with this approach is that the growing number of followers do not carry any business advantage. Let me explain.

Quality Is Better Than Quantity

Be selective about who you connect with online.
Be selective about who you connect with online. | Source

Yes, your business may get the #teamfollowback followers, who will connect with any Twitter profile they can. Most users, however, are more stringent in who they choose to follow and seek out other users with similar interests and goals. If your company relates to the writing industry, for instance, you may want to connect with profiles of authors and publishers.

If you instead simply follow any user you come across in the Twitter universe, you could wind up connected to users who are not interested in your products/services and who you are not particularly interested in either. You may have a huge number of connections but you have not helped your company. Consider how much time it takes to go through all of those newly added users and Unfollow the ones you no longer want to connect with online. Save yourself the trouble and time by being selective as to whom you follow.

Balance Your Twitter Feed

There is more to Twitter than dollar signs.
There is more to Twitter than dollar signs. | Source

Selling, Selling, And More Selling

The third common mistake of businesses is being overly promotional in their Tweets. While the end goal may be to sell "X" number of books, you need to balance selling books with other content to keep your followers interested in your Tweets.

Refrain from only sending Tweets that advertise your book or other company item. Followers will become annoyed by the promotional image if it is too overpowering and will either ignore your Tweets or press the Unfollow button. Your business then loses those connections.

Balance out your advertising Tweets with quotes, informative articles that relate to your business but are not overly promotional, and Retweets of related content by other users. You will gain reader interest and spread word about your products and services.

Hey You, I'm Cold Calling You!

An overly promotional approach taken by some companies is to target select users and Tweet them directly about their own companies' products and services. I have received a few of these messages myself.

The message appears in my "Mentions" notifications page as it includes my user name, such as @username. Imagine a likely scenario: the mentioned user reads the message, is annoyed by the advertisement, and easily clicks the profile's Unfollow button. Easy.

These Tweets can be compared to "cold calling". Businesses are using the Twitter stream instead of a telephone to send out their promotional spiels. Heads up: if we aren't looking for the information, we don't want to be bothered by an in-our-face social media message. Avoid overly-promotional and aggressive kinds of Tweets to keep a highly-regarded profile.

Does Your Company Have A Twitter Profile?

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One-Way Interaction

Another common mistake is to Tweet out content without responding to any incoming messages.

One-way interaction is isolating for your followers. They may send your business questions about your practices or have suggestions on ways to improve your products and services. Companies are less effective when they continually sent out Tweets without interacting with their Followers.

Users may feel their messages are being ignored by the company. Poor customer service is a poor reflection on the business. As well as sending out Tweets, remember to take time to read your Mentions feed and watch for any Retweets. Reciprocate the activities to help build connections with potential business clients. Users will appreciate the time taken to reply, no matter what is the size of the company.

Use The Business Tips

Avoid aggravating other Twitter users.
Avoid aggravating other Twitter users. | Source

Best Practices

When you take time to avoid the 5 common Twitter mistakes, your actions will likely be more effective on Twitter at meeting your goals. Take time to interact with Followers, using two-way communication on the social media network. Balance out advertising messages with quotes and other related information, and avoid sending "cold calling" messages. Also, limit hashtags to two per Tweet. Remember that quality interactions on Twitter can effectively build your connections to help you reach your business goals!


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