11 Common Twitter Mistakes


Fail Whale!My top 11 common twitter mistakes, in no particular order. Why 11? Well in top 10 lists, I’m always looking for a little something extra.

1. Broadcasting constantly

Twitter is a conversation, don’t forget that. One thing I see brands doing too much is constantly broadcasting out information and not acknowledging the conversations that are taking place. This doesn’t mean you need to respond every single time, but being aware of the conversations taking place so you can respond effectively when the need arises.

2. Constantly talking about your brand

Your community needs to be the focus of what you tweet about. Make sure you’re retweeting your devout followers (they’ll love you for it) and ALWAYS focus on what is important to them. There will be plenty of opportunities to work in your business objectives into these tweets, but if you focus on the community first, they will thank you back in spades.

3. Using Twitter Names that are too long

On Twitter, character space is gold. The longer your name that harder it will be for individuals to retweet you (and important metric that shows whether or not the information you share if valuable to your network) or even respond thoroughly to you because your Twitter handle is too long. My general rule of thumb, keep it to around 8 characters total.

4. Creating hashtags that are too long

Again an issue of character space. I experience a lot of frustration when I have this really thought provoking tweet (it’s amazing what you can fit into 140) and I have to adjust what I’m trying to say because the hashtag won’t fit. Do us all a favor, keep your hashtags short, again definitely 8 characters or under, ideally 6.

5. Using a hashtag that is already being used

It happens to the best of us, we create this great hashtag related to our brand and then find out that someone else is using it. Hopefully you haven’t started using it before this point. That is why it is really important to research your hashtags BEFORE your start using them.

6. Minimizing the personality

In all my social media success, I have found that having a personality and sharing that will forge stronger relationships with your customers. Being a “nameless, faceless org” won’t get you anywhere in the building relationships department. If all you want is checkbook customers & members, then by all means be aloof and stifle all personality, but if you want to create true brand loyalists then get in there and show them what you’ve got.

7. Not effectively utilizing your bio

A bio is how I determine whether or not I will follow someone. If they don’t have a bio, well then there is a good chance that I won’t follow them. Make your bio stand out from the crowd, but don’t feel the need to list EVERYTHING that you are. Tell me 2-3 really important things about you that will help us connect. And though I don’t follow this rule myself (I know, I know) utilizing an actual picture is probably the best route to go. If you’re someone managing a brand account, then I’d recommend a picture that incorporates the logo, get creative and allow the personality to shine through.

8. Forgetting to use a URL shortener

Big mistake if you’re using Twitter for business. Sure you have your analytics on the backend of your website, but you shouldn’t constantly be referring individuals back to your website. Some individuals may find this blasphemous, but associations and corporations can’t be all things to all people, we need to pull content from other sites, not just our own. Using a URL shortener (bit.ly & the built in one for HootSuite are my faves) will allow you to track the impact you truly have, not just the people you bring back to your website.

9. Manually posting everything, everywhere

There are so many great tools out there that can help you accomplish this with little to no effort. HootSuite has become my go to Twitter application, from URL shortening, to multiple channel posting, to scheduling posts, this service has it all. My trick to accomplishing a diverse communication over multiple channels is to take copy and write it a couple of different ways, then I spread out the different versions over different channels over a period of time. This doesn’t work to well on a short time frame, but if you have 2-3 months, you’re golden (think conference, etc.).

10. Writing tweets that are un-RT-able (unretweetable)

Most of these common mistake related to character usage. Why? Well because character space is limited and you need to maximize the channel whenever possible. As a general rule, if I want my tweet to be easily retweetable, I aim to make it no more than 120 characters, including my link. This can be tricky, but takes the thinking out of the old school RT’s, which are still the most prevalent form of RTs on Twitter.

11. Forgetting to brand your Twitter background

Though most of your followers will not see it (especially if they use TweetDeck, etc.), it is still an opportunity for brand awareness. Let’s say your Twitter account comes up in a Google search, you don’t want that individual to question whether or not it is you, correct? Now I will admit that this is more important for brands on Twitter than individuals, but it is still a great opportunity to introduce your potential twitter followers to other staff on Twitter or you presence on other social media channels like Facebook or YouTube.

This post was inspired by a recent presentation I did at ASAE Annual entitled “Plays Well With Others” with Elizabeth Engel & Layla Masri (of Bean Creative). View the handouts here.

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