Twitter is often compared to a cocktail party. It’s where friends gather to share information and people connect through common interests.
But if you’re new to the party, there’s a good chance you’re going to make some mistakes.
These aren’t massive, news-breaking Twitter mistakes that you’d read about in the paper or see on tabloid websites. They are simple and easy-to-fix mistakes that are often made by people who just don’t know any better.
For me, it took having my boss at my first social media gig telling me to watch my spelling and to lay off the exclamation points. For you, I asked around at Constant Contact to see if anyone had any input on mistakes that make businesses look dumb on Twitter.
(Also, check out 25 Things that Make You Look Dumb on Facebook.)
Here are 25 things to be aware of on Twitter:
- Not shortening links in your Tweets – This is one of the most common mistakes and it doesn’t need to be. Check out link shorteners like bit.ly or ow.ly. You’ll also be able to track the number of clicks the links you’re sharing get with these tools.
- Too much self-promotion – A little self-promotion is good for any business but if your timeline is riddled with “I” or “We” and your only retweets are about you, then you’re doing too much. Follow the 80/20 rule. Post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save 20% for the self-promotional stuff.
- #HashtagAbuse – Hashtags are one of the most interesting parts of Twitter. But in addition to sometimes being hilarious, they are helpful for organization purposes and following trends. Don’t abuse the hashtag, save it for when you need it.
- Not responding to Tweets – If you’re not being social, why are you on social media? You might not be able to respond to everything, but do your best to answer questions and address any negative feedback. And don’t forget to say thanks when it’s positive.
- Automatic direct messages – Too many people send automatic direct messages to new followers. Don’t do this. You don’t want the first impression that you make on your customers to be from a robot.
- Too much negativity – No one wants to follow an individual or a brand who only tweets negative things. Keep your tweets positive and your followers will act accordingly.
- Being an egg – One of the first things you should do when you create your Twitter account is update your profile photo. Make your picture something that reflects you or your brand. The default egg icon makes you blend in and look unprofessional.
- Too much abbreviation – Sometimes you’re going to have to abbreviate but try not to abandon grammar to the point of being unreadable.
- Spelling errors – Spelling errors are going to happen from time to time, but try to keep them to a minimum. People will notice them and it can make your business look sloppy. Always review your post before you hit send. Watch for common misspellings, like There/Their/They’re, To/Too/Two, and Your/You’re.
- Tweeting without a strategy – Never tweet just for the sake of tweeting. Take some time to decide why you’re on Twitter and what you want to get from it. Let that guide your content.
- Too much dialogue, not enough content – Twitter is all about sharing content. You want to engage with followers but you also want to give them content that makes them engage with you.
- Too much content, not enough dialogue – Confused yet? It’s all about finding a balance. Unless you’re a news outlet, then most of your followers are probably looking for more than just news. Use your content to drive engagement from your followers and start a discussion.
- Only tweeting from 9-to-5 – No one expects your Twitter to be a 24/7 operation but your followers don’t log off when you go home for the day. Hootsuite is a great option for managing and scheduling tweets.
- Tweeting without the facts – This is the number one way to hurt your credibility and make your followers angry. It’s important to be a helpful source of information in your industry, not a rumor mill.
- Tweeting too often – There’s no set formula for how much you should be tweeting. But unless you’re the most interesting person in the world, chances are if you’re clogging up their timeline they’ll get turned off in a hurry.
- USING TOO MANY CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! – You wouldn’t yell at your customers in person, don’t do it on Twitter. Use exclamation points sparingly for maximum impact.
- Talking badly about your competition – This is a good time to remember what your parents always said… “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Building connections is a great way to build your following and many of your competitors’ followers would likely be happy to follow you too. Talking poorly about them only makes you seem like a poor sport.
- Not connecting your business website to your Twitter account – The website URL in your Twitter bio is prime real estate. If you don’t use this space to drive followers to your website, you may be missing out on customers.
- Outdated Twitter profile – Your profile says a lot about who you are. Tell people what you’re all about and give them a reason to follow you. Make sure this information is always up-to-date so your followers
- Responding with the same answer from multiple admins – It’s good to respond to people’s tweets. However, if multiple people are tweeting from your handle, it’s important to get on the same page and agree on the right voice for your brand.
- Facebook/Twitter overflow – Connecting your Facebook and Twitter feeds might seem like a good idea, but if your Twitter is solely just a feed for your Facebook then it defeats the purpose of being on Twitter in the first place. Maybe Twitter isn’t the right place for your business to begin with! Make sure that your audience aligns with the platform and then tailor your content to them.
- Asking too many questions – A question can be a great way to get feedback or start a conversation but if you’re constantly asking, “How’s everyone doing?!” and no one is answering then it’s not adding to the conversation. That being said, Twitter’s poll feature is a great way to ask for feedback or learn more about your followers.
- Not sharing the love – If people are promoting you on Twitter, show them some love back. A retweet can go a long way on Twitter and so can mentioning someone when you share their article or post.
- Not threading tweets – Sometimes, you just have a lot to say. When sharing a story or update that requires more than one tweet, make sure to create a thread. If you tweet each part of the story individually, your followers will be confused by what’s happening.
- Not making sure you look good on mobile devices – According to Brandwatch, a whopping 80% of active users access Twitter via mobile. When choosing a header photo for your Twitter profile, keep in mind how it will look on a cell phone. Make sure to use our social media image sizes cheat sheet to make sure your images always look great!
Didn’t realize so much could go wrong with just 280 characters? Don’t worry.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, is going to make some mistakes when they’re just getting started. The best you can do is keep this list in mind and try not to let a couple of missteps ruin the whole party.
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