Sunday, March 7, 2010

10 Newbie Twitter Mistakes Made by Businesses

Businesses jumping into social media often see Twitter as a “simple” part of the plan: set up an account and start tweeting. Sadly some even get stuck right after the set up part. Here are 10 mistakes business newbies on Twitter should avoid:

1. Doing Little or Nothing
With an estimated 25 to 30 percent of Twitter accounts either empty or “one tweet and done” is it surprising that these accounts generate little interest from others on Twitter? Your inactive or virtually inactive account sends a clear message that you’ve given up on Twitter.

2. Desperately Following
If you’re following hundreds of people and only a few dozen are following back doesn’t that send a message that you desperately want followers but aren’t getting them? Why not be patient and never let your Following count get more than 10 percent higher than your Followers account?

3. Tweeting Too Much
If you’re guilty of this you will annoy your followers and water down your message… which likely means you’ll lose followers faster than you get them. How much is too much? Start slowly and only tweet useful stuff two or three times a day. As you slowly increase this over several months pay attention to what, if anything, gets a response (it's retweeted or commented on) … and when this happens. Let this be your guide.

4. Mostly Self-Promotional
Too much “me, me, me” talk will mark you as boring … or worse. Add value for others on Twitter and more followers will come. Mention your business or services only when you’ve been asked or in direct response to a stated need. If you consistently give, you’re followers will do the same and your good behavior will be well rewarded.

5. Failure to Connect
It can be tempting for businesses to give a Twitter monologue instead of engaging in a dialogue. If you get to know your followers by asking and answering questions, for example, you’ll show that you’re interested in them. They in turn will learn about you. This also means responding to any “@” messages promptly (within a day at most).

6. Not Helping Others
Acting as a connector or problem-solver will earn you loyal followers. Sometimes the simple act of retweeting a piece of great content will be seen as being helpful. Twitter truly is a place of getting more than you give, but you have to give first.

7. Mixing Business and Pleasure
Sending a mix of business and personal tweets can work when you’re well-established, but a better practice for a business new to Twitter is to keep it all professional. Otherwise you’re sending the message: We don’t know enough to keep our personal lives out of our business.

8. Impersonal avatars
Yes your business name or logo is important, but Twitter (and all social media) is about people. Use an avatar image that reflects your people not your brand name.

9. Wasting background space
Twitter gives you a lot of real estate around your Twitter-stream … don’t waste it. Use it to let people know what you do and why you do it. Put your people and the business personality on display. It’s also OK here to list a few other contact points such as email address, phone numbers and other social media URLs.

10. Not Checking In Regularly
Maintaining a Twitter account needs to become part of your routine. Once a day or twice a day or more, but it does need to become a regular thing to have any chance of helping your business.

So what am I missing? I’d love to hear other things businesses who are new on Twitter should do to improve their chances of social media success.

A Related Post:
Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness


  1. Mike, a great checklist to see how we measure up!

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