Twitter is one of the most high traffic websites in the world, and it can be extremely profitable for marketing purposes. It’s also very simple to use. You just sign up, complete your profile, and post messages. It’s basically as simple as sending email, right?
Sure, a five-year-old can learn to use Twitter in a few minutes, but not everyone can learn to use it correctly!
The fact is the vast majority of people are using it all wrong. They’re making these huge mistakes than can turn out to be giant disasters in the long run, and can not only hurt your marketing efforts, they could actually hurt your reputation, too!
In this guide, you’re going to learn about some of the most common mistakes people make on Twitter, and how you can avoid them. In fact, just avoiding these simple things can improve your marketing significantly and rapidly.
So let’s begin.
Tweeting Nothing But Marketing
Perhaps the single most common mistake people make is Tweeting nothing but marketing messages over and over. After a while, people are probably going to tune you out. Unless your followers are extremely rabid for your products and have specifically signed up to hear about your new releases or special offers, they’re probably going to tire of you quickly if you inundate them with marketing constantly.
Would you like to see your own feed clogged by dozens, perhaps hundreds, of marketing messages by the same person? Would you be ok if you kept missing important messages because someone else kept posting so much marketing that other stuff got lost?
Well, neither would most people!
Instead of posting continual marketing, break up the monotony by posting interesting, entertaining, or helpful posts, especially if they are related to your industry.
But don’t make the mistake of posting totally irrelevant or controversial posts! This will likely only backfire.
Posting Long Messages
Many people think that because they can post a maximum of 140 characters, that they should get the most out of every post by getting as close to the character limit as possible, but people actually like and respond to shorter posts much better.
Studies have repeatedly shown that posts under 100 characters actually get a much higher rate of engagement than longer posts.
Not only that, but when you keep your posts under 100 characters, it leaves room for your followers to share posts and use the @mention or retweet functions.
Your posts should be short and to the point, with one or two relevant hashtags. Anything more than this and people aren’t as likely to read your tweet or engage with it. And, of course, with any type of social media, engagement is key.
If your followers aren’t retweeting your posts or otherwise engaging, you’ll never get the type of viral reach you’re hoping for.
Twitter isn’t just a place to share cute stuff, it’s also an important platform for customer service. Surprisingly, a lot of customers are now using Twitter to contact companies instead of email, because they feel it’s more likely a company will respond to a public request. Additionally, it’s often easier to contact someone on Twitter than it is to pick up the phone or search for an email or contact form.
You should check your account to see who “mentions” you a few times each day to make sure you aren’t missing important messages. It could look very bad on you and your company if you ignore messages.
Additionally, responding directly to customers will help build loyalty. Not only will those customers be more likely to purchase from you in the future, but they will also be more likely to recommend you to others.
I’m sure you’ve heard how important word-of-mouth marketing is. It’s a little principle called “social proof”, and it can be incredibly powerful. People are much more likely to purchase something if they’ve heard about it from a trusted friend or family member, so it’s extremely beneficial to be sure all of your customers are as loyal as possible.
Make sure you check out who mentions you on Twitter, and then make sure that respond, respond, and respond!
Have you ever seen someone you have followed on Twitter tweeting and re-tweeting the same message over and over, all day long? It can get pretty annoying, especially if you end up missing important messages because of it.
This is a very common mistake that is typically made by people who are relatively new to Twitter and don’t really understand the platform yet. It’s not the worst thing you can do, but people will definitely start to tune you out after a while.
Most people who do this, think it will help them get seen, because their post will be more likely to end up near the top of someone’s feed, but that’s really not true. All it will end up doing is upsetting your followers and making you look bad.
If you really must keep tweeting about the same thing, at least vary your messages. Change the wording, or perhaps add something new. This will help the redundant seem a bit less so.
For example, you could change up tweets like this:
- Love the new Sparkle Shine Dress? Post a pic of you in it and get entered to win a $50 gift certificate? bit.ly
- Let’s see a picture of you in the new Sparkle Shine Dress! You could win $50! Bit.ly
- We’re giving away a $50 gift certificate and it only takes a pic to enter! Bit.ly
- How’d you like $50 to spend on new shoes? Send us a pic at bit.ly
These variations help distinguish your tweets from each other, and will help you gain more engagement because someone who doesn’t respond to one particular wording might respond to another.
Get creative, try new things, and you may discover that not only are people paying more attention, but they’re also taking more action!
There is a growing movement for auto-tweeting, but this can end up with disastrous results. One company found this out first hand when they had a larger number of auto-tweets scheduled about an upcoming concert and the roof of the stage collapsed, causing fatalities. The company was still tweeting about buying tickets for the concert, which was already cancelled. They looked tasteless and borderline criminal. It was a disaster!
Sure, this level of nightmare isn’t likely to happen to you, but you never know. What if you scheduled tweets about “a tsunami of deals” and a disastrous tidal wave hit a town and killed thousands right before your tweet went out? It would look like a callus joke in horribly bad taste and make your company look terrible.
If you’re going to auto-tweet, be sure you keep abreast of current events and make sure no tactless tweets accidentally go out at the wrong time.
Also, you might not want to tweet about individual products on an automated basis. Imagine tweeting about a product that had been sold out for weeks with the text “Now In Stock!”
You’d have a lot of upset customers on your hands!
If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, you may occasionally forget which account you’re logged into. This can have disastrous consequences if you’re somehow hiding your identity.
If you want to see just how disastrous this kind of thing can be, you only need to look to a huge mistake made by one of the social media managers for the American Red Cross, who thought she was logged into her personal Twitter account, but to her horror discovered she was still logged into the official American Red Cross page.
Fortunately, the Red Cross handled the situation like a boss. They quickly deleted the post and used a bit of levity to avoid any real damage to their organization.
“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
As a happy consequence, donations ended up temporarily spiking, but you can see that this could have been an embarrassing situation for all involved. This kind of thing could get people fired or cost a company major business!
If you’re going to manage two or more accounts, get into the habit of checking the name on your account every single time you post so you can be certain you aren’t accidentally using the wrong account.
Tweeting Too Much
Tweeting too often is the kiss of death for any Twitter account, unless you have an extremely rabid following that hangs on your every word. Over-tweeting is one of the quickest ways to get people to un-follow you.
This is true whether you’re tweeting about what you had for lunch, the latest breaking news, or even posts about contests and giveaways. People just don’t want to see sooooooo much content from one single person or company.
Try to limit your tweets to a maximum of 8-10 per day, and do that only rarely. Four per day is plenty most of the time. This will help you reach people in different time zones around the world without being annoying.
If you’d like to know when the most effective times are to tweet, keep an eye on your metrics as far as engagements such a retweets and when people mention you. Tweet at the times you regularly get the most engagements, to reach the bulk of your audience.
Also, if you notice your account losing followers, you might be tweeting too much! Slow down and see if your rate of loss drops.
Have you ever seen a tweet where over half the message was nothing but one hashtag after the other?
These tweets look something like this:
Ready for #summer? Get a hot #swimsuit, #tankini, #bikini, #sarong or a great pair of #sandals or #sunglasses! Bit.ly
This is annoying, looks terrible, and isn’t likely to accomplish much. You’re much better off separating this into focused posts by concentrating on each item in a separate post. You can spread this out over a day or two to keep from inundating your followers.
Ready for #thebeach? Get your next super sexy #bikini at our huge Summer Sale Event! Bit.ly
We’re having a huge Summer Sale Event on swimsuits! Get your next #tankini at up to 60% off! Bit.ly
Need new #sandals for #summer? Check out our Summer Sale event! Bit.ly
The last thing anyone wants to see is a total stranger begging to be followed. Begging is not only rude, it’s downright distasteful. It makes you look desperate, and definitely doesn’t inspire confidence in your product or service.
Think about it. If you’re so desperate that you’re begging strangers to follow you, what does that say about you or your company? Does that sound like you’re a confident business owner who has a stellar reputation and a first-class product?
To the average person, begging smacks of desperation. And people are usually desperate because they aren’t making any sales. And what is the biggest reason people don’t make sales? Because their product stinks!
I’m not saying your product stinks, but that is what people are likely to think if you beg for followers.
Instead of begging, you can send a polite message requesting a person follow you and give them a reason to do so. This might be exclusive promotions, giveaways, contests, coupons, etc. Or you could mention that you’d happily retweet their messages when they follow you.
Too Much Retweeting
Retweeting is a great tool, because you can use it to show off praise from customers or to call out a company or individual you’re happy with. But overused it can be a recipe for disaster.
Not only could it harm your reputation if your randomly retweet the wrong person who later ends up to have a bad reputation or scams people, but if it is overdone your followers will start to tune you out as they would if you overused any type of posting method.
Ideally, you want to ensure that each retweet reflects well upon you and your brand. Check the background of each person you intend to retweet, and use them sparingly. Save them for occasions when a tweet really stands out as worthy of a retweet.
Unless you’re a brand that thrives on controversy, it’s never a good idea to post anything that might be controversial unless you’re really willing to lose a large chunk of your user base if they respond negatively to whatever you post.
Sure, some brands can get away with being controversial. For example, many Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby customers have praised these two companies for standing up for their shared religious beliefs. It was a huge risk, but now many of their customer base, have become more loyal because of the decisions these companies have made. However, these companies have also discovered that a very large chunk of their future and potential market has decided to boycott them, and that their stance on certain issues will make it difficult for them to ever broaden their market reach.
In PR, some people have said that no attention is bad attention, but in many cases this simply isn’t true. Controversy can be the kiss of death for a business, and it can be a PR nightmare.
Be very careful about what you post. Think before you post and be sure you aren’t stirring up even the slightest hint of controversy. You definitely don’t want to offend your core customer base, and it’s easier than you think, to do so.
Twitter is a remarkable platform for marketing when it is used correctly, but most people tend to make at least a few of these common mistakes. This can lead to the platform being less effective than it could be, or even potentially causing more harm than good.
In order to make the most of Twitter, it’s important to observe these warnings and avoid these potential mistakes, at all costs.
To recap, the biggest mistakes are:
Disaster #1 – Tweeting Nothing But Marketing
Disaster #2 – Posting Long Messages
Disaster #3 – Ignoring Mentions
Disaster #4 – Being Redundant
Disaster #5 – Automation
Disaster #6 – Mistaken Identity
Disaster #7 – Tweeting Too Much
Disaster #8 – Hashtag Insanity
Disaster #9 – Follower Begging
Disaster #10 – Useless Tweeting
Disaster #11 – Controversy
If you can avoid these common mistakes and use Twitter the way it was intended, you’ll soon discover that it’s an effective marketing platform that is actually as effective as it is easy to use.
Good luck with your Twitter campaigns!