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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 count?

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, your 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

Join The Conversation

  • Dec 20 Posted 6 years ago moneypro

    I would like to add one advice to get qulitty followers that will help business owner.

    If you advertise your twitter profile at local newspapaer with your product, you get the most quality followers. Because they are the real followers who are interested about your product. It will help your online business.

  • Dec 4 Posted 6 years ago Ziggy Kinsella (not verified)

    Great advice. As with all social media people have to put in the effort to get any reward. You also have to engage with other twitter users which is the one complaint I have with businesses - they do the me, me, me thing and forget that it's actually a conversation.

  • Jul 20 Posted 7 years ago Jen Turi (not verified)

    As a somewhat new Tweeter, I appreciate your advice.  I try to follow all these guidelines but it also gets difficult to know what to Tweet when I feel like I'm talking to myself!  Thanks for the info.

  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Mar 19 Posted 7 years ago MikeJohansson1 Carissa: In the spirit of your #12: Thank you for the comment and the additional three list items. They are all excellant suggestions! Thank you. 
  • carisamiklusak's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 7 years ago carisamiklusak This is a great list. Thank you! There are three other mistakes I'd add:

    #11: Only Posting One Type of Content
    Too often I see organizations only posting one type of content. Let's say for example they only post links to press releases.  Or, they only post open jobs - rather than posting a diverse mix of information and content.  This type of diversity is critical to keep a social media users attention.  

    #12 Not Responding to Comments
    In addition to posting diverse content it's critical to actually respond to individual users and to highlight those people that RT your brand.  A lack of acknowledgement on your organization's part can result in a negative sentiment in the social media landscape.

    #13 Missing Segmentation Opportunities
    The most successful social media campaigns have multiple Twitter pages for different parts of their business. Sometimes they are geo-segmented. For example, Whole Foods, Dell and the Hard Rock Cafe have tons of Twitter pages for almost every location.  This type of segmentation makes users feel like they are "in the right place" and they are more likely to engage with the brand. There are many ways to capitalize on segmentation.  Dell also segments via product. For example, they have a Twitter page just for the Dell Mini.  Different areas of your business also merit their own Twitter page. The most successful social media campaigns allow for unique corporate pages including a centralized page, a recruitment page and a customer service page at minimum.

    I post social media best practices on my Twitter site every day. Feel feel free to connect! www.twitter.com/carisamiklusak - send me feedback/ suggestions for improvement if you like! 
  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 7 years ago MikeJohansson1

    Thank you all for the great feedback. I especially appreciate the sharp eyes of the poster who pointed out the typo (now corrected) :-)  I also appreciate the addition of information re Point 9 about the inability to tag the Twtter background image ... and therefore the inability to make that information available to the visually impaired.

    As to Twitter being the "most unsafe social network," I'm not sure I can agree with that. And, of course, people do have the option of not using it at all.

    Thanks again - love the feedback.


  • Mar 11 Posted 7 years ago CariKaplan Thank you so much! I am new both personally and professionlly - managing the company's social media.
  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago MikeJohansson1 Again, thank you all for the wonderful feedback. And yes I feel a post coming on about how businesses might engage around topics they care about. I've certainly seen enough bad examples and the more I think about it some really good examples (@Ford and @JetBlue), but the trick might be to find smaller, more easily replicated efforts. I'll do some digging. Thanks again for the feedback and ideas. Don't you just love how social media is a process of learning and sharing?
  • Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago KeithMillar Great post Mike. As a not so newbie it is still worthy points to take on board. I guess these are all mistakes we make early. In fact I like making these mistakes then learning from them. Rather than holding back. I still am not clear myself in the message and position I should be taking. Maybe a post on this would certainley be of value.
  • Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago MelissaSarathy Great post. Here are my thoughts:

    Filling out the bio in your profile is important. Be personal, try not to appear robotic and engage with your followers, i.e. Tweet, ReTweet and @ reply. Avoid linking updates from other social networks. Very little is more annoying than clicking on a bit.ly that redirects to your Facebook fan page.

    I agree with personalizing your avatar. Adding your logo to the avatar is great, too. Scott Monty, www.twitter.com/scottmonty, for Ford is a good example.

    I think the 10% rule for following:followers is about right. You should be in the habit of returning followers as well. As the post says, be patient and don't worry about the number too much. With good Twitter practices in place, it will grow.

    I also agree that it is okay to mix business with pleasure, just be sure to stay on strategy, as not to confuse your followers.

    All in all, this is a really great reference list for businesses who are new to Twitter. Way to keep it simple, Mike!
  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago MikeJohansson1 Thank you all for the great feedback. I appreciate it.
  • DavinaKBrewer's picture
    Mar 8 Posted 7 years ago DavinaKBrewer Good list. I'd also add this Catch 22: not thinking like a person when tweeting as a business while having a business and marketing strategy behind the tweeting. You've already addresses some of these: make sure to share and contribute, don't over self promote, etc. As a business you need to give back and share, but you should also connect and build genuine relationships.

    For #7 I'm fine with splitting personal and professional, but even businesses need to show a more human side. A mix of non-commercial human tweeting is fine. I mean if you run a small business in New Orleans, the occasional "Who Dat" tweet in support of the team shows personality, shows you're paying attention, that it's not all about you. FWIW.

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