Twitter Mistakes Small Businesses Can’t Afford to Make

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Twitter is a tricky medium to get right, and many, many brands make a few simple mistakes.

Not Following Anyone (or Following Too Few People)

Twitter is a social medium. If you’re not following anyone, that tells me you’re not interested in listening, only talking. If you’re a big brand with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of followers, you can get away with this, but small businesses can’t.

Not Tweeting

Listening’s necessary, but why are you on Twitter if you’re not tweeting?

"Official Twitter account" @Philips has no tweets

No, tweeting once or twice isn’t going to help. If you are on Twitter, you need to be active, which means send out a few tweets at least every couple of days.

Only Scheduling Tweets

Brands that tweet once every hour. Others that tweet a few times during the same time every day. This tells me you’re scheduling tweets and are not coming to Twitter at all. So again, you’re not interested in listening, are you?

Nokia's Twitter profile: regular tweets and no replies

Not Participating in Conversations

Look again at the picture above. Not only are there regular tweets with pictures, there are… no replies, i.e., no tweets starting with @someoneelse. Just hashtags for Nokia phones.

Do you think no one’s mentioning a brand like Nokia? If you do a quick Twitter search, you’ll find many tweets about Nokia, some of them positive reviews of Nokia phones. But no thanks, no retweets. (You might find a few if you scroll down enough, but still.

If you don’t listen, don’t reply, don’t engage… you’re not social.

Auto DMs

We’ve all seen this: the automated direct message that comes in as soon as you follow someone. Don’t do this: it’s spammy and makes you look stupid.

What you can do instead is engage with new followers by sending them a friendly welcome tweet or starting a conversation on something they’re interested in (that you can tell from their bio or their recent tweets).

Directing People to Other Contact Info

What’s even worse than an auto-DM? An auto-DM that tells you to like the brand’s Facebook page or send them an email or call them. Hello, I just connected with you here. Now you’re telling me this is worthless and I need to go connect with you elsewhere?

Spammy Tweets

Have you seen those brands who mention people and ask them to buy or like something? Or who insert themselves into a conversation and ask you to buy something? Very annoying. Don’t do this.

Instead, reply with a suggestion. If someone’s complaining about their frizzy hair and you’re managing the Twitter account of a hair salon, offer a suggestion (if possible, without naming a specific brand of product). Say, “Have you tried this?” not “Buy this!”

Only Tweeting Self-Promotional Links

So many publications have Twitter accounts that just have links to their own content. No retweets, no replies, no conversational tweets. HBR can get away with broadcasting (though I wish they would engage with followers a bit), but you can’t.

@HarvardBiz just tweets links

Pepper your tweets with links to other interesting stuff and general observations, don’t just push users to your site.

Automated Cross-Posting

Twitter and Facebook are different platforms, and different things work on each. Why would you post exactly the same thing on both sites? You end up with a too-long truncated tweet that makes no sense.

What else should you know about Twitter? Get the Beginner’s Guide To Twitter to find out!

The Beginner's Guide to Twitter

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