7 Twitter Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid

by Mike Bass from Lakeshore Branding |

Everyone seems to be talking about Twitter these days, and about what it can do for business. Not only has this hugely popular microblogging site become a viable platform for increasing web traffic; Twitter is also a great engagement platform.

Promotions, info dissemination, sales and marketing, branding, customer service, technical support, social networking, and more: these are the reasons why Twitter has quickly become a social media phenomenon for businesses everywhere.

And yet for all this talk about what you — as a business owner, communications consultant, or Internet marketer — should do with your Twitter account, there are actually things that you shouldn’t do. Here are the worst mistakes that you should avoid making while on Twitter.

Not establishing a personality: Twitter should humanize your brand and add a face to your business. So don’t just upload your brand logo as your profile picture — use a photo of an actual human face. That way, your audience will see your brand as having a human personality, and as a name they can actually trust, talk to, and connect with. A humanized Twitter account also makes you memorable, far more than just a profit-minded, business-making corporate entity.

Being irrelevant: If you’re tweeting for business purposes, then you’ve got to remember: no one is interested in what you had for breakfast. Or that you’re suffering from depression in this bleak day. Just because that white Twitter box is asking what you’re doing doesn’t mean you have to answer it too literally.

Spamming: A lot of businesses think that Twitter was made for spam. So that’s what they do all day: sending DMs (direct messages) to followers, relentlessly tweeting affiliate links, relentlessly following strangers, filling up their side of Twittersphere with noisy sales talk and trite marketing buzzwords. It can get pretty annoying. Our advice? Don’t spam. That’s the easiest way to turn people off your Twitter activity and your brand.

Link-clicking tricks: Because Twitter allows for only 140 characters per tweet or direct message, some may find it necessary to shorten long URLs into strings of indecipherable letters, numbers, and periods. Which is fine. But a line is drawn when followers are being tricked into clicking mysterious shortened links that lead to a sales offer instead of what they’ve been actually led to believe. If you tweet a link to an interesting news item, make sure the link leads to the news item — and not to a 50 percent discount on your product. Shame on you if you fool followers once; fool them twice, and they’re no longer your followers.

Excessive self-promotions: The two mistakes mentioned above are close siblings to this Twitter sin of excessive self-promotion. If your tweets are all linked to your own website, if all you have to say is that you have a new blog post that followers should read, if you keep on about how awesome your product or service is, then it’s time to distribute brochures in a mall. That might actually be less self-promotional.

Tweeting too much: As a general rule, tweet about three to five times a day. That way, you strike a balance between the two poles: one being too passive and quiet in what should otherwise be conversations that will help your business, and another being too noisy and boisterous in a way that fills up your Twitter followers’ home pages.

Not replying. The @reply feature is there for a reason: to create and continue real-time 140-character conversations with your customers, prospects, brand supporters, and maybe even critics. So don’t ignore those replies and use Twitter for the sole purpose of promoting yourself. Listen to others, too, and make them feel that they’re part of a greater community in which they can connect to your business and your brand.

Mike Bass writes for Lakeshore Branding, an Internet marketing company in Chicago, IL. The team specializes in delivering services in SEO, SEM, online advertising, e-Commerce design and development, social media consulting, online reputation management, and content creation. Follow Lakeshore Branding on Twitter @lsbranding.