5 Fixes for Common Twitter Mistakes

Twitter is one of the best opportunities for organic audience growth on social media. In fact, you don’t even have to invest money into paid advertising to experience massive growth. (It does help though.)

Twitter is also a bit trickier than other social media networks. It’s easy to lose previously engaged followers. Instead of trial and error, we’re going to help you get through some of Twitter’s biggest social faux pas.

This guide will walk you through the biggest mistakes that could be costing you engagement on Twitter, and explain how to avoid those pitfalls.

1. Getting Off Topic

People usually have a good understanding of who you are when they follow you. They get this information from various sources on your profile. It comes from Twitter handles, bios, and even past tweets.

All of this information gives them context for what they can expect to get from following you.

If you’re following Randall-Reilly on Twitter, you probably expect us to tweet about data, marketing, and driver recruiting. That’s what our past tweets and our bio tell you to expect from us.

If we started tweeting about luxury carpets or politics, people will either get offended or lose interest. In the later case, probably both.

Here’s how to avoid off-topic tweets:

  • Define your goals on Twitter. For instance, if you want to become a resource for fleets or contractors, tweet resources that will be helpful to your audience.
  • List the most important topics you will tweet about in your bio. These should be keywords that clearly define the topic you will be tweeting about.

Just because you can get in a conversation doesn't mean you should. Just because you can get in a conversation doesn’t mean you should.

2. Not Managing Tweets

There are two sides to this coin: don’t go silent and don’t erupt with information. These two extremes are common in the Twittersphere and will get you unfollowed quickly. People will go through their twitter feeds and purge those who don’t tweet. If you aren’t tweeting, there isn’t any value for your followers.

On the other hand, don’t go crazy on Twitter. You really don’t have to share 15 posts in the span of 5 minutes. Live tweeting may sound cool, but you had better be positive that your followers will be interested in what is going on at the event you are covering.

If you need help scheduling your tweets, there are services that can help.

For my personal Twitter account, I use a service called Buffer to help manage my tweets. They help me ensure that I am posting valuable content to my followers regularly, but not too excessively. Hootsuite is another service that can help you manage your social media accounts.

3. Sending Direct Messages

At this exact moment, this writer can’t think of a single time you should direct message a follower (with the exception of a contest or promotion). We don’t do this with the Randall-Reilly brand on Twitter, and neither should you.

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Most direct messages on Twitter ae spam. Some people have even called for Twitter to removed DMs. And the last thing you want to do is look spammy on Twitter.

Simply put, avoid DMs as much as possible.

4. Being Offensive

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people losing their jobs by posting a misguided tweet. Here are a few of the most interesting instances.

Brand tweets can be problematic. Something innocent tweeted can become national news within just a few minutes thanks to the easily clicked retweet button. Audience outrage is a real danger and something every brand should be aware of.

Aurora tweetYou don’t want to be these guys.

Here are the types of tweets brands should avoid altogether:

  • Demeaning
  • Harsh
  • Critical
  • Accusatory
  • Views on race, religion, or politics
  • Mocking
  • Judgmental

Some people in some industries can get away with posting offensive language or being disrespectful. But I’m betting that isn’t you. Remember that everything you’re saying is in a very public space. You’re just a few clicks away from being shared to potentially millions of people.

Be clean and professional on Twitter.

5. Not Providing Value

Twitter users are looking for value. That’s the only reason they actually follow someone and stay engaged. Otherwise they have no reason to follow you.

Value can come from a lot of different sources, entertainment, information, association, etc. If you aren’t giving your audience a reason to stay, you will lose them.

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Providing value is simple.

Like everything else you do, think about your audience. How can they benefit from what you’re tweeting? If you’re trying to be informational, try tweeting links to valuable studies, tips, how-tos, and industry specific news.

When in doubt ask yourself, “does this benefit my audience?”

Twitter can be a valuable social media channel for your brand. You can use Twitter to drive traffic and build a community around your brand. The key is to keep your audience in mind and provide them with consistent, valuable content.

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