Do you know someone making a fool of themselves on Twitter?
Twitter can be confusing if you haven’t read much about how to use it or had the help of a friend.
In my experience, there are three main kinds of Twitter fools:
- Never learned the Twitter basics.
- Doesn’t try to be a real person on Twitter.
- Is always using tricks to promote themseves.
Each fool makes 5 different kinds of mistakes:
Fool #1: “I Didn’t Learn Twitter Basics.” Buffer this
Pleading ignorance about how to use Twitter can only last so long.
At some point, you have to do some reading or get some help. The first thing to learn is: read Twitter “how-to” articles (a good starting place) and tweet questions that you have about Twitter.
Here are five basic Twitter mistakes no one needs to make:
1. Accidentally Hiding Tweets You Meant To Make Public
If the very first part of your tweet is a username (e.g. “@User Great article you wrote…”) your followers will NOT see it in their timeline unless they follow the person you are tweeting to.
Did you mean your tweet to be a public compliment? Then don’t hide it: put something else at the beginning of your tweet.
For example, changing “@user You are great!” to either of these tweets will work to make your tweet seen by everyone:
- .@user You are great!
- You are great, @user !
2. Not Using Twitter tools
Some things about Twitter can be made really, really easy for you if you use the right tools.
For example, add the Buffer button to your browser and with just a click it will send a tweet about any website you’re visiting at a time your followers are most likely to see it.
3. Making Your Tweets Hard To Retweet
Many people like adding comments to their retweets. But if your tweet is too long, there isn’t room for their comment. And if it’s really too long, there won’t even be room to credit you as the person they found the tweet from.
Keep your tweets less than 120 characters to make your tweets easier to retweet.
4. Sending Tweets Only You Understand
Explain what you’re linking to. Explain what you’re talking about. When saying something that you could add a link to that would help explain it, add the link.
If your tweets are easy to understand, you’ll get more interaction and retweets—you’ll become more popular, which is the beginning of getting more followers too.
5. Never Making A Twitter List
They also act like a public recommendation of the people you put on the lists. Many services determine influence in part based on what lists you’ve been added to.
Every Twitter user should make at least three lists:
- Your closest friends (can make this private).
- People you recommend that others follow or people in your key interest area. Tweet about this so others can benefit.
- People who write tweets you love to read (often humorous).
Fool #2: “I’m Not Real.” Buffer this
If you talk to someone who doesn’t respond, how does that make you feel? You need to connect with people on Twitter.
You can visualize Twitter like a “social bank account.” There won’t be anything to withdraw if you never make deposits. Simply by connecting with people through your tweets you are building a community of folks.
Here are five kinds of mistakes no one should ever make:
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1. Being Unhelpful
Find people that need help, and help them. Never pass up the chance to help someone on Twitter!
It builds up your social bank account and turns your followers into a real community, and you into a community leader.
2. Forgetting to Reply
Respond to people that get in touch. Comment on tweets you find interesting. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly focusing on just pushing out information. Take time to read, listen and respond.
3. Not Getting Involved With Questions
One way of doing this is by asking questions. You can even try polling your followers and asking their opinions.
Even better is answering questions. You can use the new Twitter.com search function to search for questions the people you follow are asking.
4. Rarely Retweeting
Especially if you are engaging with someone, take a moment to do a search of their tweets, or simply look at what they’ve said lately. Retweet anything you find interesting.
Treat your twitter followers as if they are your friends and they will be.
5. Not Engaging With People That Follow You.
You need to budget time to do more than just figure out who to follow back of the people that follow you.
If they seem interesting, click through to their website if they offer a link in the bio. Comment on or retweet something they’ve tweeted.
If you don’t do it when they follow you, when will you do it? Get the relationship started right!
Fool #3: “I Use Tricks To Promote Myself.” Buffer this
There are lots of Twitter tools that will automate promoting your business for you. But many of them are a bad idea, and others have to be used carefully, if at all.
Here is a look at five things you should avoid:
Automatically sending a “canned” direct message to anyone that follows you is a sure way to get people to unfollow you quickly.
The problem is that it’s way, way, WAY overdone by people saying things like:
- Thanks for following me
- Here’s your gift for following me
- Help promote this cause
- Click here for discounts on our product
Also, many DMs are from hijacked accounts, and the link will take you to a website that will attempt to steal your password. So sending people that don’t know you DMs with links can be a really bad idea.
If you were the ONLY person on Twitter sending automated DMs, it would still be annoying to some people, but it would probably make you stand out.
But since tons of people are doing it, it’s just a bunch of spammy noise, so don’t do it!
2. Auto-tweeting About Your Post 10 Times
It will work, then it will fail, then you will lose followers. If you spread out your repeats very carefully over a long period of time, it works better.
But what works best is to engage with influential users, because over time they will be retweeting your posts, and you will reach more people that way.
Much more effective.
As the Toby Keith song says “Take a break from yourself.”
It’s often recommended that you tweet at least 20-30 useful things for every one thing you tweet about your business.
4. Link pushing tricks
If you see someone say “I’m thinking about getting a new car one of these days” and you reply to that tweet “@User Big Sale in our Car Lot this weekend!” you’re making a mistake.
If you want to engage, ask questions and offer helpful links. Don’t sell.
Once you have made connections, you may find the right opportunity to talk about your business, but not before.
And if you often tweet a link to a current news story, but the link takes people to a promotion about your product, you will be reported as a spammer and your Twitter account will likely end up being suspended
5. Trying To Get Followers By Participating In Trending Topics
It’s fine to get involved with a trending topic if it’s relevant to you, or you’re just looking for something fun to do.
But don’t participate over and over thinking you are showing off your wit and charm to tons of potential new followers. You are just annoying the people that do follow you, and will lose followers.
And it’s an especially bad idea to tweet something about your business and add in a trending topic hashtag.
Summary Buffer this
Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Do you disagree with any of these points? Have a story about how you were once a Twitter fool but found your way?
If so, leave a comment in the box below!