Why You’re Getting Twitter Wrong

On the face of it, Twitter should be the easiest thing in the world to use.

All you have to do is create a message that’s no longer than 140 characters and hit send. But, judging by some of the tweets I see, it obviously isn’t as easy to master as it appears.

Below are 10 reasons why you’re getting Twitter wrong and what you can do to make it better.

1. Batching

Tweeting frequency is often a problem for people. How often is too often?

A lot of people end up sending out a flurry of tweets all in one go (or batch) thinking if they get it over and done with they can get on with other stuff.

The problem with that is twofold: you’ll hack off your followers by filling their timeline with your inane ramblings and you run the risk of only reaching a very small percentage of your followers.

Not everyone will be using Twitter at the same time, so if you want to reach as many people as possible, spread your tweets out through the course of the day.

2. Room to RT

You see a lot of tweets go out with ‘Pls RT’ at the end (i.e. please re-tweet). That’s all well and good, but with only 140 characters to play with, if your message takes up all of them you’re not leaving your followers a lot of flexibility to RT.

If someone likes what you say, but then has to edit your tweet in order to be able to RT it, they probably won’t bother.  Likewise, they may want to add a comment, but if there’s no room they won’t be able to.

3. Engage

If you want people to interact with you, you have to make your tweets engaging. But let’s get one thing straight, unless you happen to be a celebrity, it is unlikely you’ll get a flood of responses every time you tweet.

You’ll increase your chances though if your tweets are engaging.

4. Back to the RT

In number 2 I talked about re-tweeting and leaving room, well don’t forget that if you want people to RT you, you also need to RT other people.

When you see something of interest, RT it and share it with your followers. If you see someone asking for advice, RT it – unless you know the answer of course and then you should respond.

If you RT others, they are more likely to RT you in return.

5. Protection

On Facebook there are several levels of privacy you can use to protect yourself from unwanted prying eyes. Well, there is also a privacy setting available on Twitter, but if you are a business using the platform as a marketing tool, make sure you disable it.

Unlike Facebook, protecting your tweets makes you look very secretive. Why should someone have to ask to follow you? The whole point of Twitter is to be able to chat with anyone. Using the privacy setting would be like turning up to a networking event surrounded by an impenetrable wall of bodyguards.

Make yourself open and available to chat – if a follower really annoys you or sends abusive tweets you can always block and report them.

6. Follow me

One of the main headaches for anyone who is new to Twitter is how to get followers. Many people seem to have a hang up about following way more people than they have followers – well that’s where everyone starts.

The only way you can get your name out there is by following other people. Then if they like your stuff and RT it, their followers will see it, think ‘he/she’s great’ and will then follow you…and so it goes on.

So don’t get hung up by numbers.

7. Vague

If you have something to say, say it. Cryptic and vague tweets are annoying, pointless and frustrating.

That’s all I have to say on that one.

8. The difference between @ and .@

If you tweet about an article, blog or website and just use @, only the people who follow you and the site/person/article mention will see it. But if you use .@ everyone can follow it.

9. Think first

A tweet is for life (unless you delete it), but if it’s seen, well, you’re too late. That’s why you should never tweet in anger.

Always think very carefully about what you’re putting out there.

10. Chatty not sales

There’s nothing worse than having your twitter feed filled with spam tweets trying to sell stuff to you.

Tweet as though you were at a networking event. If all you do is tweet about your business with constant sales messages, you have become that person at the networking event everyone tries to avoid.

You’ve seen him, before he’s finished shaking your hand he’s thrust his business card and brochure in your other hand and told you all about his business and why you must buy from him. Then, without even asking you anything he wanders off to accost another victim.

But if you chat and engage with other tweeters, you’re the person who is naturally charismatic and draws people to them. The person who is more interested in who they’re speak to than themselves and who helps others and offers advice rather than sells.

I know who I’d rather be.

So there you go. That was a quick run through of what you’re doing wrong on Twitter and how you can make things right.

Remember, it is a social media platform that’s perfectly designed for conversation and engagement, so make sure that’s how you use it.




Sally Ormond is a professional copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Working with a global client base, she also finds time to tweet – you can follow her here: @sallyormond.

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