#TwitterFails: 10 Mistakes Brands Make On Twitter

April 14, 2014 Emily Bauer

Twitter Fail

Social media sites have the potential to function as superb marketing platforms and engagement tools for brands in almost any industry. Twitter, in particular, offers easily accessible opportunities for companies seeking to improve their digital presence by garnering a league of loyal followers. However, brands also run the risk that they will disappoint, offend, or bore their followers with poor Twitter etiquette.

Get the most from your Twitter presence by avoiding the biggest mistakes that can tarnish your brand and give fans cause to unfollow. Here are 10 common #TwitterFails to avoid if you want to establish an influential, positive, and successful presence on Twitter:

1. Tweeting untimely content

Unless all of your content is evergreen, there’s usually an optimal time frame for any story you link to or picture you post on social media. It’s a waste of potential to tweet content your audience has not yet developed an interest in or after it has become old news.

2. Only tweeting self-promotional content

While it’s true that a large aspect of maintaining a branded social media presence is promoting your products and ideas, you don’t want spam your followers with constant ads. If you focus only on promoting yourself without creating other forms of value for your Twitter followers, you’re not only missing the entire point of content marketing, you’ll soon be missing followers, too.

3. Leaving awkward gaps between posts

Tweeting on an irregular basis or with oddly spaced posts can send a confusing message to your followers and reduces the visibility of your tweets. Ideally, you should space your tweets throughout the day rather than spam your followers with a flurry of Twitter activity followed by silence for the rest of the day. Consistency is always the best way to maintain an authentic brand image, even when it comes to how often you tweet.

4. Tweeting excessive filler content

Perhaps in your attempt to move away from strictly self-promotional content and to avoid unseemly gaps in between tweets, you’ve become guilty of tweeting irrelevant links that do not appeal to your fans. Tweets that add no value for your audience are generally considered to be useless filler content and can be very off-putting for your followers. The use of excessive filler content over quality posts can also damage your brand’s credibility.

5. Failure to interact with followers

One of the greatest crimes brands commit on Twitter is failing to mingle with followers. If you hope to foster brand ambassadors or generate new leads, it’s important to show your fans that you care about them. Twitter allows you to re-tweet, reply to, and favorite tweets directed at your brand by your followers, which provides the individual follower with acknowledgment and assures your audience that your brand is genuine and relatable.

6. Abusing hashtags

The use of nonsensical hashtags is a common mistake brands make in a misguided attempt to appear trendy or hip. Rather than stuffing your tweets with inauthentic tags and lingo, stick to what you know and coordinate meaningful hashtags that complement the rest of your content marketing and social media activity.

Tip: Here's a post on how to effectively use hashtags from content marketing master Neil Patel. 

7. Forgetting about multimedia

Failing to incorporate multimedia content in your tweets is a sign of laziness above all else — and your social media savvy followers know it. Unless your tweets are all particularly newsworthy or clever, text-only posts to Twitter will struggle to catch anyone’s eye. Include pictures, videos, shout outs, and links to other awesome content to keep your audience interested in what you’re saying in your tweets.

8. Tweeting too much negativity

No one’s saying you have to tweet happy-go-lucky content all the time, but bombarding your followers with overly negative content — even if it’s relevant to your industry — will attach that negative connotation to your brand. Instead, limit negative content to essential industry news and give the majority of your tweets a more positive vibe.

9. A lack of variety & spunk

Limiting your negative tweets doesn’t mean your Twitter material should be restricted in other ways. In fact, monotony is one of the biggest mistakes a brand can make on social media: why would anyone subscribe to a branded Twitter account with little personality? Emphasize your own brand persona while aiming for a balance between informative and entertaining tweets.

10. Beginning a tweet with @

So, you’re interacting with followers—that’s fantastic! Replying to fans and followers on social media is a great way to show you value your customers and helps establish a deeper connection with potential consumers. However, you may not be aware that beginning a tweet directed at another Twitter account with an @ symbol actually restricts the visibility of that tweet to users who follow both you and the account you’re mentioning. Instead, include any “@twitterhandle” mentions within your tweets, not at the start, to share a tweet with all of your followers — or add a period before their handle at the beginning of the tweet to block the reply function. 

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About the Author

Emily Bauer

Emily is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario who covers a range of topics from technology to travel. She holds a Bachelor in English Literature and Business from the University of Waterloo. No matter how many projects she is working on, Emily always finds time for baking, reading, and yoga.

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