9 Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make on Twitter

by Steven Boggs on September 26, 2012

Twitter Fail

Taking on Twitter?

Here are nine common mistakes small businesses make while using Twitter, and how you can avoid them for your own small business.

Empty Tweets
- Many small businesses consider Twitter to be a tool to push out links to their own products, news releases or information they’ve found that would be of interest to their customers and followers – and while that’s true, Twitter is also very conversational in nature.

Refrain from sending out links with no commentary. The links look like spam and add no value to your message.

DMs
- Although most of the Twitter universe is vehemently against direct messages, brands and businesses continue to send them.

There are many more engaging and appropriate ways to thank followers for following, including re tweeting their tweets or thanking them publicly.

Inconsistent Tone
- Some small businesses may have several people managing social media accounts, which is fine – but they should all be on the same page to present a cohesive message to followers.

Make sure you use the same tone, frequency and style, or if you’d like, use different styles while making it clear that different people are Tweeting. Consistency builds trust, which is the goal of social media.

Too Promotional
- Overly promotional tweets are like commercials on television – they interrupt the flow of the conversation and stand out like a sore thumb.

Unlike commercials (which customers can fast forward but can’t delete completely), certain keywords and hash-tags can be completely hidden in some Twitter platforms. Even worse, followers can un-follow you if they don’t like what they see from your account. Create a good mix of content, and keep promotional tweets to a minimum.

Don’t answer customers
- When you send an email to a business, you never truly know if they saw it. If you tag them on Twitter, you know they see it.

Check your mentions daily or have them sent to your email, and respond no matter what, even if it’s a quick thank you or an e-mail address to take negative feedback off of social media. Sometimes customers just want to know they are being heard.

Over Hash-tag
- Hash-tags are a great way to let Twitter users know about your content, to localize it or to inject conversation into an established Twitter party or group (for instance, using a hash-tag associated with an industry conference.)

However, hash-tags can be easily overused. Stay away from hash-tagging too many words in your message, and make sure the hash-tag you are using has other messages associated with it – and reflect the message you were intending.

Post too little or too much
- Twitter moves fast, but is also filled with lots of noise. Tweet too little and your messages will be lost; tweet too much and you’ll be contributing to the problem. Find a happy medium with your Twitter presence based on the number of followers you have and the number you follow.

Accounts with many followers and following as many can get by with posting more frequently. Make sure you have a good mix of content – for every two posts, you should have two replies to others.

Auto Post
- One of the most annoying things Twitter users find small businesses doing is pushing content from every social media account onto Twitter. YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest all have the ability to send links to the respective content.

Many also include comments that you post. This practice is fine occasionally, but if your feed is filled with content you’ve posted to other platforms, it’s time to rethink it.

Ignoring negativity
- Twitter is often used as a sounding board for customers to berate and scold their favorite brands for errors, delays and problems. Don’t be a “brand behaving badly” – address negative feedback quickly and honestly.

Use apologetic language and try to solve the customer’s problem – or at least give them an email or phone number that goes to a real person who can help them. Twitter fires are easy to put out, but you have to act quickly.

Have you made similar mistakes on Twitter ?

Image Credit: Walt Riberio

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Article by Steven Boggs

Steven Boggs has been writing about technology and small business solutions for companies like EnMast.com for 10+ years. When he’s not writing, you can find Steven coaching football for his two sons.

Steven has written 1 awesome articles for this blog.

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{ 13 comments }

Alicia September 26, 2012 at 8:37 pm

These are surely mistakes I want to stay away from! Thanks for pointing these out, Steven.

Sean From In Business - Small Business Resources September 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Those are mistakes that we must avoid.I will keep those in mind..

quality seo services September 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I certainly agree with this sentence “Don’t be a “brand behaving badly” – address negative feedback quickly and honestly. ” because it have a big impact on your reputation. You must always carry a good name so that you will have a bigger chance of making new customers.

Nanvy @ CRM Software Solutions September 28, 2012 at 5:27 am

I think “Too Promotional” and “Post too little or too much” are two common mistakes small business make on Twitter. As it is good micro-blogging site one can get good benefits by using it properly, and small business must avoid all these mistakes in order to get good output from this useful social networking site.

Tracy McManamon September 29, 2012 at 2:33 am

Many people fail to understand that Twitter is not a platform for advertisement. In fact, it is where people with similar interest converge and converse. So if advertisers bombard the screen with links which have nothing to do with the discussion then things turn bad to worse.

Limit your link building measures. Otherwise you may end up with no followers and all your tweets will fall on deaf ears.

ZK September 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Tracy ..you’ve hit the nail on the head , Twitter is not an ad platform …yet 90% of users on Twitter try to promote their products and services

Hurricane Media Video Production September 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I think noisy Twitter users are those that I’m most likely to find myself unfollowing, I follow lots of SME’s and I try to follow back those that fit my criteria, don’t follow too many people etc. I find you can’t really monitor your feed if you get much over following 1000 people

Jasmine September 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for sharing these mistakes, Steven. Your article is definitely a good guide for new Twitter users like myself! I will make sure I don’t do those mistakes!

ZK September 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Auto DM in the form of spam was too much to handle…glad they did away with it.

Raj Srivastav September 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Really Great Tips for using twitter for a Business. We should learn about Twitter operators, as its make our searches quick and easy. Hash tag is the best way to promote your business on particular places. Responding to users query increases Business value.

Softphone October 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I think noisy Twitter users are those that I’m most likely to find myself unfollowing, I follow lots of SME’s and I try to follow back those that fit my criteria, don’t follow too many people etc. I find you can’t really monitor your feed if you get much over following 1000 people

Felicia October 11, 2012 at 5:43 am

Hi Steven,
The mistakes you pointed out that are made by small businesses in Twitter are really helpful, and I agree that there are a lot of small businesses that acknowledge good customer feedback, but ignore those who have complaints on their products/services. I agree with Tracy, most people would use Twitter as some sort of advertising platform. While I have no problems with that, it kind of gets annoying if they tend to flood Twitter with their endless tweets about their products/services.

Internet marketing October 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Unable to answer a customer question will leave a bad impression as it will denote your not existing. They will assume that you just one of those spammers. it is very important to cater their need so as to fulfill their satisfaction.

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