Don't Be This Person (What Not to Do On Twitter)

by Wayne Barker July 8th, 2011 

More and more businesses use Inbound Marketing (blogging, content, social media and SEO)as a technique for engaging with potential customers and clients and drawing them towards their products or services. Businesses tend to be  attracted by the low cost-per-lead of inbound marketing channels.

Inbound marketing- why you should use twitter with your blogimage via hubspot

To delve into the subject as a whole in a single post would be foolish of me- and to be fair, the guys over at Hubspot have got this covered with all their fantastic white papers, resources and studies (yours for the price of an email).

So for the sake of brevity I am going to look at how you can use Twitter in conjunction with your business blog  – and the common mistakes that businesses make straight out of the gate.

You may find that some of these tips are relevant  to LinkedIn, Facebook et al – some aren't…often they are just about communicating well.

So why Twitter?

Twitter is in the enviable position of generally being a great customer acquisition tool for most businesses. Sure, LinkedIn is better for customer acquisition in the banking sectors. Sure, Facebook is a better customer acquisition tool if you work in retail or wholesale. But…

  • Twitter is a consistently good social media channel for customer acquisition across most sectors.
  • Twitter is easy to grasp
  • Twitter is easy to understand and teach
  • Twitter eats up less of your valuable time (unless you become obsessed)
  • Twitter is fun

What follows are some simple do's and don'ts for engaging with potential customers and clients on Twitter. This is not a Twitter tutorial, this is not a how to, think of this more like a list of things that can help you use Twitter bring more traffic to your blog and hopefully more business via both.

Some things you should never, never, never do:

Have that stupid egg as you logo – it looks unprofessional. Use what you sell, by that I mean if you are selling yourself have a picture of yourself – a good one, not taken by your webcam at 11pm at night. If you are a brand then get your logo up there and make sure it is cropped correctly, nothing screams rubbish more than half a logo.

Never use the egg for your logo

Just talk about yourself all the time – this is the equivalent to that guy you meet while networking. You know the one that shoves his card in your hand and then proceeds to talk for 15 minutes about how great his business is – and never once enquires about yours – before moving zombie-like to his next victim. We hate that man – don't be that person on Twitter. You need to be retweeting, you need to be @replying. If you are going to promote your own blog (and therefore business) on Twitter you need to promote others a lot more than yourself a lot more. If you haven't read Trust Agents yet, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith – why?!! Go do it now! Then have a look at how they interact with their masses of followers.

Have a look at what is trending and try and piggyback on it never mind how unrelated it is – it won't make you hip (and what you think is hip really isn't). It makes you look desperate and will not you win you any followers never mind new customers.

how not to use twitter for your business

Or use a million hashtags – one (yes), two (okay), three (probably not), four (noooo), five, six, seven (aaahhhh!)

help a million hashtags - twitter fail

Wait months between updates – people will just think you don't care or are not bothered. They won't follow you, that won't interact and they won't buy.

Use your own personal account – it will end in disaster – guaranteed.

Start tweeting without a solid plan – if you are using Twitter for personal use then this is fine. If you are going to be Tweeting on behalf of a business do you have a plan? What do you want to achieve? What are you looking for  – enquires,brand recognition or both? Who will be tweeting? Do you have a voice that your business should adopt? If so, is everyone that is involved clear on what that is? Many businesses fail to see the importance and benefit of Twitter and other forms of inbound marketing just because they jump in blind…"everyone is doing so we should to"

Forget that Twitter is a social tool – what is it that the businesses do who are successful on Twitter? One common thread runs thorough their Twitter interactions? They are using it as a social tool. A communication channel. If you see Twitter only as a business tool you are probably going to fail. Successful companies are interacting, talking to their existing customers, chatting with their potential customers. Finding out what they like, what drives them. This quite easily leads people to their business blog, their weekly posts. Here you can position yourself as an industry expert – someone who knows what they are talking about. Once there, should they ever need your product or service they are only going to be one click away.

So they are the most common mistakes that I see – this is not meant to be an exhaustive list – I am sure that everyone who has even a passing interest in Twitter has seen other mistakes that are made. Care to share?

Wayne Barker

I work for Boom Online - an Online Marketing and SEO company based in Nottingham, England.

Boom Online

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