Twitter newbies all make them--deadly mistakes that can tank your Twitter account and make your company look bad.

Here's what they are and how you can avoid them.

1. Not using Twitter Tools

If you want to run a professional Twitter account, it's a mistake to rely only on Twitter's free interface. You need tools, baby! Twitter tools!


Because you need to be able to schedule tweets in advance, find and follow users who are likely to follow you back, and unfollow dead weight.

You can't do any of this quickly or effectively by yourself.

We like tweetbig.com for finding users who may be interested in our stream and who are likely to follow us back. Tweetbig is a fast and easy way to build your list. We also like who.unfollowed.me for identifying and dumping unfollowers.

2. Tweeting Too Much and Tweeting the Same thing More than Once

Some of your followers are following thousands of people, which means it's easy for your one little tweet to get lost.

However, some of your followers are only following a few people, so if you flood their Twitter stream. . . guess what? They'll unfollow you. Not good.

You especially don't want to alienate your followers who only follow a few people, because those are the ones who are actually reading your tweets.

Be careful with your tweet volume and don't tweet the same content twice.

3. Failure to Engage in Conversations

You know that Toby Keith song "I Wanna Talk About Me?" Yeah, don't be that person he's singing about.

We know you wanna talk about you. But you gotta keep the conversation a two-way street. If someone sends you an @reply, make sure you reply to them as well!

If someone re-tweets you, thank them! Don't just put all your stuff out there and refuse to converse about it.

4. Failure to Tweet Around a Theme

People follow topics they're interested in. Keyword here is "topic." A "topic" means "a subject or theme of a common discourse" according to dictionary.com.

If your tweets are all over the place and don't revolve around a certain topic or theme, people may start to wonder why they followed you in the first place.

For example, if you're supposed to be tweeting about business internet service but then go off on a green martian tangent, that's a great way to inspire people to click the "unfollow" button.

5. Too Much Blatant Self-Promotion

Okay, back to the Toby Keith song. For real, take a break from yourself.

If there's one thing the 21st century has way too much of, it's advertising. Nobody wants to sign up to read ads.

Tweet about news or topics of interest that are relevant to your business. If you're blogging about news and topics of interest, use your Twitter stream to link back to your blog.

Then, maybe every tenth tweet, you can do a business promo. But at a minimum keep the business promo tweets to one in ten. If you can manage that, your stream will stay readable.

6. Neglecting to Help Others

You'll attract and maintain loyal followers if you engage in conversation and help others. This means answering questions, using @replies, and retweeting other people's content--in moderation according to the rule outlined in number 2, of course.

7. Not Following Back

There is no legitimate reason not to follow those who follow you back--unless they are accounts you just don't want to be associated with.

Following others back helps build a sense of community and will also allow you to keep larger numbers of followers.

Are you going to get followers who are only following you in hopes of getting a followback for themselves? Sure. But you never know when those people might see one of your tweets and also become a loyal customer.

Follow back! It's just polite. And it's a great way to attract and keep a large number of followers.

Now you know the Seven Deadly Twitter Mistakes. Get out there and tweet with confidence!