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Are You Making These 7 Twitter Mistakes?

by Zia A., posted 1 year ago
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After a decade of social media reign it’s safe to say that Twitter can be a great tool for establishing your brand, building a community, and extending your influence. But to get the most out of Twitter and do all of the above, you need to be using it properly. That’s why we’ve put together this handy instruction list (easier than an Ikea Billy bookcase!) that will help you avoid making the seven most common Twitter mistakes. Sharpen your Allen key and jump in.

1. Starting a tweet with someone’s username

“Why do some tweets have a period in front?” This is a question most often asked by my mother and falls under the realm of, “what is that thumbs up sign under my Facebook post?” or “how did Aunt Sue find out about her surprise party?” (that last one asked after my mom inadvertently posted a Facebook comment instead of a DM. The struggle is real guys. But back to the task at hand – starting a tweet with someone’s username.

This is a no-no. Why? Because when you start a tweet with @username, it WILL show up on your profile page and the recipient’s (i.e. @username’s) notifications and home timeline (if they follow you), but it WILL NOT show up on anyone else’s timeline, basically rendering the tweet kind of useless from a marketing POV.

But if you start the tweet with a period before @username, your tweet will be visible to everyone in the Twitterverse! How “tweet” is that? 🙂

twitter mistakes

2. Follows for follows.

Follow is a funny word. It starts to look really strange when you type it a bunch of times. But it’s also a magical word, a word that seems to hold some type of power where social media (and general human psychology) is concerned. Follow me and I’ll follow you. It’s the modern day version of the back scratching and deal-making from decades past. But the thing is, while following someone back who followed you is nice, it’s not necessary.

This isn’t grade school, you don’t need to give a Valentine to every kid in your class. In fact, there are some who would say that the relationship between the number of people you follow and the number of people who follow you, has an inverse effect on your Twitter influence. In other words, you want more people following you than who you follow. So follow accounts because they offer interesting and relevant content, not just because they followed you. This way you’ll not only build exclusivity, but you’ll avoid crowding your timeline with useless tweets, keeping an eye only on relevant content that will act as a great source of content when you want to engage and share.

3. Making tweets too long because then people get distracted, lose interest, and start opening new tabs to check out the latest cat videos on YouTube.

Oops! Did I lose you there?

Science shows that people like their tweets delivered like a diabetic macchiato – short and sweet. Tweets 100 to 120 characters long get retweeted the most – not to mention that, when a tweet is too long, and takes up the entire 140 character count, there’s no room for a retweet or an @mention to easily be shared by followers. So keep in short and to the point, and watch your Twitter engagement grow.

top Twitter mistakes

4. #UsingLongHashtagsBecauseYouThinkYoureFunny

Oh the hashtag, a bastion of self-satisfied smugness and attempted humor in the millennial world. There are a few people who can pull off the hashtag-as-punchline phenomenon with panache, but most of us fumble on the 50-yard line (is that a thing? I don’t know football 😉 ) – the point is, the essential purpose of the hashtag is to make it easier for people to find, follow, and contribute to a conversation. If you’re not using hashtags that people might actually search for, then you’re missing the point.

twitter mistakes

5. Tweeting too infrequently.

Depending on how many people you’re following and how active they are, your Twitter feed may be populating with new tweets faster than you can possibly keep up. That means that, unless you’re posting frequently, your tweets are likely getting buried under a mountain of 140-character snippets.

But if you want to stay top of mind (and top of screen) then every time you want to post, come up with three to five ways to talk about your topic, and schedule your tweets to go live multiple times a day. It might sound repetitive, but the person who saw your tweet at 8am may not be the same person who sees it at noon or after work. And even if they are, repetition never hurts when you’re trying to get your point (or your brand) across.

6. All business, all the time.

Raise your hand if you know the 80/20 rule. It’s a golden ration ripe for all sorts of applications, including your tweets. The fastest way to turn off your followers is to talk all business, all the time, using Twitter as a way to sell, sell, sell. Nobody wants to be advertised to 24/7. So follow this rule: 80% of your tweets should offer up interesting and relevant content to your followers, the other 20% can talk about your business, but no more. That way you’ll hit that sweet spot where you can get your word out but without ticking off the people whose hearts, minds, and clicks you’re trying to win.

7. Setting up your analytics too late.

There’s an old adage that says, what gets measured gets done. So if you want to grow your Twitter following and leverage this channel for its full potential, then you definitely need to be measuring your stats. Being successful on Twitter is all about knowing what works for your audience and what doesn’t. And the sooner you know, the better. Set up important analytics early in the game, and soon you’ll be tweeting the things your audience likes and needs. Keeping an eye on your mentions and retweets is a good place to start; you can identify what tweets drive higher engagement and revise your content strategy to leverage these new insights.

What’s the biggest Twitter mistake you’ve caught yourself making? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us! And for more great Twitter tips and tricks, check out a lineup of great tools at