Lately, I’ve connected with an old friend: Twitter. I used to use it a lot because all of my friends were on it. It died off for a while, but I’ve a renewed vigor for it as I’ve started to connect with all sorts of new people—thought leaders, business professionals, potential clients, and personal heroes.
One thing I’ve really noticed is how much Twitter gets used and abused by those trying to use it for business. It’s such a personal social network that you should be extra careful in how you use it. So, in the spirit of having a bit of fun while still teaching something valuable, here are 9 effective ways to #fail at Twitter.
Only Post About Your Business
Have you ever been at a party and got sucked into a conversation with someone who only talked about themselves? They never gave you a word in edgewise. You look for the first possible moment to break away and then avoid them the rest of the time.
That’s what it’s like when you only talk about you or your business on Twitter. Only you’re not in a room with anyone and everyone can anonymously ignore you or publicly unfollow you with the click of a button.
Engage with No One
If you want to have the most boring experience possible on Twitter, and end up wondering what Twitter is even for, then don’t engage with anyone. When you don’t engage your Twitter feed becomes kinda boring.
In order for Twitter to be exciting and fun, you need to interact with people. This means spending time in your Twitter feed every day, reading what people are saying, favoriting, retweeting, and replying. I’ve met clients this way, business contacts this way, and even friends this way.
Post Nothing Personal
People like doing business with people, not companies. So, on social media—and especially a social network as personal as Twitter—make sure that you act like a real person. Post personal thoughts, opinions, observations, exciting goings on in your life.
When I look at people worth following, I look to see that it’s an actual human behind that Twitter account. I don’t want a bot, I want to interact with a person.
Never Reply to People
One of the most frustrating things for me is when you text, email, or call someone and they never answer or reply. If I wanted to talk to myself, I’d just sit at home and save the trouble. But I don’t, and neither do most humans. We’re social creatures and we want to interact with people.
On Twitter, if you want to grow your following and become known as someone who’s worth interact with, make sure you treat your Twitter fans as well as you do your real friends and acquaintances.
Auto-Tweet or Auto-DM Everything
This is probably the worst of all Twitter fails. If all you’re going to do is get a Twitter account and then let a service auto-
post spam your followers, you might as well not even have a Twitter account. Because no real human using Twitter is ever going to care what you have to say. This doesn’t mean you can’t use a service like Buffer to schedule tweets you write for future posting, but it does mean you should actually be writing your scheduled tweets.
Another offender in the auto-posting category is auto-direct messaging new followers. If I follow you and then instantly get a direct message, I’m obviously going to know that it’s not you personally messaging me. And if I know it’s a bot, it’s an automatic turn-off and I may even unfollow you for it.
Spend No Time Curating Your Following
A great way to have no fun on Twitter and never use it for anything useful is to spend no time curating your following. Growing a list of people to follow and to interact with takes time. You can’t just follow hundreds of random people and expect to get anything good out of the experience. Twitter is full of too much garbage for that.
However, there are great people on Twitter who are worth your follow. There are awesome people like Kelly Mitchell, influential people like Morgan Brown, smart people like Seth Price, and helpful people like Katie Lance.
Don’t Use Lists
Once you start following a large number of people on Twitter, your feed can feel like drinking from a firehose. This can cause you to either not want to check it, or to miss posts from people you really care about or are trying to keep tabs on. This is why Twitter lists are such a great invention. You can segment your Twitter followers into lists and then receive a curated Twitter feed of only those people’s posts.
I have nearly 20 Twitter lists based on the type of person they are, their interests, my connection to them in the real world, and more. This allows me to check in on certain groups of people at certain times, depending on what I’m doing or who I’m interested in checking up on.
Tweet or Retweet 100 Times a Day
A great way to get few interactions on Twitter and get people to unfollow you is to jam their Twitter feeds with a gabillion tweets and retweets. First of all, I know that you’re too busy to be tweeting that much. Second of all, you should use your Twitter retweets sparingly, only sharing the best of content.
Make sure that you are timing your tweets and your retweets so that you’re not flooding your follower’s feeds. When you do want to retweet something, consider quoting the original tweet and adding your own personal message.
Never Use Any Hashtags
Hashtags are Twitter’s way of grouping together tweets about a trending or current topic. They’re also a great way to find people who share similar interests as you, or are attending a similar event as you. So, if you’re not looking to make any connections or join the global conversation about a trending topic, by all means, don’t use any hashtags. However, if you want to engage with your fellow Twitter peeps, you might want to consider using a hashtag here and there, where appropriate.
Twitter is a fantastic way to meet new people, grow your audience, and connect with influential people. However, it’s easy to become spammy and totally #fail at Twitter. So, make sure you review these Twitter #fails and then do the exact opposite. Your followers will thank you for it.
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