3 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on Twitter


Twitter has become an important marketing tool for many companies. Launched in 2006, this social media platform for sending messages of 140 characters or less now has more than 200 million active users who send 400 million tweets each day.

Clearly, a phenomenon like this has enormous potential to reach customers and prospects, build relationships and enhance your company's brand. The Twitter platform is changing constantly, and Twitter marketing is growing increasingly sophisticated. Still, many businesses begin using this form of social media marketing without much forethought and end up making mistakes that can do more harm than good.

Here are three examples of common missteps to avoid in your Twitter marketing. The examples are fictitious and for illustrative purposes only, but the dangers are real:

Consulting firm: Weak follow-through
The owner of a management consulting firm decided her company should be using Twitter. The job went to a new staff member who had joined the firm a few weeks earlier. The assignment was just one of a growing number of tasks on his plate. The program had no clear objective, and he was unsure what to write. He produced a flurry of tweets, then grew discouraged when he received few responses and no feedback from his manager.

Here's how the company could fix the problem:

  • Provide a clear mission for the effort: to build relationships and share links to online information and resources relevant to business management
  • Have a senior staff member monitor the project, review tweets before they are posted and provide bimonthly status reports
  • Track results, including number of tweets and new followers, as well as potential leads for business growth

Architectural firm: Untargeted content
An architectural firm that specializes in designing medical offices launched a daily Twitter campaign. But in an effort to play it safe, the firm posted bland, uninteresting messages, mainly "This Day in History" factoids. The company received little response since the tweets didn't relate to it or to the architectural industry.

Here's how the firm could fix the problem:

  • Include keywords and terms in its Twitter bio to help improve its search engine ranking; for example, it could add "LEED AP" if it is certified in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
  • Take a picture of recent design projects or tell followers about new clients the firm just landed
  • Write about news that relates to its area of expertise; for example, since it specializes in medical office architecture, the firm could tweet about issues pertaining to doctors to gain their interest

Software developer: Transparent self-interest
Twitter began as a place for people to share their thoughts and experiences, and marketers only came aboard after it was well established. A software company forgot this when it sent out a flood of advertisements and other hard-sell promotional messages on Twitter. It compounded the problem by sending impersonal, standardized marketing pitches rather than speaking with an authentic, human voice. Followers soon dropped off.

Here's how the company could fix the problem:

  • Use Twitter to promote discussion on software industry trends rather than its offerings
  • Restrict marketing to include links to the company's website
  • Cast the tweets as coming from the CEO, which can help personalize the messages and reinforce his reputation as a thought leader