Twitter for Business: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

twitter for business mistakes

To run a business in the modern world, you have to take advantage of social media. It may be theoretically possible to manage without it, but, realistically, an active social media presence is something that all companies have to get to grips with.

While Facebook might have the biggest user base, it’s Twitter that should be the focal point for your endeavors. The site is always current and up-to-date; it’s a thriving potential marketplace that you can’t ignore. Without a business Twitter account, your company could swiftly find itself trapped in the slow lane.

So, you decide you’re going to go ahead and create a company account right now. Upload a few details for the profile, load a generic picture, and you’re done. Your company suddenly has a social media presence and now the sales will come rolling in – right?

It’s not going to happen. Just having these accounts isn’t going to be any benefit to your business at all. As with most things, it’s all about how you use them. If you get it right, you could expand your customer base beyond your wildest dreams. On the flip side, if you get it wrong, social media could actively harm your business. Sound scary? Don’t worry – as long as you avoid these pitfalls, you’ll be golden.

Using Social Media As A Promotional Tool

“Huh?” you might be thinking, “isn’t that the entire reason that I have business accounts – to promote the business?”

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That might be why you have it, but think of it another way: what’s the interest for everyone else? Few people are going to follow an account that does nothing but spam them with its own advertising. Most people spend their lives avoiding adverts, so they’re not likely to invite more into their personal corner of the internet.

Whenever you post something to one of your accounts, always ask yourself what’s in it for your followers. Are they being told something new? Being made aware of advances or developments? Are they being entertained? Are you showing them something they have never seen before?

If you can’t answer those questions in the affirmative, then it’s simple: don’t post it.

Get It Right: Use a 3:1 ratio with your posts. For every post you make that is primarily promotional, the next three should be about something else entirely. You could chip in on discussions about the weather, TV shows, and aspects of pop culture. However, you need to ensure you don’t talk about the following point…

Discussing Current Affairs

If you’re scrambling around for things to talk about, then settling on current affairs might seem like a good option. This, however, is fraught with difficulty. There are horrible examples of companies who have tried to jump in with social commentary and have subsequently been punished for it.

For example, when the late Carrie Fisher passed away, Cinnabon quickly jumped in with a tasteless Tweet about the “best buns”. Twitter was not impressed, turning on the company and forcing them to retract and apologize. This is just the latest proof that current affairs and your business Twitter account should never mix.

Get It Right: Keep the topics you discuss as asinine and non-controversial as possible. TV shows, movies, pop culture, music, holidays – these are the subjects you should be focusing on.

Over-Promoting The Same Information

If you read any guide to managing a company Twitter account, you’ll quickly be told that you have to post anything promotional more than once. That makes sense. Twitter moves at a relentless pace. If you post something in the morning, many of your followers might not see it if they don’t check their feed until the evening.

However, that’s not an excuse to keep spamming and posting identical information throughout the day. That’s just going to annoy the people who do monitor their feed during the day, and you’ll be on the receiving end of an ‘unfollow’ before you know it.

Get It Right: Posting important promotional material twice a day is sufficient.

Writing Like A Robot

For people to follow you and want to stick around, you need to be engaging. More than any other social media platform, Twitter is about conversation. It’s where you can show your personality behind the business logo, making your company more relatable and thus more likeable. If you just write Tweets in a Wikipedia boilerplate tone, then it’s not going to engage anyone – in fact, they might just skip right past your Tweet. That’s the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Get It Right: Write in a lighthearted tone, closer to how you would email a close friend rather than agree a deal with a business contact. Make use of emoji and GIFs, also – they can help give your Tweets a personal touch.

Ignoring Customers

Of course, running a business is a tough task. You probably have a lot on your plate, which means that – sometimes – you don’t have time to monitor the Twitter account.

Unfortunately, that means that you might miss something important. You might miss a customer sending you a message, querying where their order is. Or – perhaps more crucially – you lose the chance to respond to a potential customer who is asking a question prior to buying. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, it’s likely they will go elsewhere.

Get It Right: For medium and large companies, the obvious answer is to employ a social media manager who is responsible for handling this side of things. If you’re not quite big enough for that yet, then you need to make it a priority to check Twitter every couple of hours. All it takes is a quick glance down your mentions column to ensure you’ve not missed anything vital.

Buying Followers

It’s tempting, but it’s not good for your business at all. While a low follower number might look miserable to you, it does have one upside: it’s genuine.

Twitter users are becoming more and more used to the idea of bought followers. If they see an extremely high follower count for a relatively small business, they will immediately be suspicious. So ask yourself – is suspicion really the emotion you want to be inspiring in your potential customers?

Get It Right: It takes time and effort to build a natural follower base on Twitter, but it’s worth it. If you do it right, rather than being followed by a bunch of fake bots, your followers will be engaged with your company. They will be either potential or repeat customers. That actually has worth; the same cannot be said for bought, false followers who have no interest in your company at all. It’s better to have one genuine follower than 100,000 fake ones, so don’t be tempted to artificially bump the numbers.

Twitter is a complex site that requires you to invest time into it. It’s easy to fall into potholes that can cause you problems, meaning you squander the opportunities it presents to you. Nevertheless, by avoiding the obvious ones listed above, you have the best chance of success.

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