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    September 29, 2010 // 1:00 PM

    The 9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business

    Written by Diana Urban | @

    Twitter Fail Whale Twitter is a fantastic network for businesses. You can monitor your brand to garner valuable feedback, keep tabs on the competition, engage your customers in conversation, or even choose to use Twitter as a customer service channel. But there are several common mistakes that companies make on Twitter.

    Here are 9 Twitter for business strategies to avoid , as well as how to remedy them.

    1. Be Overly Self-Promotional

    Would you want to have lunch with someone who only talked about themselves, and didn’t even ask you how your day was going? Of course not. So why should you act that way on your Twitter profile? Instead of having a Twitter profile full of self-promotional news or links to your own website, share other interesting, educational, or even funny industry news from websites other than your own. You’ll build a following more quickly, and you’ll likely be retweeted more often . And it’s not unprofessional to ask your followers how their day is going.

    2. Only Include Links to Your Own Blog

    Business blogging is a great marketing tactic, and so is sharing your blog posts on Twitter. However, these shouldn’t be the only blog posts you share. It only takes 10 minutes a day to contribute valuable content on Twitter. Check your RSS reader daily and share interesting articles you see there. Also, find other relevant bloggers in your industry on Twitter and retweet their articles . Give to get; these bloggers may reciprocate and share your content as well.

    3. Follow Anyone and Everyone

    Ever see a Twitter profile of someone with 10 followers who’s following 10,000 people and think “oh, they must be interesting!” Me neither. If you follow a ton of just anyone, not only will your Twitter stream be filled with irrelevant content you don’t care about, but you’ll look spammy to people who see your skewed follow numbers. Be picky about who you follow, especially in the beginning. You can use Twitter Search or Twitter directories such as Twellow or WeFollow to find people interested in your industry and what you're talking about. 

    4. Don’t Establish a Personality

    Your company Twitter page shouldn’t just be a corporate Twitter page; this exudes a stuffy tone that nobody wants to follow. Some of the top brands on Twitter actually put a face to the person behind the tweets, such as Comcast and Zappos . You can even just link to the profiles of people behind the tweets in the bio section, which is what Ford does. These personal touches will attract more followers than hiding behind a corporate logo.

    5. Don’t Interact With Other Twitter Users

    People on Twitter want to follow people who might actually interact with them. So if you’re only putting content out there, even if it’s engaging content , you might turn away people who want to know you’ll reply. Twitter isn’t only about sharing one-sided content. It’s about sharing other Twitter people’s content and engaging in conversations about that content. Make sure to retweet and reply to at least a few people each day so that you’re making Twitter a two-way conversation.

    6. Don’t Share Your Twitter Profile on Your Website

    Keeping your Twitter profile hidden from your website visitors, the people most likely to actually follow you, is never a good idea. Add a Twitter badge to your website, and even add a feed of your tweets to your blog. Make it easy for your visitors to find out how to connect with you in social media.

    7. Don’t Monitor Your Own Brand Chatter

    If you think that monitoring your brand on Twitter is too time consuming, you’ll be glad to hear that monitoring all of your business’s social chatter takes only ten minutes a day . Use free tools like Twitter Search or TweetDeck to monitor conversations taking place about your company on Twitter in real-time. After you complete a Twitter search, you can even click “Feed for this query” and add it to your RSS reader for monitoring.

    8. Don’t Customize Your Twitter Profile

    Not customizing your Twitter profile is like blending into an anonymous crowd. Did you know that Twitter accounts with a profile picture have 10 times more followers than accounts without pictures? And that having a Twitter bio gets you 8 times as many followers ? If not, there’s your reason for doing so. Also, brand your business on Twitter by having a unique Twitter background.

    9. Only Tweet Once Per Week

    If you tweet only once per week, it will be hard to get noticed in the Twitter streams of people who follow thousands of even hundreds of users. But if you follow some of the advice above, by taking a few minutes each day to retweet interesting tweets and share relevant content , you shouldn’t have a problem here.

    What would be your #10? Let me know in the comments below!

    Diana Urban is a User Experience Manager at HubSpot. You can follow her on Twitter @dianaurban .


    Topics: Social Media Branding

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