Top five Twitter mistakes

Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki once quipped that “there are only two kinds of Twitter users: those that want more followers and those that lie”. Indeed, whether you’re a personal user just looking to share your two cents with the world, or a marketing exec looking to embed your brand in the minds of the masses, exposure is key to achieving your Twitter aims.

Of course, raw numbers of followers is no good by itself (except perhaps for bragging rights). In addition to quantity, the quality of the follower you attract – their relevance to achieving your Twitter objectives – is also paramount. With that in mind, here are the five mistakes that tweeters ought to avoid when hitting the keys:

Leaving a bad first impression

Users are only likely to spend a few vital seconds checking out your profile, and giving them the right initial impression is vital if you are to recruit them as followers. Having a colorful and professionally shot picture will certainly help, as well as an interesting and informative bio. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself as someone with worthwhile things to say – on average, self-described gurus get 100 more followers than the rest of us!

Not tweeting enough…

On average, the more a user tweets, the more followers they’re likely to get. In fact, they can even increase exponentially – while 1,000 tweets is likely to get you 100 followers, 10,000 tweets can attract a following of several thousand.

If you’re struggling to find enough interesting content for tweets, don’t be afraid to join the never-ending commentary generated by other users. Whether it’s world events, tv shows, or just a trending #Hashtag, your newsfeed should provide a constant flow of material ready for you to comment on. Also, don’t be afraid to (occasionally) repeat your more popular tweets, as many of your followers may not have seen it the first time around.

… and tweeting too much

Of course, too much tweeting is as big a problem as not enough. In fact, more than half of ‘unfollows’ are reportedly the result of too many tweets being put out in too short a space of time.

Even if your mind is an endless supply of tweeting gold, use a tweet-scheduling service (like Buffer or Hootsuite) to space them out over time. That way, they can serve you better when later going through a dry spell of content genius!

Also importantly, don’t have long personal chats with other users, as you will spam the feed of anyone who follows both of you, possibly causing them to click ‘unfollow’. Instead, use direct messaging or a different form of social media.

Inform, don’t “meform”

Rutgers University researchers found that only 20% of Twitter users use post updates mostly for information-sharing, while the remaining 80% use it mostly for talking about themselves (“meforming”).

Although it can be tempting to self obsess when aiming to generate sufficient amounts of quality content, staying in the 20% of informers can have many benefits – as well as getting twice as many followers on average, informers find it easier to acquire the “right kind” of audience, as they will tend to attract users with an interest in the specific topics you provide information on. Thus, informing – as opposed to meforming – can help you to achieve both your quantity and quality objectives.

(And finally) not engaging your followers

Engaging with the community you form around yourself is key to both maintaining your following and to making use of it to achieve your other objectives. The ‘80%’ rule is a pretty good rule to stick by – 80% of your twitter activity should focus on driving interaction with your followers – whether it’s replying to followers’ questions or retweeting and favouriting tweets. This will help to ensure a loyal and constant following who will continue to hang on your every tweet.

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