5 terrible Twitter mistakes

Some are obnoxious habits, and others are innocent slip-ups that prevent you from getting the most out of the platform.

Business owners love Twitter more and more each day, but one of the consequences of so many new users is the rest of us have to see the same mistakes over and over.

Every day I notice businesses doing things that anger their customers. Here are five things you should avoid on your business Twitter account.

1. Hashtag everything.

Yes, Mr. New User, hashtags work—in moderation.

If you want to spread buzz about your new coffee shop and #localcoffee is trending, be sure to include that hashtag to get in on the conversation. People will notice and engage your account.

On the other hand, do not turn the entire tweet #into #a #hashtag #party. Not only is it obnoxious, but the posts become impossible to read, which defeats Twitter’s purpose. Only include tags you believe will bring you traction and/or new customers.

2. Use long links.

You’ve got the right idea, business owner who is starting to understand social media. Sharing links you think are interesting is a great way to engage your readers and show them you’re interested in what they like. People may even retweet your post, which will bring you more love around the Web.

But you forgot to do one thing: Shorten that long link! Nobody wants to see this:

“Check out this story on ant farms! http://www.antfarmsarecool.co.uk/post/f89suaf9u3289jfiofi32oif32j9/index.html

Use a link shortener like bitly or Google Shortener if your Twitter client doesn’t automatically shorten it.

3. Argue with trolls.

Not everyone on the Web is going to like you. It may seem impossible, but it’s true.

In fact, trolls will often try to drive you crazy and make you fly off the handle. Unfortunately, when you do fly off the handle, the trolls win. The exchange could land you in hot water.

Before you respond to a tweet, ask yourself if the person has a real gripe or if he’s just being a doofus.

4. Constantly ask people to check out your site.

The goal of tweeting isn’t to send everybody to your website to buy as much as they can. You’d like that to happen, of course. If you treat Twitter as simply a way to get people to buy from you, you’ll end up tweeting posts like this: “Check out my site! Check out my site! Checkoutmysitepleasedoit.”

The key to understanding Twitter is to imagine it as just another way to interact with your customers. You should post anything they want to talk about, or anything you think they want to see.

Hint: That doesn’t include constant reminders that you have products for sale.

5. Forget to link to your business.

Do you remember everything I just said in No. 4? Forget it for a second.

Why? Because you probably don’t have a link anywhere on your profile. More than 80 percent of business Twitter profiles don’t have links to their websites, which halts any progress they make on their profiles.

Even though you don’t want to spam anyone, you are still running a business. Don’t actively prevent paying customers from handing over their money by not telling them how to do business with you!

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases. He blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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