An Ugly Twitter Presence

If you’re incorporating Twitter into your social marketing strategies (you should), I encourage you to mind this list of Twitter “don’ts.” While many Twitter marketing “experts” tell you to do at least some of the things I believe you shouldn’t, for truly social Twitter users, these are complete turnoffs.

“Social Twitter users?” Well… it’s a social network, not an I’m here so you can sell me stuff network. When you offend the social members of the network, they’ll take action. They may share annoyance about you with their followers, or they may report you as a spammer. What they won’t do is read your sales pitches and buy your products or services.

Six Don’ts for Marketers on Twitter

  1. Don’t be obsessed with how many followers you have. Sure, having a lot of followers means you have a lot of marketing reach. However, having 700 followers who share your passion for your market space is better than having 12,000 who are followers just because.
  2. Don’t let your obsession with your follower count lead you to tweet about it. It’s so distasteful to read “I’m only two followers away from 1,000! Who else will follow me?” Tweet something like that and you sound needy and whiny; that’s an awkward position from which to start a meaningful relationship. A corollary to this problem: don’t boast when you hit some target number of followers; that’s so high school.
  3. Don’t use a “system.” Yes, Twitter offers a terrific opportunity for marketing… and I’d bet more Twitter users are in it to promote something than are in it for a pure social experience… but you don’t endear yourself to people by gaming them. If you or your company is already famous, followers will flock to you because they can. If you’re trying to become famous, do so by being interesting and interested… not by running a game.
  4. Don’t follow someone back just because they followed you first. People may judge you by your followers, but they’ll judge you far more by who you follow. When you follow every random “person” who follows you first, you end up following the number-obsessed crowd, people who are tweeting purely to sell stuff, people who hope you want to look at naked people, and automated accounts that magically build up followers for their owners. If you run with that kind of crowd, that’s the kind of crowd you can hope to attract.
  5. Don’t chum for followers. By this I mean don’t start following someone with the sole intent that it will get them to follow you back… and then dump them because they don’t follow you back. This is really crass behavior. There are at least 50 tweets I’d be following today had they simply continued to follow me after they first started. I generally review new followers and decide who I’ll follow back every two-to-three weeks. In that time, chummers who start following usually stop. When I see this, I assume the followers were never interested in me or my twitter stream; they started following only so I’d follow them back.

    I’ve seen “people” follow me four times in a three week period. This means they followed, dumped me, followed again, and so on. If it was so important to them for me to follow back, why didn’t they just tweet me about it?

  6. Don’t expect anything from your followers. If you choose followers because they tweet about things that interest you, let that be enough until you get to know each other. If they really do interest you, you’ll follow them even when they don’t follow you back. If being followed back is so important to you, don’t chum. Rather, follow and engage: tweet a few replies to their tweets; re-tweet something they tweet; tweet an introduction that explains why you’re following… when they see how interesting you are—and how interested you are in them—they’ll probably follow you back.

Here are links to articles that explain my approach to engaging followers on Twitter. The first, Before I Follow You, reveals the work I do before deciding to follow anyone on Twitter. My goal is to meet people who will be interested in what I have to say… and those are most likely people who say things that interest me. The second article, Why I Didn’t Follow You Back, lists the things people do on Twitter that guarantee I won’t be following them.

 

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