Twitter is the simplest social media platform that gives businesses the most trouble. Although the premise – short messages 140 characters at a time broadcast to a list of followers – is simple, the application can be difficult, and many businesses just don’t’ do it right. Here are five things your company might be doing wrong on Twitter, and how you can solve them.
Advertising your business is more difficult now than it has ever been. Consumers fast forward through commercials, skip through videos online and unfollow overly promotional businesses on Twitter! Unlike the first two examples, Twitter gives you a unique opportunity to market your products and services and advertising your business in a contextual way rather than through straight promotion.
Users streams are already clutter with links and conversation; promotional messages are definitely unwanted, and the first place many users start when they want to cut the clutter.
You send DMs
You set your Twitter account to automatically direct message new followers with a friendly hello, a thanks for following or a link to your Facebook or blog. It seems like a friendly thing to do, right? Wrong. Studies of direct messages have found more than 200% increase in unfollows immediately following a direct message.
Without a doubt, this simple action is a great way to instantly annoy your new followers. Instead of auto-DMing your followers, engage them directly by answering a question, retweeting one of their interesting messages or thanking them for the follow directly. This will not only show your appreciation for your followers, but can “prime the pump” for more engagement.
Don’t answer mentions
Twitter is unlike Facebook, LinkedIn or email in that the conversation is truly two-way. Twitter users utilize this platform as a way to speak directly to companies and brands. Because messages are short, simple and transparent, savvy Twitter users know businesses will likely see their messages (no more sending email to an unmonitored inbox) and can easily respond.
Although many individuals use Twitter to compliment a business or ask a question, other users communicate complaints and frustrations in a very public way. Ignoring those messages (especially negative messages) can be detrimental to your brand; it can make your business appear uncaring or absent and in some cases, infuriate angry customers even further! Monitor your mentions daily, and run quick searches for your company’s name.
Don’t engage your audience
Even if you’re promoting your business on Twitter in a contextual way through product placement on tutorials or industry news curating (and not through ads) if you fail to engage your audience, your business will be largely ignored on Twitter. If you’re not sure how engaging your Twitter presence is, take a look at your stream onTwitter.com – if you don’t see any @ symbols, you’re not engaging enough.
For every tweet you send out with links to your business website or blog (or ads, sales, or events relating directly to your company) you should have at least three messages to other Twitter users, retweets of other users or mentions of other companies on Twitter. Not engaging your audience can make your business appear one sided.
Twitter is a fine balance between tweeting too much and tweeting too little. You have to tweet enough that your audience will see you among the noise of a busy Twitter stream and not so much that they begin to tune your business out or unfollow you completely.
Tweeting four to five times a day is a great start for many businesses, but experiment with your frequency and see what works best for your company. Use a social media management tool, such as Hootsuite, to schedule certain posts in advance, then fill in the additional time period with retweets and conversation.
About the Author
Thomas is an accomplished freelance writer with many years covering all things tech. When he’s not writing, you can find him reviewing companies like Intercall or working on his 40 acre farm.