How To: Look Like An Amateur on Twitter

Twitter has exploded past the mainstream growth curve and is finding its way into marketing programs that are run by people with little to no experience using social media as a community building tool with a marketing mindset.

When rookies join Twitter on behalf of the companies or programs they work for, veterans can sniff them out in a split-second. And when this happens, your chances of Twitter promotional success are destined for failure.

Want to make sure your prospective customers follow you instead of shaking their heads in disgust and moving on?

Be sure NOT to do any of the following:

  • Use a default avatar. This is by far one of the fastest ways to be ignored on Twitter, even by not-so-veteran users. It shows that you’re lazy, uncreative, and probably not in the right mindset for the Twitter community. It’s obvious all you care about is spamming people with your promotion.
  • Use a default background. Okay, this one is not quite as bad as using a default avatar, but not by much. It still shows that you’re lazy and uncreative.
  • Use the wrong background. Perhaps worse than using a default background is using one that associates your program with the wrong message. For example, don’t make the same mistake of one local branch’s Twitter account for a coupon program of using a picture of a local Mormon church as their background. Especially don’t use a picture of something when you don’t even know what it is a picture of (which is what this group did). A coupon program and a Mormon church don’t go together, unless the program is going to be funding the church in some way through proceeds.
  • Follow 5x to 20x more people than are following you. When you follow a ton of people, and they don’t follow you back, even more people are not going to follow you back. It’s obvious to veterans and non-veterans alike that you don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re on Twitter for the wrong reasons. If your following count is 653 and your followers count is 54, you’ve got it wrong.
  • Retweet people and promote yourself in the same tweet. Retweeting is commonly considered a large compliment in the Twitterverse. But when used incorrectly, it’s annoying to veterans and non-veterans alike. People care about retweets when they useful messages, not you taking an opportunity to promote yourself because someone happened to mention something related to your program.
  • Not engage in actual conversation with other people on Twitter. Twitter is a social community, not a place for you to blast your marketing messages at people. Just because you happen to retweet someone, also, does not mean you are having conversation with them. Using an @ reply to send someone a marketing message also does not qualify as a conversation either.
  • Only post a few posts to Twitter. This is almost always followed by spam-following 500 people, furthering the frustration on the part of those being followed. People enjoy being followed, but not amateurs, they want to be followed by people that they can connect with.

Don’t be an amateur

Before you jump on Twitter and make it painfully obvious that you don’t know what you’re doing, read some of these great articles on how to use Twitter for marketing effectively. They are written by people that have proven track records in the social network, and should be listened to.

Chris Brogan