Twitter has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for some businesses and entrepreneurs. But many others wonder why they aren’t getting followers, why nobody retweets their content, or why followers unfollow them in droves.
If you’re using Twitter as a tool to connect with customers, then you need to take a professional and strategic approach. This doesn’t mean your tweets have to be formulaic, but it does mean you need to be mindful of your target audience.
For example, if you’re trying to sell auto repair services, your customers may not respond to a profile image that shows you holding your baby. They might not want to read tweets about what you made for dinner, your latest trip to the gym, or your political rants.
That doesn’t mean you should never share personal aspects of your life, but you should do so consciously and always remain cognizant of the fact that the primary purpose of your Twitter business account is to promote and grow your business.
Let’s look at a few bad habits frequently seen on Twitter business profiles:
Bad Habits on Twitter
Here are some things that businesses commonly do on Twitter that are probably having a detrimental effect on their marketing efforts:
- Locked profiles are profiles that other users can’t see without sending you a request. You then need to approve the request before the user can follow you and see your tweets. There are good reasons to lock your profile but only if you’re using Twitter for personal purposes and want to keep prying eyes out of your personal business. When professionals lock their profiles, they are merely preventing potential customers from seeing their business offerings.
- Validation services (like True Twit). For the most part, Twitter is an open forum and people do not want to jump through hoops just so you’ll follow them. Most people aren’t going to go through a series of validations to prove they’re people just so they can follow a person or business they’ve never heard of. If you’re using a validation service to block spam, rest assured, it’s blocking more potential customers than spam. Every time I follow someone and get this message, I unfollow immediately. It’s just too much of a hassle, and I don’t have time for it.
- Follow-backer! If you’re #TeamFollowBack, don’t advertise it in your profile. I’m sorry, but it makes you look desperate. Don’t you have something more important than that to say about your business in the limited space of your bio?
- Automated follow-backs. Nothing looks less personal than a Twitter profile that shows the exact same number of following and followers. There’s nothing personal or customized about it, and makes you look like an auto-bot who can’t bother to make choices about who to follow and who not to.
- Automated unfollows are just as impersonal. If you follow people because they’re interesting and you think they have something to offer, who cares if they follow you back?
- Using the default Twitter profile picture. You get two images on your Twitter page: profile and header. Twitter offers generic default images in these spaces, and while it’s not too bad to use the default header image, most savvy Twitter users do not follow folks whose profile picture is an egg. If an egg isn’t your business logo, lose it. Use your official business logo on Twitter and all your other social media profiles. If you’re a consultant, you can use a professional headshot here instead.
- Default Twitter header. While not as bad as the default profile pic, the default header image gives the impression that you don’t use Twitter much or just don’t get it. You can get a graphic artist to render a custom image in this space or use it to feature images depicting your products, services, or storefront.
- Bad bio. Use the bio space wisely. A blank bio means nothing and will result in fewer people following you. If users can’t glance at your bio and determine whether you’re someone they might be interested in, they will not follow you. Use this space to say something about yourself to draw the kind of audience you want. If you’re an author looking for readers of romantic thrillers, don’t populate your bio with your religion, politics, or family information. You can always get a separate Twitter account for personal use.
- Be professional. Don’t cram a bunch of words without spaces in your bio and don’t jam a bunch of hashtags in there, either. This only makes your bio difficult to read and people will click away without clicking the follow button.
- Monitor your recent tweets. When someone looks at your profile to decide whether to follow you, they’ll see your most recent tweets. A bunch of garbled tweets, especially those peppered with links and “BUY MY PRODUCT” or long strings of hashtags and Twitter user handles just looks messy. Make sure your updates are easy to read and make sure they don’t all say the same thing. When prospective followers (customers) see your Twitter page, they should be enticed to follow you.
Twitter is the internet’s water cooler. Use it to casually connect with customers, but use it wisely by avoiding these bad Twitter habits.
Need help with your business’s social media marketing? I can help. Contact me to learn how I can help you set up and use social media networks like Twitter.
Melissa Donovan is a website consultant and copywriter. She is also the founder and editor of Writing Forward and the author of over seven books.