Business owners love Twitter more and more with each passing day, but one consequence of the influx of new users is that the same mistakes are made over and over.
Every day I notice one business doing this, that, or the other thing that enrages its customer/fan base. To help them and yourself, avoid doing the following five things on your business Twitter account:
1. #Hashtagging #everything.
Yes, Mr. New User, using hashtags works—in moderation. For example, if you want to spread buzz about your new coffee shop and you see #localcoffee is trending, be sure to include that to get into the conversation. No doubt some will notice it and will engage with your account.
Do not, on the other hand, turn the whole post #into #a #hashtag #party. Not only is it obnoxious, the posts become impossible to read, which negates the point of Twitter. Only include tags you believe will gain you interest and/or new customers.
2. Using crazy long links.
You’ve got the right idea, business owner who is starting to understand social media. Sharing interesting links is a great way to engage readers and show them you’re interested in what they like. They might even retweet your post, providing you even more social media love.
You forgot one thing, though: You didn’t shorten that crazy long link. Nobody wants to see:
“Check out this story on ant farms. http://www.antfarmsarecool.co.uk/post/f89suaf9u3289jfiofi32oif32j9/index.html”
It might even get deleted. Use a link shortener such as bit.ly
or Google Shortener
if your Twitter client doesn’t auto-shorten.
3. Arguing with flamers.
Did you know that not everyone on the Web is going to like you? It may seem impossible, but it’s true. You’ll often get trolls coming at you trying to drive you crazy and make you fly off the handle. Unfortunately, when you do, they win, and the exchange could land you in hot water.
So, before you respond to the tweet, “You guys are stinky faces!” ask yourself whether the tweeter has a real gripe or is just being a doofus.
4. Hollering. ‘Check out my site! Check out my site!’
The end result of tweeting isn’t to send everybody to your website to buy as much as you can. You’d like that to happen, of course, because that helps you stay in business. But if you treat the platform simply as a way to get people to buy stuff from you, you’ll end up tweeting something like the title of this section.
The key to understanding Twitter is to realize it’s just another way to interact with customers. Anything they want to talk about or that you think they want to see, you should post. (Hint: That doesn’t include constant reminders that you have products for sale.)
5. Not linking to your business website.
Remember everything covered in No. 4? Well, forget it for a moment. Why? Because you probably don’t have a link anywhere on your profile for people to click on. More than 80 percent of business Twitter profiles
don’t have any link anywhere to their website or store, which completely halts any progress you make on your profile.
[RELATED: Ragan's biggest social media conference returns to the Walt Disney World Resort in April.]
Even though you don’t want to spam, you are still running a business, so don’t hinder potential paying customers. Tell them how to do business with you.
Did we miss one? What’s the worst thing you see businesses do on Twitter?
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this story originally appeared.