twitter_oopsWith 271 million monthly active users and counting, Twitter is a hot social media platform, but there are still so many businesses that are just getting on board (or want to get on board, but don’t know where to start). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scoped out prospects that haven’t yet set up a Twitter account for their company, and how unaware they sometimes are about the benefits of including social media into their social marketing strategy.

It’s easy to fall out of the loop—social media changes just about every single day. However, companies that continue to turn a blind eye to Twitter are missing out on a world of marketing opportunity.

So, if I’ve already convinced you to sign up, or you’re just getting started and are scouting for more information, be sure to keep these five Twitter mistakes in mind that I come across so often:

1) Following anyone and everyone on the planet

When it comes to using Twitter as a part of your marketing strategy, you should first answer these questions before going on a following spree:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What types of content will be helpful to them?
  • What content will be helpful to you and your business?

Once you’ve got this down, use Twitter search to follow members of your target audience to build brand awareness and have quick access to engage with them in the future. Follow accounts for industry publications that are valuable to your target audience to have access to the content that addresses their pain points. Be sure to follow publications that offer great advice for your own industry, as well. There is a ton of valuable content you have access to on Twitter, but keep in mind that whoever you follow, their tweets will show up in your personal feed. You won’t want to weed through irrelevant content when the time comes.

2) Tweeting at the wrong frequency

How much tweeting is really recommended? I’ve seen some information that says eight tweets per day is the maximum you should tweet—but in my opinion, it really depends on the context. If you’re live-tweeting an event, you’ll want to consistently update Twitter throughout the duration of the event and there shouldn’t be a limit as to how active you are. However, if you’re sitting in the office and need to kill some time, you shouldn’t go on a tweeting rampage. The goal is to tweet just enough so that you stay in front of your followers as a valuable source of information, but not too much where they feel like they’re being spammed or bombarded with information. Find the happy medium with your audience by paying attention to your tweet trends and activities and make it a point to test different tactics from time to time.

3) Over-promoting your company

Of course, you’ll be inclined to cheer for your own team, but be sure to put yourself in your followers’ shoes before you tweet. Nine times out of ten, you follow an account because you believe they will supply you with valuable information. Remember that your followers don’t want to constantly listen to your sales pitch! Only a total of 20% of your tweets should be specifically about your brand, such as links to your website or promotions. If you’re wondering what the other 80% of content should be, check out our recent blog post about creating a successful social media strategy that also offers more twitter tips to enjoy.

4) Failing to engage with your followers

Social media is supposed to be, well, social. A lot of business owners use the excuse that they’re too busy to keep up with social media—but I’d say that it’s almost better to not have a social media presence at ALL than to have a presence and not actively engage with your audience. Social media isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing; your network must be nurtured to drive the results you’re looking for. Take the time out to comment on followers’ posts or retweet their content if it’s relevant. If they engage on your content, be sure to respond every chance you get. If you appear as a social media robot, your followers won’t be motivated to engage with you.

5) Not setting up analytics

It’s crucial to set up analytics for any online marketing your company participates in, including your social media efforts. You can try to gauge your social success by counting the amount of followers you get, but there’s so much more to measure. Twitter actually offers both free and paid analytics services now, enabling you to track your success in building your following over time (the free version allows you to track your increase in followers over one year), your follower demographics such as where they’re located and what their top interests are and lists some of top accounts that your followers are following. You can also measure tweet URL clicks to get an idea of your best content to effectively tweak your social marketing strategy from time to time. Use analytics to improve your online marketing for the future.

Getting active on Twitter can be scary and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. With some practice, you’ll be using this social media tool to drive brand awareness, increase traffic to your website, position your business as industry experts and boost lead generation. It’s just a matter of doing it right.

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