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Lee Odden

50 Ways to FAIL On Twitter

By Lee Odden     Microblogging, Online Marketing, Social Media

twitter tipsLike many others, I scoffed at Twitter when I first heard of it. What use could sending short messages to people I don’t know be?  The mental leap from IM and Facebook status updates to Twitter makes it easier, but business use seemed pointless at first.  As I noticed more of my Search, Social and PR industry peers using Twitter, it seemed a good idea to test out.

While I don’t have a million followers, or even 100,000, I’ve found out that for my purposes, quality is the key and the 13k or so followers I am lucky to be associated with are appreciated a lot more. Being strategically useful and helpful builds trust, attracts influential followers (vs bots and spammers) and results in a new channel for social networking.  Individual tweets may or may not be useful, but when you add them up over time, a bigger picture emerges.

Twitter Marketing tips are not hard to come by. Ease of use combined with the overall ease of publishing online makes available more than enough advice on using Twitter as a consumer as well as for brand monitoring, marketing, customer service, real-time search, competitive intelligence and even direct sales.

Yes, there’s plenty of advice on what you should do with Twitter, but based on increasing mis-behaviors, there are many ways to fail.  Below is a list of 10 “Don’ts” on Twitter from me, followed by 40 more provided by the smart Tweeple who responded on Twitter :

  • Don’t auto reply follows with a link to your free piece of crap ebook. This sentiment is shared several times below.
  • Don’t provide an obscure description of who you are and what you do
  • No photo or an image that only makes sense to you and your imaginary friends
  • Don’t mention a great resource with no link
  • Not customizing your background
  • Don’t post 10 messages in succession (also repeated below)
  • Don’t follow over 1000 people in a 2 hour period
  • Don’t write about the cat/hamster/potted plant over and over again
  • Don’t swear often and expect business people to take you seriously (Unless you work for Outspoken Media)
  • Don’t over-abbreviate.

Here are a few “Twitter FAIL” tips from Tweeple following @leeodden

  • @glenngabe DON’T tell people on the public timeline that someone else is on vacation.  Saw this happen last week… Can get a house robbed!
  • @glenngabe DON’T reply on the public timeline when you meant to DM (or when it should be a DM…)
  • @cyandle don’t retweet EVERYTHING… :)
  • @kholloway Don’t expect me to follow you if you have 0 updates
  • @aimclear DO research content you recommend, add value to the bookmark, Success is gained by offering value, Friends made by being a friend.
  • @aimclear Don’t compliment gratuitously in public
  • @shelisrael  Don’t tell people not to do something on Twitter. It will just give them ideas.
  • @kenburbary Obvious but annoying, DON’T auto DM spam (also mentioned by @CarrieHill @Justin_Freid @NicoleElise)
  • @RonArden Twitter don’ts: don’t send spam and don’t send me ads for things. This is the quickest way to get me to unfollow someone.
  • @doctordns Just don’t be stupid – some people will take whatever you write and use it against you. If not now, then when you least expect it!
  • @JeremyMeyers “don’t” spend all your time on twitter talking about twitter (also mentioned by @timjahn)
  • @thelostagency dont tweet broken links, and if you are retweeting check link is accurate and not spam/broken :)
  • @rickburnes Don’t pretend that Twitter alone is a marketing plan (you only get referrals from Twitter if you have great content to refer to).
  • @steveplunkett don’t ever argue.. in writing on twitter…
  • @Aerocles Don’t tweet breaking news that’s more than one hour old, we’ve all heard/seen it already
  • @brandonfritz@leeodden Don’t St@lk
  • @KateOnline Don’t take credit for tweets that did not originate from you (also mentioned by @matthewdiehl)
  • @glager Dont report on every piece of news you can get your hands on
  • @kimgarretson Don’t tweet about your need for coffee in the mornings. This has moved past cliche to downright irritating.
  • @Ms_Write Test links before tweeting them. Nothing worse then a dead link.
  • @MBenti Before you use twitter for your business b/c it’s the “thing to do”, take time to observe and figure it out for yourself.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t retweet something and leave off the original Twitter poster. Always give credit to those who wrote it first.
  • @KaseyInCharge here’s a “don’t”: don’t talk about ways to increase followers. so annoying. people are here for conversation…
  • @AmberGallihar Don’t repost the same tweet more than three times. We saw it.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t say anything that could get you fired or prevent you from getting a job.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t be boring. A simple rule is “Never tweet about food or the weather. And never your bathroom habits. Seriously. Never.
  • @steveplunkett no foul language in same tweet as a URL. (SafeSearch Anchor text)
  • @Saudiqua Don’t tweet emotional rants!
  • @bobmutch ya don’t share stuff you are doing or going to do that is too personal
  • @melaniemitchell don’t sell to people who don’t care about what you have to say.
  • @michaelpearsun Don’t worry about your follower count. It’s about quality.
  • @michaelpearsun Don’t let spammers into your feed
  • @marrina Re-tweet of a re-tweet. So annoying.
  • @patiomensch First, you must call it a list of “don’ts”  (ah, the spelling Fail)
  • @EstrellaBella10 Don’t post multiple back-to-back updates on Twitter. Many people have complained about that.
  • @myklroventine Don’t try to explain it to Letterman
  • @imeldak Don’t join things that gets you thousands of ‘instant’ followers. Quality of followers is always better than quantity
  • @anon Don’t post a link to a picture of yourself with a large knife, especially if you are a governor
  • @anon Responses to ethics charges are probably best left for a forum where you can respond with more than 140 characters

Last, but not least: @marrinaHelp compile a list of “dont’s” for Twitter

That should get our “What not to do on Twitter list” party started. What are your Twitter dont’s?


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