Twitter Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid

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					Twitter Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid
The Challenges of Tweeting

The innumerable social media guide books out there typically advice brands on everything they
need to know in order to survive and succeed in the digital space. Although they are usually very
comprehensive and cover the basics, we strongly believe that every networking channel is
unique and has its specific list of do‟s and don‟ts that need to be followed. Online marketers
focusing mainly on YouTube for instance, will have a completely different set of guidelines from
marketers that primarily use Twitter or Facebook. Social media is a double edged sword; while
the benefits are many, online marketing has not been without its challenges. In the case of Twitter, it is a great
platform for: a) customer service b) posting regular updates about a brand or a particular product c) bringing brands
closer to their audience and d) companies looking to extend their reach and gain visibility. According to the “The
Fortune 500 and Social Media” yearly report from the Center for Marketing Research:

        American Fortune 500 Companies dramatically
        increased their participation in Twitter to 60% in
        2010, compared with 35% in 2009.
        Three in five companies had active Twitter accounts.
        The industries that were most strongly represented
        among the Fortune 500 Twitter accounts included
        retail; food, drug and CPG; and insurance.

The above numbers appear promising and show that
companies are already using Twitter to bolster their brand.
However, online marketers still hesitate to use the
microblogging tool to its maximum potential or give up after
the initial enthusiasm wanes out. This lack of confidence
could stem from running into common Twitter-hurdles and
making mistakes that can be easily avoided.

    1. Unclear Objectives
    Rushing into Twitter, without having clearly defined
    objectives, comes first in our list of the „Most Common
    Twitter Mistakes to Avoid‟. As an online marketer, knowing what you want from Twitter not just saves time, but
    also functions as a safety net for your brand. Making a list of what you expect to achieve for your brand via
    Twitter can help avoid:

                o   Irrelevant Tweets: Twitter‟s 140 character
                    limit is all the more reason why companies
                    should use this tool wisely. Tweeting about
                    something that has nothing to do with your
                    brand increases the risk of losing followers and
                    invites unnecessary backlash. This is what
                    happened in the case of Habitat, a trendy
                    furniture store in the UK. The company‟s need
                    for visibility did get them attention, although
                    of the wrong kind. When the @HabitatUK
                    account started to use #hashtags such as
                    #iPhone, #mms, #Apple, which had absolutely
                    nothing to do with furniture, decorating, or
                    shopping, the company was accused of posting irrelevant content. The Twitter community was
                    disappointed with Habitat‟s incorrect use of hashtags to tweet information that was completely
                    unrelated to the company.
                o   Missing Out on Your Audience: Unclear goals mean you don‟t know who to follow. Simply
                    tweeting without having a specific audience in mind not only wastes time but also translates into

© Position2, Inc.                                                                                                       1
                    unproductive use of the microblogging site. Brands that jump in without thinking about who to
                    follow either end up following the wrong audience or have trouble going further.
                o   Getting Left Behind: One of the biggest reasons why many brands get abroad the social media
                    bandwagon is because they want to stay ahead of the competition or avoid getting left behind.
                    This is true especially in the case of Twitter. However, ambiguity regarding your goals or the
                    „tweet first, decide later‟ approach simply increases the possibility of getting left behind. How?
                    When you don’t know what to tweet, you won’t know how to proceed!

    2. A Half-Baked Profile Page
    Why is it important to have a well-thought-out Twitter profile? One of the first things that potential followers will
    check out is your brand‟s Twitter profile page. Half-hearted attempts at designing a profile page gives out the
    message that you were either in a hurry to start tweeting or
    simply didn‟t consider it important enough to invest time on.
    Setting up a detailed profile on Twitter is simple, takes very
    little time and effort and gives people some sort of context on
    what your brand does. Having trouble getting started? Here
    are a few pointers that should help:

                o   Upload that Picture: The default Twitter egg
                    for a profile picture will hardly come across as
                    „egg-citing‟ to your followers. Recent research
                    from Dan Zarrella, author and Hubspot‟s
                    “social media and viral marketing scientist,”
                    shows that Twitter accounts with profile
                    images attract more followers. We think this is
                    especially true in the case of brands that are
                    new to Twitter and are in the process of
                    building their follower count and want to gain
                    visibility. This, however, does not mean uploading an irrelevant image or having a cartoon
                    character representing your brand. The „avatar‟ photo should represent your brand. Our
                    suggestion? Going with the company logo is
                    good choice.
                o   Custom Twitter Background: Having a custom
                    Twitter background will help your brand stand
                    out from the crowd. While some brands‟
                    background is generic and says nothing about
                    their business, the others try to include too
                    much, making it appear chaotic. The @Ford
                    account is the great example of how a
                    company can achieve the perfect balance
                    between too much and too little background
                    content.
                o   Filling Out the Bio: In addition to uploading a
                    relevant profile picture and having a well-laid
                    out background, it is important to take time off to fill in the „bio‟ field. A brief description of the
                    company‟s area of expertise, along with some contact details will give potential followers the
                    required information about the brand. Also, don‟t forget to include a link to the company‟s
                    website.

    3. Hibernating vs. Hyperactivity
    Many companies start off with great enthusiasm and run out of steam somewhere along the way. The abrupt
    silence could result in reducing a brand‟s follower count and may lead to frustrated customers probably wondering
    about the sudden inactivity. The other extreme is when marketers shower followers with an overload of tweets.
    For an online marketer, striking the right balance between hibernation vs. being overactive on Twitter is all
    about:


© Position2, Inc.                                                                                                             2
                o   Timing: Space out your tweets in a digestible format for your followers. Tweeting at regular
                    intervals gives brands larger reach and makes them look professional. Other benefits include less
                    „noise‟, reduced probability of losing followers and giving people enough time to read and
                    assimilate information.
                o   Avoiding Spam: Sometimes attempts to expand reach and promote a product or
                    service can go out of control and turn users off. Sending direct messages (DM)
                    when not required, simply retweeting others in your industry, sending @
                    messages to someone you don‟t know or trying to sell something to the wrong
                    audience are examples of how you can spam innocent social media users.
                    Japanese Coffee Company, UCC, tried to rush into Twitter by randomly
                    broadcasting their messages to unsuspecting social media users during the
                    launch phase of their “Good Coffee Smile” campaign. The company‟s unwise
                    use of an automated program that sent an @ reply to everyone who tweeted
                    keywords like “coffee” or “contest” was not well received. Additionally, the
                    company overloaded users with a preset advertisement tweet related to their
                    contest, which invariably resulted in Twitter users complaining that they were being spammed by
                    UCC. Our advice? Take your time, figure out what you wish to convey and who you wish to target
                    in advance, and use the DM, @ and retweet commands judiciously.
                o   Engaging: Too much sales talk and too little engagement can cost precious followers. Marketers
                    need to understand that, in order to connect with customers, it is important to actually engage
                    with them first. While it is tempting to give a Twitter monologue without engaging in a dialogue,
                    being your own brand ambassador all the time will encourage your users to label you as „boring‟
                    and move on. Keep in mind, Twitter is all about give and take; you need to show your followers
                    you are interested in them just as much as they are in you.

    4. Are You Monitoring your Twitter Account?
    Your Twitter marketing strategy has checked all the right boxes. You have the goals in place, boast a solid Twitter
    profile, engage with your customers, and even know your target audience and
    when and what you should be tweeting to them. You have it all covered right?
    Well almost. Twitter, being one of the most active social media channels in the
    networking space, needs to be monitored closely. Companies using Twitter as
    an integral part of their marketing plan need to invest in social media
    monitoring tools such as Brand Monitor because:

                o   Twitter is Where Most of the Conversation Takes Place: The
                    real-time nature of Twitter makes its all the more necessary
                    for companies to monitor the influence of their brand and
                    measure the impact of their messages. Also, most people who
                    want to talk about a brand or a campaign take to Twitter
                    because it‟s the ideal platform to start a trending topic (by
                    creating #hashtags). Twitter is where most of the
                    conversations take place; if you aren‟t there watching, then you could be missing out on valuable
                    information about your business.
                o   This Reduces Spam: As your brand‟s presence on Twitter continues to grow, the possibility of
                    unintentionally spamming users increases. Listening to your customers, finding out what type of
                    content they appreciate etc will prevent you from spamming their Twitter accounts with
                    irrelevant content.
                o   It Helps Decide if Twitter is Where you Should be: When it comes to deciding between the
                    various networking channels out there, marketers are often spoilt for choice and are not sure
                    what works best for their brand. We suggest analyzing the conversations, and finding out what
                    networking platform has the maximum volumes pertaining to your brand. If Twitter is not where
                    you should be, then this is possibly why your efforts at microblogging are not yielding the desired
                    results.




© Position2, Inc.                                                                                                         3
Conclusion
A recent study by eMarketer shows that, on an average, 30.6% of Twitter users follow between one and five brands.
With the growing number of Twitter users, we only expect this number to increase in the next few years. For social
media marketers that mainly use Twitter, the future looks promising. While it is great that the microblogging site is
being perceived as a serious online marketing tool, the ride on the Twitter bandwagon can sometimes get bumpy.
Also, in the rush to tweet, brands sometimes tend to overlook the basics and are faced with roadblocks that could
have otherwise been avoided.

Our research shows the most common Twitter mistakes can sometimes cost companies followers, besides affecting the
brand image. It is natural for even the most social-media savvy brands to slip-up once in a while. Take a deep breath…
Twitter can be one of the best things that happened to your brand or business. We believe that there is nothing a
little careful planning and monitoring cannot overcome. This, along with optimum engagement, scheduling of tweets,
and having a well-thought out Twitter profile page will ensure that your ride is smooth and you don‟t press the panic
button too often.

Twitter is powerful marketing tool that allows brands to connect, share, develop relationships and enhance their
sphere of influence. A few hurdles along the way shouldn‟t deter marketers from using Twitter to its maximum
potential.




© Position2, Inc.                                                                                                       4
About Position2
Position2 is a Search and Social Media Marketing firm that delivers continuous growth for our clients using our
proprietary “Surround and Intent” Marketing Methodology, delivered by our products. Our proprietary methodology is
a result of years of experience in working with diverse clients to deliver customer acquisition goals through search
engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), and Pay Per Click (PPC) and online media advertising.

Position2 was founded in 2006 with funding from Accel Venture Partners, and has offices in Palo Alto, Bangalore and
Mumbai. Position2 is a certified agency with Google, Yahoo, Bing and is also part of the Google Adwords advisory
council.




Position2's flagship product is Position2 Brand MonitorTM, a platform that allows users to listen, discover and engage
with social media conversations in real time. With a team of over 100 professionals, Position2 also provides expertise
in online marketing solutions: SEO, PPC, Media and Advertising.

Position2 works with leading global brands:




This article is also available on the Position2 Blog: http://blog.position2.com.
For more information, visit http://brandmonitor.position2.com or email info@position2.com.




© Position2, Inc.                                                                                                        5

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Twitter is powerful marketing tool that allows brands to connect, share, develop relationships and enhance their sphere of influence. A few hurdles along the way shouldn’t deter marketers from using Twitter to its maximum potential.