You’ve written some amazing posts on your blog, haven’t you? Ones that are truly useful and relevant to your niche, but still you’re not getting the number of shares, followers or retweets such valuable information should be getting. So what’s the problem?

Well, it turns out that while just about everyone is on Twitter, not everyone knows how to use it for the best effect. We’ve scoured the posts of social media experts to find what some of the most common mistakes on Twitter are, and what you can do to avoid making them.

 

Starting a Tweet with a Username

It’s a bit counterintuitive, but starting a tweet with a username is one of the biggest mistakes on Twitter. Why? Because when you do, only the person with the @username, yourself and those who follow both of you will see the tweet. It won’t be seen in the feed of your followers.

So, all of those tweets you’ve started with @username are virtually invisible to the audience you hoped it was going to.

The solution? You must start your tweet with a character other than the @ symbol. Any character will do, but the most common practice is to include a period first, before the @ symbol. To include your tribe in the conversation, you must begin with .@username rather than just tweeting @username.

Twitter established this rule to allow for an ongoing dialogue between two parties without needlessly clogging up the feeds of their viewers.

 

Using #Buy This Product

How often will you click on a link that offers no incentive or motivation for doing so? Not often, right? And if you don’t like in-your-face hard sell advertising on your social media feeds, don’t expect your twitter followers to appreciate it.

Sure, you want to use Twitter to promote your blog or business, but for long term results it must be done in a manner that’s palatable for others. Remember, it’s social media, not business media. Just like your blog or any other social platform, you must first build your relationships before you begin selling. And consistently providing relevant information of value will get the engagement results you desire.

Krista Bunskoek at Wishpond gives a good example of this practice, and offers some viable alternatives that still tell about the product while also promoting engagement – a must-do practice for building your list to leverage the impact of shares and retweets.

 

Not Using Images in Your Tweets

In a post on BufferApp, Belle Beth Cooper explains the data their analytics have collected regarding the use of images in tweets. It shows that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than those without, favorites show an increase of 89% for tweets with images and retweets grew by 150% for tweets that included images.

And of course, your images must be relevant to your tweet. Don’t expect your followers to “get it” if your images doesn’t have a contextual alignment with your message. And, adding a link for them to read more about your topic also increased engagement.

 

Overusing Hashtags

Using a hashtag has become a common, and smart, practice on Twitter as it makes your content visible to anyone who might be interested, not just your audience. Twitter’s own research, shows that tweets with a hashtag will increase engagement (click, retweets, favorites and replies) by 100% for individuals and 50% for brands.

However, that only applies if using up to two hashtags per tweet – using more than two for each tweet will actually drop engagement by 17%. Too many hashtags muddies the water and dilutes focus.  

 

Not Following a Strategy

If you’re using Twitter to build a following, have a strategy in place that follows sound social media practices.

  • Your tweets should be on topic to your niche and the products and services you provide.
  • Acknowledge your @mentions with a reply of appreciation.
  • Be consistent in tweeting.
  • Add variety to your tweets if you’re promoting a post – don’t fill your viewers’ feeds by mindlessly reposting the same tweet.
  • Be positive and avoid bad-talking the competition.
  • DON’T USE TOO MANY CAPS AND EXCLAIMATION POINTS!!!!!!! It feels like visual shouting and the effectiveness of emphasis will be lost.

 

 

Focusing on Your Goals VS. Your Customer’s Goals

Your Twitter bio is a good place to start if you want to emphasize the benefits you offer to customers. Rather than stating your goals (which, really, no one besides your Mother cares about), focus on delivering a message about how you can help others.

 

Using Auto Tweets

If you want people to follow you, you need to show that you’re a real person, not a robot sending out tweets on a pre-determined schedule. People want to connect with influencers, not a curated service that pumps out popular quotes or the latest stats. The unfortunate example of a recent extremely racist tweet from the New England Patriots upon reaching a milestone of one million followers is definitely not one you want to emulate.

Scheduled auto tweets can and do have a place, but it’s your name and your account, so you really need to stay on top of what’s happening to avoid embarrassment.

Twitter users make a decision to follow, or not to follow, in a matter of seconds. You can improve your chances of getting shares and building a following by avoiding the common mistakes listed above. And keep writing that awesome content and providing valuable information to your audience, because with a sound strategy and a minimum of mistakes, you never know when one of your Tweets will go viral.