The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Engagement

How Visitors Use Your Website

Thanks to Marketing Infographics for the infographic.

We all make mistakes. But some of those mistakes can hurt your online business and your reputation. Here are four common mistakes to avoid at all costs.

 

(What NOT To Do Online)

 

Online Mistakes

 

1. Not Giving Your Readers Options

If you’re going to create truly shareable media, you’ll need to provide a mixture of elements. People not only have different personalities, they have different learning styles.

Some may prefer to read or skim material and you can put out the welcome mat for these types by using bullet points, lists, subheadings, and call-out boxes. Others may prefer to listen to your message, and podcasts are an excellent medium for audio learners. (But don’t forget to provide a transcript, as well.)

If pictures tell the story better than a thousand words, using a dozen images in your content will attract visual learners and those who struggle with reading. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people have some form of dyslexia. These people don’t “see letters backwards” but information they read is handled differently by their brains and requires much more working memory and energy to process. It’s a bit like reading an article in Portugese when your native language is English. If the brain was an airport terminal, and information was baggage, the dyslexic airport (brain) would have to ship all baggage (written information) through a separate set of conveyors before it arrives at its intended destination. Make it easier for them by sorting information into categories and calling out important points for easier retrieval.

 

2. Putting the Good Stuff on the Highest Shelf

Making your readers work to obtain the good information is fine for college professors, but it’s not good practice for marketers and businesses. Putting the cookie jar full of valuable tips way up on the top shelf where it’s out of reach of most just isn’t smart online. You want people to find value in your content, and making it easy for them to recognize that value helps you and them.

Eliminate all those ten dollar words and aim for a teenage or lower reading level. Shorten your sentences and your paragraphs. Unless your company is an editing firm or college, your goal probably shouldn’t be to educate the world on proper grammar and usage. Nor should you assume your audience has the same educational level as you. They may have ten degrees to your one, or have an eighth grade education- the goal is to write so all can understand and utilize your information.

 

3. Not Paying Attention to Details

This can be especially hard for some people, but paying attention to details is essential in business. Why? Because others who regularly pay attention to details will notice all those inconsistencies in how you capitalize or spell your products and when you contradict a previous statement. If you struggle in this area, hire someone to proof all you online postings before they go live. If you’re representing your business, you want that representation to be impeccable.

 

Social Media Mistakes

 

4. Failing to Grow Thick Skin

Let’s be honest, working online can be brutal. Everyone with a screen believes they have a captive audience and a soapbox and most won’t hesitate to unleash and unload with little or no provocation. I’m not just talking about the trolls, either. Even well-mannered folks who’ve had a bad day or who failed to read a post thoroughly can turn into a nightmare commentator. We’ve all seen a comment thread go south and turn into personal insults and tangents that are more appropriate for booze-fueled debates among friends.

If you’re going to participate, you’ll need to pull up your Big Girl (or Big Boy) panties and grow some thick skin. You’ll also need to practice restraint and forgiveness, which isn’t always easy. Working in social media, marketing, and online business isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort.

What mistakes do you see people making online? What mistakes have you learned from in the past that might help others?

 

Conquering your Twitter feed can feel a bit like crossing six lanes of traffic on foot, at rush hour. And while there are thousands of tips available for using Twitter effectively, many of them can be pretty complicated. It shouldn’t take a PhD in Twitter usage to make good use of your time on social media. One of the best ways to learn is to DO, which requires a few actionable tidbits you can put to use right now to make your tweets more effective.

Twitter

rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com

12 Actionable Tips for Better Tweets

 

1. Easy Retweets. Make it easy for readers to retweet your high-points when you publish content.

When you publish a shareable tidbit you want to promote, add this section of code, replacing the “____” with your tidbit, and your twitter user name for the “@UserName”. (Just remember to respect the 140 character limitation. You can use this Twitter Character Checker if you’re unsure.)

<a href=”http://twitter.com/home/?status=_______. via @UserName”>tweet this. </a>

It will look like this:

“Making it easier to retweet is always a good idea.”-tweet this.

2. Track and Shorten. Use a URL shortener and tracker to gain insight into your retweets. The more data you have, the better you can fine tune your marketing efforts.

Bitly is a great tool for Twitter, but there are many others available.

3. Interact. Balance auto-tweets/scheduled tweets with real time retweets and live interaction.

Twitter scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are essentials for business owners and social media managers but it is still critical that you spend time interacting on Twitter.

4. Brevity is Best. Be short, but intriguing if possible. You don’t have to use all 140 characters if you can entice them to click with 120.

5. Be Personable. Allow your personality to shine. It can be easy to hide behind your brand and get caught up in the anonymity of online interactions. But personal interactions and authentic personality can help you build connections with others.

 

Personality

 

6. Keep It Clean. Watch what you Tweet. While being yourself is important, it’s crucial to choose your tweets and retweets wisely. You are representing your brand, your client’s brand, or your boss’s brand. If you wouldn’t say it in front of an audience comprised of your boss, your customers, and your mother, don’t tweet it. (Of course, if your brand is off-color, this tip doesn’t apply. Let it fly.)

7. Relevance is Relative. Don’t be afraid to “go off topic” and tweet about current events or something your followers or clients will care about. For local businesses, you can really capitalize on this and garner community support by involving yourself in what matters to your customer base.

 

Local Business Twitter Tips

 

8. Keep it Interesting. Retweet the things that interest you to attract like-minded followers.

9. Use Keywords. Include relevant keywords in your profile description to make it easier for new followers to find you.

10. Retweet Responsibly. Make sure you’re not retweeting broken links, spammy content, or bad information. If you won’t take the time to click and scan, don’t bother retweeting because your audience won’t either.

11. Keep Focused. Keep the bottom line in mind. It can be easy to get caught up in the information overload that continuously flows out of your Twitter feed. But remember you’re on Twitter to generate traffic for your website and generate income. Don’t get sidetracked. If you have trouble knowing when it’s time to get off the Twitter train, set a timer.

12. Variety is Good. Try to vary the times of day you actively spend on Twitter so you don’t miss out on interacting with people in different time zones. You might meet some terrific people by hanging out on Twitter late at night or early in the morning from time to time.

Tweriod is a Twitter tool that can help you determine when you should be focusing most of your Twitter activity.

 

These tips are designed to hone your tweets, focus your audience, and expand your reach to make your time on Twitter more productive. Using Twitter effectively can help boost your business, and like most things, you can put in a lot or a little effort, and your results usually reflect how much work you put into it. But putting a few actionable tips into use right now can increase your effectiveness while you’re digging into the deeper aspects of using Twitter for business. As busy professionals, we don’t always have the time to research best practices thoroughly in one or two sittings. Actionable tips can help you tweet better, now, while you tweak your Twitter usage and learn valuable information.

What actionable tips do you have?