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9 Common Twitter Newbie Mistakes

by Team Caffeine · 1 comment

Twitter newbie

Twitter is a fantastic place to meet new people. Whether you want to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners, hook up with journalists, or just expand your mind by meeting interesting people, Twitter is the place to do it.

But for Twitter to work, you need to attract followers. Start using Twitter, and you’ll naturally do that. That is, as long as you avoid these mistakes…

1. Saying “I Don’t Get This” and Walking Away

Twitter’s a tough gig when you first sign up. You’ll follow all kinds of folks, and very few of them will follow you back. You’ll feel disheartened and start to wonder “will anyone talk to me here?”

Stick with it. Here’s how to get the most out of Twitter when you’re starting out:

  • Treat is as a news source. To begin with, don’t beat yourself if people don’t engage with you. Instead, get as much value as you can out of Twitter by tweeting your feed as a news source. You’ll come across lots of interesting stuff you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. This alone is a great reason to keep tweeting.
  • Tweet every day. It takes discipline, but the more you Tweet, the more you’ll engage other people, especially if you use hashtags.
  • Do as much as you can to engage other people. Answer their questions. Say hello to your new followers. Target Twitter influencers who you’d like to get to know.

You’ll start to build invaluable connections and eventually you’ll start to wonder how you ever got by without Twitter.

2. Leaving Your Profile Picture Empty

As soon as you join Twitter, upload a profile picture. When you’re networking in the real world, you like to meet people face-to-face, right? The same is true online. People want to see your face.

It’s especially important to upload a picture before you start following others. That’s because when you follow people, they’ll probably check out your profile, and they may follow you back. It’s highly unlikely they’ll follow back if you leave your profile picture blank.

In fact, research by HubSpot found that Twitter users with profile pictures have, on average, ten times as many followers as those without.

3. Failing to Fill Out Your Bio

When people check out your Twitter profile, they’ll make a snap decision on whether to follow you. An empty bio makes that decision easy – they’ll just ignore you.

A well-written bio, on the other hand, entices people to follow you. It piques peoples’ curiosity, so they want to know more about you.

Not sure how to start? Check out the best ever tips on writing a Twitter bio that we collected from across the web.

4. An Empty Timeline

Social media is a two-way street. It’s not like the TV or radio, where you passively consumer media. On Twitter, you’re a creator and a consumer. You create media by writing tweets.

Creating tweets is the best way to get noticed. The more tweets you share (within reason), the more you’ll stand out. And people will look through your tweets when they’re deciding whether to follow you – so make sure everything you share is valuable, or at least will brighten somebody’s day.

5. Not Linking to Your Website

You’re on Twitter to engage with other people. Ideally, at some stage, the engagement will move beyond Twitter, and you want to create as many opportunities as possible for this to happen.

That’s why it’s vital to have a link to your website in your Twitter profile. This link also gives people the opportunity to find out more about you before they decide whether to follow you.

6. Following Too Many Tweeps

When you’re starting out, it can be tempting to follow everyone and anyone. You just want to make some friends!

However, it’s important to be discerning in who you follow. We recommend sticking with:

  • People you care about (e.g. friends and family members)
  • People you want to network with (e.g. business contacts and potential contacts)
  • People who share useful stuff (you can see whether they do this by checking out their Twitter profile)

If a person doesn’t fit into one of these categories, don’t follow them. There are millions of other interesting people out there. And Twitter limits the number of people you can follow to 2,000 (until you collect 2,000 followers), so it’s important to be discerning.

Talking of not following everyone, beware of the temptation to join Team Followback. These are people who will follow anyone who follows them. While it might seem like a nice gesture, it will clog up your Twitter feed and so reduce your levels of engagement with people you’re genuinely interested in.

7. Selling

We only needed to use one word to explain this mistake, yet we see it all too often.

Twitter is not a business convention. It’s not a showroom. It’s a networking tool. Twitter’s a place to meet all kinds of new people. But it’s not a place to sell.

Yes, all businesses need to sell. But Twitter isn’t the place to do it.

8. Forgetting Anyone Can See Your Tweets

On Facebook and Google Plus, as a general rule, only your friends will see the things you share.

Twitter’s not like that. Twitter is a public platform. When you Tweet anyone can see it.

So keep your Tweets professional and clean. Yes, you can (and should) show your personality. But there’s no need to get intimate.

If you wouldn’t want a stranger on the street to know about something you’re sharing, you shouldn’t be sharing it on Twitter.

Talking of Twitter being public, you also shouldn’t be…

9. Going-In “Protected”

Twitter gives you the option to “protect” your Tweets so only approved followers can see them. Very few people protect their tweets in this way (thank goodness!). It’s not a good idea.

Twitter is a public space. It’s for communicating with the world. If you want to keep things private, then send an email or share your update on Facebook.

Protecting your Tweets sends the message “I’m too special to join the conversation.” And Twitter is all about conversation.

Over to You

What are the worst offences you see from Twitter newbies? Let us know the comments, below.

Lori R Taylor is the founder and executive editor of Social Caffeine. In 2009 she started her own direct response focused social media agency, REV Media Marketing LLC, coining the phrase given by her young son, “You bring the rain, we’ll make it pour.” Follow Lori on Twitter.

David is our acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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