Talking to many people who are not marketing professionals, founders, young business owners and bloggers I realized that there are many mistakes you can make with Twitter. And these Twitter mistakes can easily lead to frustration and lack in positive results. The feeling arises that „Twitter is not for me“ for some routines that can be easily changed and adapted.
It should not be like that. For a while now I get the feeling that Twitter’s main problem is that even though it is so easy and seemingly simple in functionality, you need some basic understanding of the processes to get on the track to success.
What I like about Twitter is that everyone can be successful. Success on Twitter does not depend on the size of your marketing budget or the fame of your business. But you need to get the basics right and grow your account from there – otherwise, you will have a hard time to get a considerable ROI from Twitter.
Here are 10 mistakes I have seen multiple times on Twitter that can easily be the reason why you do not see the results from Twitter that you hoped for or are looking for.
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1. Not filling out the profile
You want to grow an audience. That means you want people to follow you. While you can have the best intentions, if I cannot figure out who you are directly on your Twitter profile, I am not very likely to follow you.
Make it easy for people to find out who you are, what you are about and what they can expect to get from you if they follow you.
Take a look at Pam Moore’s Twitter account; she manages to tell you a lot about herself while still appearing human.
2. Not tweeting enough
There is some strange advice floating around social media telling you that you should post once a day on Twitter (or 2-3 times a week on Facebook). That is very dangerous.
According to MOZ, the average lifetime of a tweet on Twitter is 18 minutes. That means your tweet has around 18 minutes to catch the attention of your followers. After that, your chances of getting heard are diminishing. With tweeting only once a day, your account is then basically invisible for 23 hours and 42 min.
This does not mean that you need to tweet every 10 – 20 minutes – although there are some social media influencers like Jeff Bullas, who do more or less exactly that.
As a general rule, you can assume that most beginners do not tweet enough. Starting with about 10 tweets per day often works very well. From there you can start your own test and try different tweet schedules and analyze the results. What is best for you depends on your audience: who are they, how often do they visit Twitter, how many people do they follow on Twitter, etc.
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3. Not tweeting targeted content
Many beginners struggle with finding enough content to share on their social accounts. They end up sharing a wild mix of news articles and fun pieces with some targeted information in between. That is dangerous. You want people from your target audience to follow you. That means these people are interested in one specific topic or topics from your niche. Most of the time they do not follow you because they want to get daily world news updates, cat pictures or images from your dinner.
The content you share is your best way of targeting a specific audience. Make a large proportion of your tweets about topics your target audience cares for. You need to follow matching sources like blogs or Twitter accounts to find enough targeted content. (I covered some ideas to make it easier to find great content to share in this article.)
4. Not scheduling the tweets
Now, you may well be open to tweet more, but you have a few minutes per day you can spend on your Twitter activity. 10 tweets per day sound good, but you send them all in your 10 minutes Twitter time every morning or evening? Bad idea.
Sending a ton of tweets a within a short time interval can never give you the results you could get if you spread out these tweets over the time span when your target audience is online. The easiest way to do that is to use Buffer – the free version of Buffer lets you schedule up to 10 tweets at a time, and you can set the tweeting schedule according to your own needs.
With scheduling, you can also make sure to send out your tweets at times when your target audience is actually online. And even better if you find times to tweet when your audience is online and not everybody else is tweeting. Finding the BEST times to tweet is a science, but there are definitely some times when you will not see the best results from your tweets, especially if your business is local.
Another advantage of using Buffer for your tweets is that they also give you analytics: you can see exactly which of your tweets resonate with your audience, how many retweets and clicks each tweet gets. You can use this information to choose the best content to share with your target group.
If you want to check out more options for scheduling, check out this article.
5. Trying to sell from the start
So you are on Twitter now and start tweeting your sales pitches? Bad idea! This way you will not only NOT see any sales you will also fail to build an audience.
You need to earn trust and respect first. People will not follow an account which does nothing but sell stuff – or they will, but only if the brand behind the account is already famous. Is your brand famous?
Before you can even think about selling via Twitter, you have to provide value through your tweets and brand your business first. People will only follow you if you provide something they want – and when you are new to Twitter, that is not your newest product update or app feature. You are not a famous brand like Apple that simply has to say “here is our new product” and people have been waiting exactly for this news to run to the nearest store.
You have to earn some kind of brand reputation and trust before you can sell. On Twitter, this goes via sharing valuable information that your target audience wants to have.
6. Trying to sell directly via tweets
Your sales tweets do not get the results you expect? Your audience simply ignores them? The answer is simple: This is not how Twitter works. While some mature accounts with a large following and trusting audience may be able to sell tons of stuff via a simple tweet. For the “normal” Twitter user that is not the best way to go, especially if you are new, and your audience does not have a very trusting relationship with you (yet).
Selling via Twitter often is a rather indirect way. Most of the time marketers first build an audience and then direct their audience to helpful content back on their website, they turn some of their followers into lead via newsletter signups, and then they nurture these leads with email. But even if it is not a tweet that directly results in a sale, your customers will be influenced by your social activity and the content you share.
Overly salesy tweets will most of the time lead to nothing but frustration – on both sides.
7. Not providing enough value
The key to Twitter success is to provide enough value. Value on Twitter comes in the form of information that your target group wants to have or is searching for. If you do not have enough valuable information on your own website that you can share on your Twitter account, you can easily add more value by curating other people’s content. Simply check out your competitors and influencers from your niche. Their content can easily help you become a Twitter star. (here is how to do that)
8. Thinking tweeting is enough to grow an audience
It is the same as publishing great content on your unknown website and waiting for an audience to appear magically out of thin air.
The hard truth it: for 99,9% of Twitter users your audience will not grow if you simply tweet great content but do nothing else. How can people know about you if you are new, have no followers and no one sees your tweets?
There are multiple ways to grow a social audience. Some work directly on Twitter, some methods that help you grow your audience are using other people’s audience.
You need a plan how you are growing your audience, especially in the beginning when you do not have many people retweeting your tweets or sharing your content. And I am not necessarily talking about paid ads here, even though they can help. If you need some ideas what you can do, check out this list of ideas.
9. Giving up after a couple of days
This is something that not only happens on Twitter: People give up too early. It is the same with blogging or other social media activities. What people do not realize is that it all starts with growing an audience. Before you can expect huge amounts of sales or visitors to your content from Twitter, you need to grow your following. And that needs some time.
Most of the time results seem small at the beginning, but they will pick up later if you get it right.
Also, every situation is different. It may take you some time of trial, measuring, evaluating and adjusting before you find your optimal activity: The right content, the right amount of updates per day, the right people to connect to and the right tone of communication.
You may have got all of the above right, you found some followers, you are tweeting regularly and trying to provide value – and still, the results do not come.
Maybe you attract the wrong audience?
I have seen that multiple times. To get more reactions on social media people turn to images, quotes, and content that gets more retweets and likes. They even get some followers. But that’s all they get.
Why? Because they attract followers that are actually not at all from their target group. If that happens, you may even have an audience; they can even interact with your activity, but you will never see any measurable results for your business because they simply are not from your target group. They are interested in your update but not in your business.
If that happens, you are facing total failure and have to regroup:
- Find out what your TARGET AUDIENCE is interested in
- Tweet content for your target audience, even if you get fewer reactions with your followers for now
- Find out what your competitors and influencers from your niche are doing and try to learn from them
Followers alone are only good for bragging. To get results for a business, blog or other venture, you have to be careful that these followers are active and from your target group. Only then can you expect to see results.
Update October 2018:
There is something else that many beginners are missing on Twitter: Twitter advanced search. Twitter search is a lot more than the little search bar in the top right corner of your desktop Twitter view. You can search for keywords and keyphrases. You can also exclude a word from your search, select a date range for your search results, use local search to get more specific results – and use Twitter advanced search to monitor your search query and new tweets that come in that fulfill your search terms.
Twitter advanced search is incredibly flexible – and you are totally missing out if you do not know the basics.
Twitter is for everyone: Even the smallest business, blog or a single person can have huge success with Twitter (Check out these Twitter Case Studies for examples.) But there are some basics you need to know before you can expect results. Once you have brought your Twitter account on track to growth, have attracted some followers who help you share your content and spread the word about your brand, your results will pick up. But Twitter is not something you can automate without understanding the basics and still expect to see results fast. It takes understanding, some time and patience!
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