With continued growth and use (though still nothing on the scale of Facebook), I find there are still several things you want to avoid on Twitter. There’s a lot of spam on Twitter so you want to take every opportunity to make sure you’re legitimizing yourself when you can. With that in mind, here are seven things you don’t want to do with your Twitter account:
1. ReTweet Compliments: I put this up there with the worst things you can do on Twitter. Nothing says “I need you to affirm me and think I’m special” like ReTweeting a ReTweet about you. You might feel good about it but your discrediting yourself to loads of followers so it’s best to avoid this altogether. I’ve written about this before so I’ll let you check that out if you’re interested in diving in further on this idea. Bonus: Don’t ReTweet a “thank you” Tweet to a ReTweeted compliment.
2. Automatic Direct Messages: If Twitter is a platform for personally and authentically connecting you with other people then what would incline you to create an automated (therefore impersonal and generic) direct message for people who follow you? You might as well say, “I’m planning on hitting you up with all my promotions so get ready” because that’s the way it comes across. Bonus: Don’t send people a link to a download something you wrote unless they ask for it.
3. No Profile Picture: Your Twitter profile is key to legitimizing your real-life existence. When you follow someone on Twitter they’re trying to figure out if your human, interesting, and worth the follow back. You have one strike against you if you don’t use a profile picture. Bonus: Don’t use a cartoon or celebrity picture instead of your own face either…unless you are a cartoon or celebrity.
4. No Bio: In the same way a profile picture legitimizes you on Twitter, the bio does as well. The absence of a bio on your profile communicates that you’re not interesting, not taking Twitter seriously, or don’t care. None of those are exactly encouraging people to follow you on Twitter. Keep you bio accurate and real. Bonus: Don’t refer to yourself as some kind of ninja or rockstar…unless you an actual ninja or rockstar or both.
5. ReTweeting Constantly: Twitter is a conversation medium and that means you give and take. It also means you have an original thought everyone once in a while. Some Twitter accounts are nothing more than a list of ReTweets from other people. Although some of the ReTweets might actually be interesting, anyone following an over-ReTweeter is inclined to think they’re following a news feed rather than a person. Be a person, not a machine. Don’t ReTweet more than once every four or five Tweets. Bonus: Don’t ReTweet yourself as in ReTweeting something you said earlier that day or week.
6. Never Responding: Twitter has the distinct ability to allow conversation to start by mentioning someone’s Twitter name. If you get mentioned, and specifically if you are asked a question, it’s polite (and proper) to respond. People who don’t respond to a mention of their name on Twitter are hardly holding up their end of the conversation bargain and essentially communicate “I’m happy to have you listen to me but I don’t care a bit about what you have to say.” Bonus: Don’t abuse the mention feature and use it to promote to people only.
7. Promote, Promote, Promote: This might sting a bit: Twitter isn’t a promotion platform. If that’s hard to hear then you know you’re approaching Twitter with the wrong mindset. Twitter is for discovery, connecting, listening, sharing, and responding. There’s nothing promotionally oriented about any of those things. I recommend the conversation balance score to keep promotion in its proper place on any social networking platform. Bonus: Don’t use automated tools to get more followers you can promote to.
Well, that’s my list. What did I leave out?