Sometimes I’ve just gotta tell it like it is… no holds barred…
I’m an active Twitter user. Besides RSS feeds, Twitter is how I get the bulk of news and, thus ideas, about the future of ecommerce, social media, technology and, of course, webOS. Given that, I follow hundreds of people – professionals and individuals – via direct following and lists. Don’t ever underestimate just how many people read your tweets, because lists allow us to filter what we read without the need to follow specific people.
Twitter lists allow users to “invisibly” follow other twitterers. Instead of a true follow, lists stream in tweets by specific people one assigns to the list.
When it comes to using the ever-popular service for business, there are Twitter winners and Twitter losers. What’s the difference?
You’re a loser on Twitter If…
- You do nothing but retweet posts based solely on hashtags. There are thousands of Twitter accounts that retweet automatically. This not only floods people’s timelines when hashtags are trending in certain fields, but it also causes a great deal of repetition due to constant retweeting of tweets and retweets. Yesterday one trending tag resulted in one account I follow tweeting the same headline hundreds of times in the span of just a few hours. Keep in mind, people can follow any hashtag themselves.
- You do nothing but retweet posts, period. If you’re trying to build a presence, why aren’t you engaging people? Seriously, it’s easier for me to just follow the people you’re retweeting because aside from those posts, you’re offering nothing of value.
- You don’t respond to questions. If someone takes the time to ask you a legitimate question, take the time to reply. It shows that you actually interact, rather than using automation tools to alert people about your latest blog or Facebook status updates. When you ignore other Twitter users, they wonder if your serious about what you do.
- You only respond to “important” people. There are popular professionals in every field. If you respond to them, but not the “little guy” it sends the message that you think you’re too good for anyone who isn’t on your level (or self-proclaimed level).
- You tweet spoilers with no advance warning. During the season finale of Friday Night Lights, many twitterers posted in real time. I wasn’t working from home (and I’m several episodes behind), and finally had to block all mentions of the title and the #FNL hashtag. I won’t tell you what was given away, because I’m not a wanton spoiler.
- You use your business account to bash the government, the President and rant about other political and religious issues, yet hope to gain business from all walks of life. Unless your company’s mission statement includes such topics, you’re better off refraining from opening debates. Can they help gain followers? Sure, but they can also cost you money in the sense of losing potential customers.
- You like to argue. There’s nothing wrong with professional debates on specific topics, but if this is the norm for you, people will get sick of it quickly. I’m talking about twitterers who seek arguments on a regular basis and are typically closed-minded in their responses.
- You spam tweet. It is perfectly acceptible to tweet about your business, things you’re passionate about, and even links that earn you money (but only if the tweet is on-topic with your business model or provides useful information for your followers). If you tweet nothing but affiliate links all day, sorry, you’re a loser.
- You tweet every… single… thing… you… do… all… day… long… Business users should definitely be “human” with their interaction and share personal experiences, but if you’re sending dozens of tweets each day that don’t inspire, offer something humorous or make people go, “Neat” and “Wow” your wasting precious bandwidth.
- You lurk, follow and, in turn, counteract competitors by tweeting directly to their followers. If you want your competitor’s followers to take notice, there’s scores of other tactics you can employ- like using appropriate hashtags, improving your SEO campaign and offering something your competitor’s don’t. Remember, if your competitor has done something truly horrendous, believe me, the rest of the Twitter world will bash them for you.
What else constitutes a Twitter loser? What irks you on the 140-character Internet service? Inquiring minds want to know… well, at least the winners do.