25 things that make you look dumb on twitter.com

25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter

Twitter is often compared to a cocktail party, where friends gather to share information and people connect through common interests.

But if you’re new to the party, there’s a good chance you’re going to make some mistakes.

These aren’t those Twitter mistakes that you read about in the paper or see on TMZ.

These are simple and easy-to-fix mistakes that are often made by people who just don’t know any better. (For me, it took having my boss at my first social media gig telling me to watch my spelling and to lay off the exclamation points.)

For you, I asked around at Constant Contact to see if anyone had any input on mistakes that make businesses look dumb on Twitter. (Also, check out 25 Things that Make You Look Dumb on Facebook.)

Here are 25 things to be aware of on Twitter:

  1. Not leaving enough space to retweet. The first lesson every Twitter newbie should learn: just because you have 140 characters, doesn’t mean you need to use them all. It’s usually a good idea to keep posts to about 120 characters to allow people who retweet with the RT format the ability to do so without having to edit your tweet for length.
  2. Not shortening links in your Tweets. This is one of the most common mistakes and it doesn’t need to be. Check out link shorteners like bit.ly or ow.ly. You’ll also be able to track the number of clicks the links you’re sharing get with these tools.
  3. Looooong Twitter handles. Are you noticing a pattern? If your handle is longer than the first half of your tweet, you’re losing valuable space. Keep handles as short as possible so you have enough room to actually write something.
  4. Too much self-promotion. A little self-promotion is good for any business but if your timeline is riddled with “I’s or We’s” and your only retweets are about you, then you’re doing too much. Follow the 80/20 rule. Post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save 20% for the self-promotional stuff.
  5. #HashtagAbuse. Hashtags are without a doubt the most interesting part of Twitter. But in addition to sometimes being hilarious, they are extremely helpful for organization purposes. Don’t abuse the hashtag, save it for when you need it.
  6. Not responding to Tweets. If you’re not being social, why are you on social media? You might not be able to respond to everything, but do your best to answer questions and address any negative feedback. And don’t forget to say thanks when it’s positive.
  7. Automatic direct messages. Too many people send automatic direct messages to new followers. Don’t do this. You don’t want the first impression that you make on your customers to be from a robot.
  8. Too much negativity. No one wants to follow a depressing tweeter. Keep your tweets positive and your followers will act accordingly.
  9. QR code avatar. Nowadays you see QR codes in some crazy places, don’t let your Twitter account be one of them. Make your avatar something that reflects you or your brand.
  10. Too much abbreviation. Sometimes you’re going to have to abbreviate but try not to abandon grammar to the point of being unreadable.
  11. Spelling errors. Spelling errors are going to happen but try to keep them to a minimum. People will notice them and it can make your business look sloppy. Review before you hit send. (Watch for some common misspellings, like There/Their/They’re and Your/You’re.)
  12. Tweeting without a strategy. Never tweet just for the sake of tweeting. Take some time to decide why you’re on Twitter and what you want to get from it. Let that guide your content.
  13. Too much dialogue, not enough content. Twitter is all about sharing content. You want to engage with followers but you also want to give them content that makes them engage with you.
  14. Too much content, not enough dialogue. Confused yet? It’s all about finding a balance. Unless you’re a news outlet, then I’m looking for more than just news. Use your content to drive engagement from your followers and start a discussion.
  15. Only tweeting 9-5. No one expects your Twitter to be a 24/7 operation but your followers don’t log off when you go home for the day. Hootsuite is a great option for managing and scheduling tweets.
  16. Tweeting without the facts. This is the number one way to hurt your credibility and tick your followers off. Be a helpful source of information in your industry, not a rumor mill.
  17. Tweeting too often. There’s no set formula for how much you should be tweeting. But unless you’re the most interesting person in the world, chances are if you’re clogging up their timeline they’ll get turned off in a hurry.
  18. USING TOO MANY CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! You wouldn’t yell at your customers in person, don’t do it on Twitter. Use sparingly for maximum impact.
  19. Bad talking competition. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Building connections is a great way to build your following and many of your competitors’ followers would likely be happy to follow you too.
  20. Not connecting your business website to your Twitter account. 80.5% of small businesses DO NOT link their sites to their social networks. Don’t let your business be part of that group. They’re missing potential followers and most importantly customers.
  21. Outdated Twitter profile. Your profile says a lot about who you are. Tell people what you’re all about and give them a reason to follow. And make sure it’s up-to-date.
  22. Responding with the same answer from multiple admins. It’s good to respond to people’s tweets, but if multiple people are tweeting from your handle, get on the same page and agree on the right voice for your brand.
  23. Facebook/Twitter overflow. Connecting your Facebook and Twitter feeds might seem like a good idea but if your Twitter is solely just a feed for your Facebook, then it defeats the purpose of being on Twitter in the first place.
  24. Asking too many questions. A question can be a great way to get feedback or start a conversation but if you’re constantly asking, “How’s everyone doing?!” and no one is answering then it’s not adding to the conversation.
  25. Not sharing the love. If people are promoting you on Twitter, show them some love back. A retweet can go a long way on Twitter and so can mentioning someone when you share their article or post.

Didn’t realize so much could go wrong with just 140 characters? Don’t worry.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is going to make some mistakes when they’re starting off. The best you can do is keep this list in mind and try not to let a couple missteps ruin the party.

Want to learn more about how organizations are using Twitter? Check out our free Twitter 101 guide for even more information.

Comments:

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  1. Katharine Farrell •

    While I was reading this blog post, I got an automatic DM! Very annoying!

    Reply
  2. Along with outdated profiles are no profiles. How can people decide whether to follow you if they don’t even know who you are? The folks at Argyle Social have some great stats on hashtags http://argylesocial.com/blog/2011/07/11/hashtag-stuffing-doesnt-work.html. In most cases, they actually underperform.

    Reply
  3. Ryan Pinkham •

    @ShawnGraham Thanks for sharing, really interesting stuff. I had the chance to work on the social media team for a major convention center and that was really where I saw the power of an effective hashtag. Added a whole new level of engagement to events. But not surprised that they often flop.

    Reply
  4. Great list – i’d add avoiding the use of the Twitter egg icon….always makes me suspicious of the sender.

    Reply
  5. Great tips, thanks!

    Reply
  6. emmanuelchenze •

    I agree with the author. There are many people (tweeps) today who use very long handles. These are a headache when you want to retweet manuall using RT at the start of the tweet. I think how easy it is to recall a Twitter handle/username is also a critical factor. Some users have usernames ladden with underscores and multiple numerical figures making recalling them quite hard.

    Reply
  7. Many great thanks for the tips. Indeed, people don’t seem to care to pay attentions to the items.

    Reply
  8. […] 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter by Ryan Pinkham on Constant Contact Blogs. Ways to use Twitter without looking tooly. Good info […]

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  9. shestar13 •

    This is a great list, and I agree wholeheartedly!!

    Reply
  10. Very well done! Thank you :)

    Reply
  11. […] Daily] The Best of Rhett & Link Viral Local Ads [Adweek] 25 Tips for Staying Smart on Twitter [Constant Contact] Keys to an Effective Google AdWords Campaign [The Social Mavens] Seven Rules for Responding to […]

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  12. Very comprehensive and helpful list. Thanks so much for posting. I even tweeted it!

    Reply
  13. Stephanie •

    Thanks, I am new to twitter and learned a lot.

    Reply
  14. This was a useful article for professionals using twitter. We are very active in promoting our new web content, blog posts, and articles. This article reminded me to be more conversational with my followers to create a more loyal and active base.

    Reply
  15. […] around, we’re all still figuring out the best way to use it for our own unique situations. Take a look at the article “25 Things That Make You Look Dumb On Twitter”. You might be surprised at what you learn. It certainly made me think about my social […]

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  16. […] 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter (blogs.constantcontact.com) Tags: Freelance Writer Twitter Tips freelance writers Top Twitter Tips for Beginners twitter […]

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  17. […] on blogs.constantcontact.com Tweet Category: Uncategorized May 8, 2012 at 5:21 am No comments Hannah ← […]

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  18. […] 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter […]

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  19. Thanks for a nice comprehensive list Ryan. This can be something to refer back to every once in a while. I would add the lack of proofreading, e.g. you have to have the @ symbol next to the Twitter name for it to be linked to the person. I have seen so many times people putting a space between the @ and the name which could be corrected with a simple proofreading.

    Reply
  20. How about following only to get a follow back? Very annoying. Follow me if you are interested in what I have to say.

    Reply
  21. […] 25 Ways to use Twitter the Wrong Way – Very educational for those who are casual users […]

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  22. […] s); })(); There was an interesting post on the Constant Contact blog over the weekend: 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter.  Some of my […]

    Reply
  23. Good stuff here. I hate robots, but I use one to send a non-promotional thank you to all new followers. Then I send them a personal note once I’m able. Since I’m not trying to drive people to my blog, FB page, company website (or sell them anything), I’ve had a very positive response. I think the key here is, if your are going to use Twitter tools to help you engage your audiences, be smart about it.

    Reply
  24. […] 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter(blogs.constantcontact.com) […]

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  25. […] it’s the anxiety of not knowing what to do, or the fear of possibly looking dumb—it’s easy to put off signing up for Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest until tomorrow … or next […]

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  26. Good info…my username has 9 characters, so I do try to leave enough to give someone space to RT if necessary. I’d also add my own personal pet peeve: having a Tweet so long I have to click a link to see the rest. I shouldn’t need a “TO BE CONTINUED” caption to read your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Ryan Pinkham •

      Thanks! I agree completely, especially if it cuts out in the middle of a word. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  27. […] 25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter (blogs.constantcontact.com) […]

    Reply
  28. I always wondered how often I should tweet…so I just tweet about 3-5 times a day, and I try include information that is helpful. Any suggestions on how many times I should tweet.

    Reply
  29. very helpful post. Great work,guys. I personally think the main twitter mistake is when people turn the platform into a hub of sharing every aspect of their daily activities, from the weather to what they eat.Add some value even to such content and make it tweetable, give reasons or encourage ppl to join your thoughts:)anyone having experienced such over personal tweets?

    Reply
  30. Great list!

    I would add two more:

    – Twitter profiles that look legit, but when you click on the website/blog link, it takes you to some snake-oil salesman trying to sell you something.

    – Sending out profound sounding quotes from dead celebrities every five minutes

    Reply
  31. Reblogged this on East Metro Design & Marketing and commented:
    Funny but fairly true insight to Twitter “etiquette”. Tell us what you think.

    Reply
  32. Reblogged this on East Metro Design & Marketing and commented:
    Funny but fairly true insight to Twitter “etiquette”. Tell us what you think.

    Reply
  33. Follow back and reply back, please! Being a small IT company in the Pittsburgh area, we follow Pittsburgh news tweeters, other Pittsburgh businesses and technology news tweets. Most of the time, we do not receive replies or follow backs from other Pittsburgh small businesses, because they don’t seem to check back on their pages. Maybe this is a hint that our target audience isn’t on twitter? Ideas?

    Reply
  34. I started Tweeting about a year ago and I was so scared I was doing something wrong. Still haven’t quite gotten it all figured out, but I’m always retweeting other people because that’s kind of the whole point of my site, to make people aware of band/artist news. I do not commit any of these 25 errors, so, yay for me!

    Reply
  35. Joanne Kelleher •

    I found this article really useful in getting used to using social media and wish I had it at the start before using it!

    Reply
  36. […] proved helpful in understanding how to effectively use Twitter, while avoiding making yourself look dumb! It all reinforced the notion of putting a lot of thought into all aspects of social media […]

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  37. […] source of information in your industry, not a rumor mill.” The post has 24 other “things that make you look dumb on Twitter” and it goes highly recommended for […]

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  38. Excellent tips! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  39. Social media is now popular nowadays. Valuable information and excellent model you got here! I would just like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and also time in the stuff you post!! Thumbs up

    Reply
  40. YIKES!!! I’m guilty of a few of those… better clean up my Twitter act… don’t want to look dumb. Thanks for the great tips…

    Reply
  41. thanks for your great article, now i know not to do a couple of things i have been doing wrong, thanks

    Reply
  42. thanks for a great handful of thoughts which are so helpful in terms of media marketing i will definitely pay attention towards them from now onwards

    Reply
  43. I hope there is a Part 2 to this article. Number 26 can be about not producing insipid tweets and then other people retweet them.

    Reply
  44. Great tips.

    For me one of the most annoying behavior is after you follow somebody, you get DM from them advertising some link and then that person doesn’t even follow you back.
    Even if it was sent by a Bot, I expect that Bot to follow me back:)

    Reply
  45. Super (would put an exclamation mark here, but will hld back in line with advice.) Being positive & generous is all, really. Treat everyone as you’d lke to be treated & you can’t go wrong.

    Reply
  46. […] apprehensive here’s an interesting blog to help you avoid some common twitter-verse pitfalls: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/25-things-that-make-you-look-… You don’t actually need a smartphone to tweet, you can use your computer or even your […]

    Reply
  47. Stupidity on Twitter never fails to amaze me. Hashtagging is a huge part of thee issue as well. Users on Twitter misuse hashtags and flood my feed with them. It’s rather irritating.

    Reply
  48. Facebook feeding to Twitter is a problem too. When people post a photo or a link on Facebook without writing a Status the tweet looks like this:

    @TwitterHandle: http://www.fbme.com/nooneisgoingtoclickthisIpromise/xxxsddvsd23v….

    Reply
  49. […] for 100 characters of text in your tweet. This should include Twitter handles (@SMMagic) and hashtags […]

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  50. […] etiquette. Lists like this one and this one and this one: all lists on the dos and the don’ts of the social media universe that provide […]

    Reply
  51. Sylvie Barton •

    Thank you for the awesome pointers on how to not look dumb on social media. I believe I have learned a lot from your post and plan on being smarter on Twitter right away!

    Reply
  52. Vinny •

    Great pointers but at the same time I feel it’s best to not go crazy worrying about what others think lol. You can’t please everybody so it’s pointless. Best to do what feels right and if people like it great. If they don’t . screw em! :)

    Reply
  53. […] Thanks goes to Constant Contact for reminding me about this one. […]

    Reply
  54. robertseattle •

    My pet peeve: Following everyone who follows you. Basically means I am following you automatically and there is no chance I will actually read your tweets. Follow 20K accounts? No way.

    Reply
  55. […] Ryan Pinkham’s article “25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter” he says not retweeting supporters is a big mistake. “If people are promoting you on Twitter, […]

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  57. […]  http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/25-things-that-make-you-look… […]

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  58. This is great!!!!! (sarcastic exclamation points) It’s so true that the value of what you say decreases when you use too much punctuation. We want to be taken seriously, right? I loved #1. I had not thought about that at all. Great advice!

    Reply
  59. I feel like such a noob after reading this. Great article thanks.

    Reply
  60. Lots of comments above – I may have missed someone else’s remark. Just ran into an issue I’m having trouble with. Regarding point #15 (use Hootsuite to schedule tweets), I did just that for one of my senior execs… and the data Hootsuite provided was 3 weeks old.
    Got hammered by a user telling my boss’s boss’s boss (you get the jist) that he’s completely out of date with reality. How would you react to this politely and shut it down?
    Obviously this was a scheduling issue… not his voice.

    Reply
  61. Nice post

    Reply

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