Last week, in preparation for Halloween, we chilled you to the bone with 13 Terrifying Facebook Mistakes that Can Scare Your Fans Away.
This week, let’s take a peek at some equally frightening things you can do to scare away your Twitter followers.
I happen to be an expert on this subject, so let me share with you some very personal mistakes you can make to drive followers away — and all the gruesome details that go with them:
1. Changing with the moon
Werewolves are pretty scary. They’re a normal person one day, then they pull some kind of Professor Lupin stunt the next.
If you’re losing followers, ask yourself if you’re a werewolf on Twitter.
When people follow you, they follow you for a reason. Often, that has to do with something you tweeted and the short bio you have on your profile.
That means if a follower decided to follow you because your bio says “gardening guru,” they may run away if you change with the moon and start howling about power tools and hip-hop.
2. Spooking people with politics
Ghosts are scary. What’s scarier? A sudden barrage of Tweets about politics from a Twitter handle people don’t expect it from.
If you’re a small business or a thought leader, try to keep political discourse to a minimum.
There’s already enough political kindling on Twitter to start a bonfire that could last well past Halloween. Don’t feed the flames or you risk dividing and losing your followers.
3. Making people sick with too much “stuff”
During Halloween, we usually hand out bite-sized pieces of candy. Rarely do you see 16 oz. bags of Skittles falling into the plastic pumpkins of trick-or-treaters. We know candy is sweet in small doses, but it can easily take a turn for the worse if you have too much.
On Twitter, everyone has a lot to say and a lot to share, especially when it’s as easy as typing 140 characters and sending it out to the big wide world.
The problem is, when you get so overenthusiastic that you’re the only person on a follower’s feed, take your time and prioritize what you share — keep it short and sweet.
Keep things bite-sized and you’ll develop a reputation for quality of information, not quantity.
4. Being the dark house on the block
Don’t be the dark house on Halloween, either. There’s nothing more disappointing for trick-or-treaters than frantically knocking on a door and getting no response.
Just like those dark houses, a lot of people forget there’s a social side to Twitter.
When someone’s knocking on your virtual door with an @mention, don’t forget to respond!
This is especially true for small businesses and organizations because responding to @mentions shows you’re engaged in the conversation and always keeping customers and supporters in mind.
5. Over-decorating your tweets
Decorations on Halloween are good. They show your spirit for the holiday.
But what happens if you get carried away? What if you install a spotlight to show you’re handing out candy and yell from your porch what kind you’re giving out?
Trick-or-treaters may get a little spooked.
The same goes for #hashtags on Twitter. Putting one or sometimes two hashtags in a tweet can help show followers what you’re talking about and get your tweet noticed in Twitter’s “#Discover” search engine.
But #if #five #of #the #nine #words in your tweet are hashed out, it can start to look like spam and people will think you’re only tweeting to gain more followers, not to share and engage.
6. Wailing like a banshee
Banshees are renowned for their terrifying screams. When it comes to Twitter, you definitely don’t want to be one.
If your followers are following you for advice on marketing or to see your latest specials, but you’re wailing about what you had for breakfast or how mad you are at Event X or Person Y, then they may clamp their hands over their ears by clicking the “unfollow” button.
7. Giving out apples instead of candy
Candy is a valuable commodity to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, but there’s always that one house that gives out something weird, like an apple.
Why don’t most houses give out apples? Because they know trick-or-treaters want candy.
Likewise, knowing who’s following you is key to giving them valuable information. Pay close attention to the kinds of followers you have — from demographic to industry, to interest — to gauge what they may find interesting.
Not every tweet has to be a revelation, mind you, but if you’re consistently tweeting redundant articles or month-old news, then there’s a risk followers will decide that you’re more a source of misguided apples than candy.
8. Being a mumbling zombie
Zombies are scary on Halloween, mostly because they don’t have their own brain, and can’t really talk about anything interesting.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Twitter zombies out there, too — and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been one of them here and there.
Sometimes, I stagger around the Internet, curating juicy content, but when it comes time to tweet I often mumble headlines like a zombie instead of putting a unique, insightful, or funny spin on them.
That’s the real trick of Twitter: finding some way to keep that curated content alive, so you don’t fall victim to the Twitter zombie curse.
Aside from having a higher chance of being retweeted, living, breathing, personalized takes on the news can show off your expertise.
Without any spin on a tweet, followers may unfollow you and choose to use a search engine on the subject, instead.
After all, what’s the difference between a well-informed zombie and a robot?
9. Becoming a vampire
When it comes to trying to find content to tweet, don’t just sink your fangs into other people on Twitter, either.
If you’re constantly taking someone else’s tweeted information and tweeting it without mentioning their name, you’re well on your way to becoming a Twitter vampire.
Feeding on other tweets and turning them into your own can give you a bad reputation, especially if one of your victims sees that you’re constantly tweeting their articles and news with no attribution.
10. Brewing a self-promotional potion
You shouldn’t change your tweets with the moon, but make sure you’re not just using your own ingredients, either.
It’s tempting to tweet only your content. Trust me, I know. Last September, the only kinds of tweets I sent to my hapless followers were articles from this very blog.
Likewise, organizations should avoid just tweeting about their products, services, and accomplishments.
The goal of any Tweeter should be to brew a social potion that’s a delicate blend of interactions, your content, and other content.
It should never be a purely self-promotional one. After all, it’s common knowledge that all self-promotional potions are actually poison, both for you and your followers.
11. Rising from the swamp to interrupt conversations
Twitter is social, but that doesn’t mean you should burst into everyone’s conversations like a swamp creature emerging from the muck.
If someone is talking about your brand, make sure it’s appropriate to actually join the conversation. For example, look to see whether the comment is made as a proclamation, as a personal conversation between two people, or as part of a larger conversation with a hashtag.
Otherwise, there’s a risk that followers could feel like you’re stalking all of their tweets and they’ll grow concerned that you could be waiting in the vast depths of the Twitter swamp, ready to burst out whenever you see your company’s name.
12. Turning to stone when customers complain
There’s a Halloween phenomenon on Twitter that lasts all year: when customers complain to companies via tweets, many organizations turn to stone.
That’s not the right way to deal with negative publicity on social media. Instead, always acknowledge the complaints and seek to remedy them.
If customer complaints are some kind of magic spell that turns you into a statue, followers won’t think you’re worth following in the first place.
13. Wearing the scariest costume of all—a business suit
Like all social media, Twitter is a casual environment, which can make it a hard place for organizations to adjust.
People have fun on Twitter. They create memes and silly hashtags that go viral.
The key for small businesses and nonprofits is to find a voice that shows their unique personality before tweeting. Then, find the Twitter users and content that go along with that voice.
Just remember: if your tweets always seem to be dressed up in a business suit, followers could run screaming to brighter, more fun shores.
Don’t forget to check out 13 Terrifying Facebook Mistakes that Can Scare Away Fans.