• Bryony Pearce

10 Twitter mistakes you NEED to avoid

In the final quarter of 2018, Twitter boasted an average of 321 million active users a month - not bad given all the claims that it’s past its heyday, right?

All those users means endless sets of eyes on what you post, retweet and cite. With so many onlookers around to spectate on your activity, the spotlight's on, meaning a small slip-up could soon turn into a big embarrassment.

So, to help you stay out of that blunder bracket, I’ve put together a list of 10 potential Twitter mishaps you might want to avoid:

1. Inappropriate hashtags

What might be a seemingly innocent hashtag when you post it can quickly turn into a somewhat embarrassing oversight…one that might be hard to explain to your boss. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

When singer Susan Boyle launched a new album, her PR team created the hashtag #susanalbumparty. The intention? Susan’s album party. The reality? Well, something rather rude.

Another hashtag horror story comes in the form of #therapist. The publisher was hoping to promote their therapist services, but got their wires tangled in something totally different: the rapist.

The lesson? Always triple check for alternative interpretations.

2. Ill-timed hashtags

Sticking with the hashtag theme, consider what’s going on in the world before posting away. For example, a doughnut company once referenced #notguilty in a tweet, the same day the same hashtag was being used for a high profile murder case.

Not only can it make you look insensitive, but you run the risk of inserting your brand into a political battle – somewhere most brands don’t need or want to be.

3. Being stingy

If you hog your own feed and don’t ever retweet, reply or like anyone else’s content, what’s to stop your audience from doing the same to you? Social media is about connecting, so share the love every now and then and it’ll be reciprocated!

4. Lack of research

Retweeting is so simple, and because of this, lots of people click away without thinking about what they’re promoting.

Always do a quick background check to make sure a seemingly innocent retweet isn’t endorsing a questionable source – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Think before you link

If you’re going to link out to an external website, scout it out first. Similar to your retweets, you need to know who you’re promoting and where you’re sending people to.

6. There's no going back

Once you’ve hit publish, there’s literally no going back. Yes you can delete your tweet, but there’s no stopping people from taking a screenshot of what’s already been out there - even if you only left it up for a moment.

Whether you’re bantering with a competitor in a Wendy’s-style feud, playing a prank or going on a rant, really think about what you’re saying before you go past the point of no return.

7. Bombarding the sales pitch

If you’re tweeting for business purposes, don’t let your ego go overboard. While Twitter is, of course, a great platform to promote your product or service, you need to mix it up with content that people will want to engage with.

After all, who wants to visit a profile that’s repetitively salesy?

8. Leaving people hanging

If someone’s taken the time to reach out to you, at least have the courtesy to respond!

If you build up a reputation for being unresponsive, people will stop engaging with you on social media full stop. This can be particularly detrimental if you’re running a brand or business page – once you lose a relationship with a customer, it can be hard to get it back.

9. Random retweets

If you retweet too many random posts, you run the risk of irritating your followers and making them hit that dreaded ‘unfollow’ button. We’re not saying don’t retweet things, but try to keep them relevant. And if they’re not relevant, keep them rare.

10. Don't hammer the hashtags

Hashtags are great, but there’s a time and a place for them. If you hashtag every other word, your post will be hard to read. And if you cram as many as you can into your character count, you can look desperate. To make the most of them, stick to what’s relevant and trending and leave the rest out.

This post was originally written for Hue & Tone.