Top 10 Social Media Mistakes



Social media is like a conversation, but instead of talking to one person, you’re talking to thousands. In real life, when a conversation goes well, the other person walks away feeling like they like you more, like they trust you more, and if it’s a business context, they might walk away feeling like they’ll do business with you in the future.

Unfortunately, the opposite can also happen. People can walk away feeling like you didn’t understand them, that you weren’t looking out for them or that they don’t want to do business with you after all.

That’s exactly how social media works. If you do it right, you can make a fantastic impression on thousands of people. They can end up turning into buyers as well as referring their friends. They can end up hosting lively discussions about your products and becoming your brand’s ambassadors.

On the other hand, if you do it wrong, the opposite can happen. People can leave and never come back. People can bad mouth you. People can influence their friends not to buy or link to you.

So how do you create the former impression and not the latter? By avoiding common social media mistakes. Here are ten of the top social media mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Not Proofreading

When you post on your own Facebook feed, typically you just come up with an idea and post it. The same goes for all your other social networks. You don’t have another person look over it to double check your posts.

That’s fine for personal social networking, but not for building a brand or a business. Let’s face it: When you write this spontaneously, there’s going to be mistakes. Maybe not in every tweet or update, but even one in ten is enough to do harm.

It might be misspellings. It might be something off brand that you didn’t realize was off brand. It might be a message that could alienate a part of your audience. It could just be bad grammar.

As the writer, it’s very hard to catch these things yourself. Have someone else look over your posts before they go live. It could just be a co-worker or a friend. You don’t need a professional proofreader, just get a second set of eyes.



Mistake #2: Not Claiming Your Profiles

Did you know that on many services, profiles can be created for your business by someone other than you? This can happen on Google Places, Yelp and Facebook just to name a few. Other people create your page for you so they can comment on your business.

If you haven’t claimed your business pages, you’re essentially letting the conversation run rampant. Wrong information, like wrong hours of business for example, can be put on the page. The page will also likely be incomplete. It might not have your website, your phone number or other important details.

Claiming your page is easy. Generally all you need to do is take a phone call at your registered number to verify that you are who you say you are. The whole process takes just minutes.


Mistake #3: Not Using Monitoring Tools

Being able to monitor everything that people say about your brand manually can prove quite difficult and time consuming. There will be times when you’re extremely busy and just won’t have the time to check your social media for days. Twitter especially is incredibly difficult to monitor because of the high volume of tweets.

If you just let people talk about your brand without carefully monitoring what they say, a lot of damage can be done. If one of your employees trips up and makes a mistake, people could start talking negatively about your brand instantly – And it can spread quickly.

What’s the solution? Use social media monitoring tools like, for example. These tools will watch for specific keywords, like your brand name or your product names and alert you whenever someone says something about you.

You can then take a look at what they’re saying. If it’s something negative, you’ll be able to respond immediately to quench the fire. If not, you can still jump in and participate in the discussion.


Mistake #4: Over Promotion

Constantly selling, selling and selling is not the path to success on social media. Social media is all about connections. It’s all about creating content that people love so much that they want their friends to see it too.


People who focus on making direct sales instead of joining in the conversation are looked at with disdain. They’re treated as if they’re from outside the community, trying to leech value from those inside. People stop sharing your content, stop reading your content and will generally stop following your content.

It’s okay to sell every once in a while. But the overall tone of your feed or page should not be salesy. The overall tone should be a conversation. You should generally be providing value. Don’t over sell.


Mistake #5: No Calls to Action

On the flip side, you have businesses that don’t have any calls to action at all. Though this mistake isn’t as bad as over promoting, it’s still a serious mistake.

If you have no calls to action, you aren’t going to get people involved with your site or your business. Your Twitter followers will forever just be your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans your Facebook fans. They’ll never turn into subscribers, contest participants, customers or seminar attendees.

Yes, you absolutely want to avoid over promoting. But not promoting at all is also going to kill your business. If you want a positive ROI from you social media efforts, you need to occasionally leverage the goodwill you’ve built.

When you do so, make sure even your commercial offerings come from a place of value. You’re offering solutions to problems, though these solutions do cost money. 5-Call-to-Action


Mistake #6: The “I Don’t Have 1,000,000 Fans” Syndrome

People who’re starting new fan pages or new Twitter accounts often get discouraged when their rate of growth isn’t astronomical. You hear stories of people “going viral” on the web all the time. Because of these stories, people often have unrealistic expectations of what their Twitter or Facebook campaigns can realistically do.

Going viral is a one in a million occurrence. It’s rare and neigh impossible to plan for. Most people who go viral never expected it to happen, and most people who plan to go viral never actually make it.

The real success stories in social media tend to be the stories you never hear. You never hear about the page with 500,000 followers that took 3 years to build. You never hear about the Twitter account that brings in $25,000 a month but took 3 hours a day every day for the last 18 months to build.

The reality is, building a social media following takes work and dedication. If you get discouraged because you don’t have a million followers right out of the gate, you’ll never reach that tipping point.

Starting small is to be expected. Everyone starts small. Building a social media following doesn’t happen from an explosion of traffic – It happens through consistency.

Mistake #7: Checking Every Media, All the Time

Did you know that social media can actually change your brain chemistry? In Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows,” a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist book, he examines the intricacies of how the internet and social media affects the brain.

What he found was that social media is actually addictive. Not as an analogy or as a metaphor, but biologically, physically addictive. Social media users exhibited the same brain chemistry changes in their brain as actual addicts. The brain of a social media addict craves the same dopamine bursts that a cocaine addict’s would crave.

This inherent addictiveness of social media is the reason so many people get sucked in. To run a good social media campaign, you really only need to spend 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening and maybe 30 minutes in the middle of the day.

Yet people regularly spend all day checking Facebook, Twitter and email. Some people check it every 10 minutes. Some people check it every hour. Some people just keep it on all the time.

Not only is this unnecessary, but it actively damages your productivity. Spending hours and hours on social media will suck up your time, distract you from the rest of your business and hurt you in the long run.

Be deliberate about when you check social media and when you post to it. Avoid it when you’re not deliberately using it to move your business forward.


Mistake #8: Not Asking for Interaction

One common mistake social media marketers make is communicating one-way. If you’re only communicating one-way, your social media efforts are only going to go so far. Even if you’re sharing fantastic content, people just won’t be as engaged as if you solicited participation.

When you solicit participation, you get people to actively become a part of your social media experience. Here are a few different ways you can solicit participation:

  • Ask a thought provoking question.
  • Ask for feedback on an article, product or service.
  • Start a controversial discussion.
  • Host a contest.
  • Ask them a trivia question.
  • Ask for stories.

There are many different ways you can do it. The key is to ask people to actively participate.


Mistake #9: Not Responding to Messages

Social media marketers sometimes perceive personal messages as a nuisance. They might perceive it as people asking for free advice. They might also feel like their time is being infringed upon. Or they might simply not value building relationships in a one on one fashion. They’re focused on marketing to thousands, not on answering one person’s question.

That mindset is a mistake.

Strong social media fan pages or Twitter accounts are actually built on just a handful of strong connections. If you look at a Twitter account with 50,000 followers, you might find that the majority of those followers actually came from the retweets of just 20 people.

Those 20 people loved the content being put out so much that they became champions for that Twitter feed. They actively helped build it up to what it is today.

The people who ask you questions today will often become your biggest fans tomorrow. When you reach out and help someone one on one, they don’t forget. You can come back six months or a year later and ask for a favor in return and they’ll almost always say yes.

Social media isn’t built by the thousands. It’s built by one real connection at a time. When you respond to private messages, people know you really care. When you ignore them, they’ll generally leave and never come back.


Mistake #10: Lacking Focus

Your social media feeds should have a purpose. People aren’t following you personally, they’re following your business feeds. They want to improve their lives in some way.

For some, that might be discount codes. For others, it might be entertaining videos. For others, it might be useful content and innovative solutions to problems.

Know what your readers are looking for and give it to them. Your feed should have an overall purpose. Of course, it’s okay to stray a bit from your purpose from time to time. You can share great videos, off the cuff thoughts and tweets from others that you think they’ll like.

But at the core, your social media efforts should have a focus and a purpose. What should people get by following you? What experience do you want people who follow you for 3 months to walk away with?

Figure this out from day one to help you guide your marketing efforts.


Top 10 LinkedIn Mistakes


LinkedIn Mistakes

When it comes to professional networking online, nothing else comes close to LinkedIn. If you’re looking to find your next employer, your next star employee, your next CEO, CTO, or CFO, your next multi-million dollar investor, your next big client or your next co-founder, look no further than LinkedIn.

LinkedIn puts your whole professional career and your whole professional network on the web for all to see. It exposes you to the people you want to network. LinkedIn is a social network ripe with opportunities – But it’s not without its pitfalls.

One of the downsides of LinkedIn is how public it is. If you make a mistake on LinkedIn, it’s not just a matter of losing a follower or a fan – It’s a matter of losing a potential job opportunity. It’s a matter of not getting your company funded. Because LinkedIn is a network of your professional list, mistakes made on LinkedIn can really cost.

That’s why it pays to make sure you’re using LinkedIn right. Here are ten of the most common LinkedIn mistakes to avoid.


Mistake #1: Not Using a First Class Photo

1-Professional-PhotoYour photo shouldn’t just be good. It shouldn’t just be a great shot that someone took of you at a dinner party. It can’t even be just a good shot of you wearing a professional outfit.

The photo you use on LinkedIn should be taken by a professional photographer, in a professional context. There’s a lot that goes into taking the perfect professional photo that you just don’t see from an amateur photo, even a good one.

For starters, a professional will get the lighting just right. No part of your body will be dark and nowhere will look too light. They’ll use multiple light points to get it perfect.

They’ll instruct you on how to position your body. They might take several different shots to get the most credible looking photo. The shot itself will be taken with a high quality camera that retains good color and light data.

Finally, they’ll professionally color correct and touch up the photo until it really pops.

All of this you just don’t get with an amateur photo, even if it’s a good one. And it makes a difference. Browsers might not look at your photo and consciously think about whether it looks professional or not, but unconsciously people do make snap judgements. Having a great professional photo makes a difference.

Mistake #2: Half-Hearted Use of Groups

When people join LinkedIn, they’ll often take a peek in the groups section. They’ll also frequently join a handful of groups. But most of the time, after poking around a bit, people simply leave the groups section and never return.

That’s a pretty big mistake.

Groups are one of the most powerful features that LinkedIn has to offer. It’s not instantaneous – You’re not going to instantly get clients or jobs from groups. But in time, you can build incredibly powerful connections as well as build a lot of credibility in your personal brand.

Start by finding targeted, relevant groups for you. For example, if you’re in San Francisco and you’re looking for investors for your startup, join the “Bay Area Startup Network (BASN)” group. If you’re a lawyer looking for a job, join the “San Francisco Legal Network.” So on and so forth.

Get on the group and help other people. Answer questions. Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. Become an expert on that board. It could take as long as a couple months before people start coming to you with questions. The offers won’t be far behind.


Mistake #3: Selling and Marketing in Groups

Selling in groups has to be done in a subtle, relationship based manner. Any kind of overt selling is going to tarnish your reputation or get you removed from the group entirely.

Selling too directly in groups can take many forms. These include:

  • Posting promotional threads.
  • Linking to commercial events you’re hosting.
  • Replying to other people’s threads with commercial messages.
  • Sending private messages to group members with promotions.

All of these are mistakes. The best way to sell to a group is to build your reputation in the group. People will naturally come to you. It’s okay to subtly promote every once in a while, but never do anything that overtly looks like sales.


Mistake #4: Not Enough Recommendations

One of the most important things on your LinkedIn profile is your recommendations. People value reading recommendations because it’s a vote of confidence for you from someone else. If those other people are credible individuals, the vote of confidence would carry even more weight.

When someone lands on a LinkedIn profile and sees recommendation after recommendation, they immediately feel like you’re a trustworthy person. A lot of people will actually take the time to read over all your recommendations before deciding to contact you.

The flip side is also true. If someone lands on your LinkedIn profile and sees zero or only a handful of recommendations, their immediate reaction will be to distrust you. That’s just how the internet works: Because there are so many people vying for attention, everyone isn’t trusted until proven trustworthy.

If you want to make valuable contacts on LinkedIn and build your network, you need to have a large, robust base of recommendations. Reach out to all your co-workers, friends, clients and former employers and ask them to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you.


Mistake #5: Writing Over-Zealous Recommendations

5-Bad-RecommendationsThis mistake is very easy to make. When people ask for recommendations, a lot of the time they’ll actually write the recommendation themselves and just ask the other person to post the recommendation. Unfortunately, these kinds of recommendations often lack juice.

More specifically, a lot of recommendations (especially the self-written ones) are full of excess praise but don’t touch on any specific points.

They might say that you were “great to work with,” “trustworthy” or a “fantastic person to have on your team.” All that is great, but a truly solid recommendation should go a step further.

It should give specifics. If you improved web traffic by 17% during your tenure, it should say so. If you were the go-to conflict resolution person for your company, it should say so. If you took the company from #5 in sales in the industry to #2, it should say so.

The more specific the better and the more results oriented the better. Praise is fantastic, but in order for the recommendation to hit home it has to be specific and grounded in the real world, not just in opinions.


Mistake #6: Not Proofreading Your Profile

6-ProofreadingIf anyone sees any spelling or grammar mistakes anywhere on your profile, they’re going to be instantly turned off. LinkedIn is about putting your best foot forward professionally. In their minds, if you can’t even get your LinkedIn profile right, how can they trust you with their money, their work or their contacts?

Have a professional proofreader look over your LinkedIn profile. It’s extremely affordable, costing just a penny or two per word to have it reviewed. The whole thing would cost you less than $20. They’ll look for any spelling or grammar mistakes and fix anything that you might have missed.


Mistake #7: No Links or Bad Links

As versatile as a LinkedIn profile is, it still doesn’t give you everything you need to truly showcase everything you’re up to. To do that, you have to link to an outside website. Linking to an outside website allows you to actually demonstrate your skills, rather than just describe your past.


If you don’t have a link pointing to a professional website, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to sell yourself. You’re missing out on the opportunity to show your portfolio, to brag about past successes, to host client testimonials, etc.

An even worse mistake is having bad links from your LinkedIn profile. In other words, links that make you look worse rather than better. The most common and worst offender is linking to your personal Facebook profile that still has unprofessional photos from your past. If you’re going to link to Facebook, make sure it’s a Facebook account dedicated to professional networking.

Mistake #8: Having a Weak Summary

Your summary is generally the first thing people will read on your profile. It’s also often the only thing people will read on your profile. Your summary should hit hard and get people instantly hooked on the idea of contacting, hiring, buying from or investing in you.

Having a weak or mediocre summary is a big mistake. It does take quite a bit of time to craft a summary that really does the job. Every minute you spend on writing your summary is time well spent.

What goes into writing a great summary?

First, you should use up all 2,000 allotted words. The more you tell, the more you sell. Focus on your past achievements, especially concrete and measurable achievements. Share any stats on how you improved a company. Talk about specific problems that you helped resolve.

Put the highlights of your experience section in your summary. Of course, if they want your full background they’ll still scroll down, but you still want to be able to use the best of your past experiences in your summary.

Share anything that makes you unique or sets you apart from everyone else. Are there special skills you have that nobody else does? Have you done things nobody else has? Why should someone hire you rather than the other guy?

Wrap up your summary with your contact information.


Mistake #9: Not Using LinkedIn Answers

One of the best ways to leverage LinkedIn is to use it to build your reputation and establish yourself as an expert in a field. LinkedIn answer is a great way to do this – Yet so many LinkedIn users simply ignore this feature.

People come to LinkedIn answers to ask professional questions. People from all over the world post several thousand questions every single day. Answering these questions regularly can be a great way to network, build connections and build your reputation.

For example, let’s say your specialty is social media management. You can use LinkedIn answers to find people who’re struggling with social media. Look for their questions and answer them.

Do this every day. Some of the people whose questions you answer might hire you. You’ll also get a lot of attention from other people who see your question and liked your answer.


Mistake #10: Not Using a Custom URL

Using a custom URL on LinkedIn is free and makes you look a lot more professional. If you aren’t using a custom URL, it looks lazy and unprofessional.

How do you setup a custom URL?

Click your name in the upper right corner, then click “Settings.” Click “Edit Public Profile,” then “Customize Your Public Profile URL.”


These are ten of the most common LinkedIn mistakes that people make. Remember: Your LinkedIn profile is how everyone in your professional network will see you. In many ways, it’s much more important than Facebook or Twitter. Avoid these mistakes and take the time to make your LinkedIn profile really shine.


Top 10 Google+ Mistakes


Google+ Mistakes

Google+ is one of the world’s largest social networks. At 170 million active users, Google+ is behind Facebook but still ahead of LinkedIn’s 150 million users. Don’t be fooled by its lower user count however: Google+ is still a power house.

Unlike Facebook, which just about everyone is on, Google+ tends to be populated by first adopters, influencers, networkers and serious professionals. While Google+ might not be the best place to get a hundred likes for the latest funny photo, it’s an absolutely fantastic place to build your brand and market your business.

Google+ also has one big advantage over other social networks: Google +1s have a big impact on search results. Google +1s don’t affect rankings globally, but do affect rankings powerfully on a user-specific basis.

That means that if you write an article about blogging and a user +1s that article, they’re much more likely to see your content ranked in the future. All your content about PPC, about social networking, about video marketing and everything else will get a huge boost because they +1ed a piece of content by you. This alone makes Google+ worth investing in.

All that said, Google+ is often misunderstood. People often don’t know understand how to use this powerful platform and as a result make mistakes. Here are ten of the most common mistakes people make and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: A Corporate Sounding Tagline

On a Google Plus page, your tagline is really the only space you have to sell curious browsers on taking a closer look. The tagline is short, but it gives you a chance to “hook” people.

Don’t squander your tagline on a corporate sounding sound bite. Don’t use it on a cute sounding slogan. Your tagline should be something that directly hints at a benefit. It should promise a benefit and get people hooked in.

Spend some time perfecting your tagline. It’s a vital part of your page’s first impression.


Mistake #2: Not Fully Utilizing Links

One of the truly great things about Google+ is that it allows you a ton of leeway on your links. You can put almost as many links as you want. You can link from both your own “about” page as well as your brand pages.

Link to all the different resources you can. Link to all the credibility boosters you have on the web. Link to your personal site, your company website, your LinkedIn, your Facebook page and any other resources that can help boost your credibility and allow people to get to know you.


Mistake #3: Not Regularly Posting Content

Google+ revolves around content more than just about any other social network. On Facebook, it’s common for people to share all kinds of things, from photos to quotes to personal updates. On Twitter, even more so.

Google+ however revolves almost solely around content. People on Google+ expect to receive high quality content from the people in their circles, especially if it’s from someone they know in a business context.

Google+ allows you to post entire articles in an update. This makes it easy for people following you to digest your content all within the social network, without having to leave and go to an outside site.

Publish content regularly on Google+ – It’s the best way to build a relationship with your audience.


Mistake #4: Not Encouraging +1s

Getting more +1s works wonders for your business. It can make your content rank higher in Google+. It builds social proof when others see that people like your content. It helps your future content rank for that specific user.

Getting +1s isn’t something that happens on its own. A lot of people who like content will never +1 it. People are often more used to “liking” Facebook content than +1ing Google+ content.

How do you remedy this? By asking people to +1 your content. By incentivizing people to +1 your content. Make it an active mission of yours to get people to +1 your content.


Mistake #5: Poor Use of Photos

Google+ is the most powerful social network in terms of photos in the main stream. On Facebook, only thumbnails of photos can be shared. To view a larger photo, people have to click on the photo to go to the photo album.

On Twitter, it’s even worse. All photos are shrunk down into a short URL and only the URL is posted. There is no preview for the photo.

On Google+ however, you can view the whole photo right in the stream. Large photos are shrunk down to fit the stream; but even the preview is quite large.

Make sure you utilize photos in your Google+ stream. A picture can tell a thousand words.


Mistake #6: Not Enabling Direct Connect

Direct Connect is a feature that makes it easy for people to find your brand page. All they need to do is type in the “+” sign followed by your brand name in Google. For example, to find McDonalds, you’d just type in “+McDonalds.”

You won’t see any search results. Instead, you’ll be taken directly to the McDonalds brand page. This is true of both searching on, as well as through Google search bars in Chrome, Firefox and other browsers.

If you’re not enabling Direct Connect, you’re going to miss out on traffic from your highest quality users. It’s hardcore social media users (influencers) who’re most likely to use the Direct Connect feature. Make sure it’s enabled to make sure you don’t lose your most powerful followers.


Mistake #7: Not Verifying Your Page

Verifying your page with Google+ prevents anyone else from taking your brand’s name. Nobody else will be able to get a “verified” page under the same name.

Also, if you’re using Direct Connect, verifying your page will ensure that your page is the one that pops up when people type in “+” and your brand name.

Verifying your page does take a bit of effort. First, you have to post a bit of HTML code from Google+ on your website. You may also be asked to provide proof in the form of a credit card statement or utility bill.


Mistake #8: Not Segmenting Using Circles

One of Google+’s most powerful features is circles. Circles allows you to separate the different groups of people in your life, as well as the different people who follow you professionally, into different groups.

For example, you might separate your newcomers from your buyers from your “super elite” crowd. You might also have a separate circle for contributors to your business and your inner circle.

You’ll be able to post tailored content just to each of those groups. You’ll be able to make sure that everything you post is on-message for the people who’ll see them.


Mistake #9: Reposting Too Much

Google+ is all about building your personal brand. It’s about posting original content. It’s about impressing people with your content. It’s not about constantly reposting what other people are saying.

On Facebook and Twitter, sharing and retweeting is very common. On Google+, it’s less so, especially for businesses and brands. That’s not to say never to share, but the ratio should be much lower.

On Facebook, a good 20% to 30% of your content might be shares from other people. On Google+, less than 10% of your content should be shares. Focus on high quality original content, not resharing what other people posted.


Mistake #10: Overlooking Hangouts

People often underestimate just how powerful hangouts are. Hangouts allows you to connect with your friends using audio and video conferencing, completely for free. What’s incredible is how seamless the video and audio is. It’s easy to use, it’s fast and it just plain works.

Most other kinds of software on the market that can do this kind of video conferencing cost a boatload of money. Even Skype video conferencing isn’t as smooth and easy to use as Google hangouts.

You can use hangouts for classes, for impromptu gatherings for presentations or group meetings. Don’t overlook hangouts just because it’s free – It’s a robust and powerful piece of conferencing software.


These are some of the most common Google+ mistakes people make. Google+ isn’t Facebook, but it’s still one of the most influential social networks around. Develop a strong Google+ strategy and it’ll pay off in customers, in brand, in credibility and influence.


Top 10 Twitter Mistakes



Twitter is often the most difficult of all social networks for marketers and businesses to navigate. Twitter has a very unique and specific culture, with unique etiquette and expectations. Marketing on Twitter isn’t like posting an ad or even posting a Facebook update. It’s more like constantly being a part of a never ending stream of high speed communications.

In many ways, Twitter marketing is all about systems and habits. It’s all about how you consistently do the things you need to do to expand your follower base, build trust and increase revenues. Unfortunately, a lot of people have bad systems and habits that either don’t work or make them look like spammers.

Here are ten of the most common mistakes people make on Twitter. Making these mistakes can reduce your profits, make you look like a spammer or alienate your audience.

Mistake #1: Focusing on Quantity Over Quality

On Twitter, it’s common for people to measure their success by the number of followers they have or the number of retweets they get. It can be a lot more exciting to see 100,000 people following you than 1,000 – Even if that 1,000 are the 1,000 people who really matter.

When it comes to building a business, the number of followers you have is not the best indicator of how you’re doing on Twitter. After all, if all you wanted were followers, you could simply buy several thousand of them for $5.

What really matters with Twitter is engagement. The more engagement you have, the more likely people are to …

  • Retweet your content to their network.
  • Come to your site and buy a product.
  • Partner with you on joint projects.
  • Promote your affiliate programs.
  • Invite you to speak at events.
  • Introduce you to investors, big clients and other key contacts.

Twitter is so much more than just a marketing platform. Focus on the quality of your connections as well as the quantity of followers to get the best results.


Mistake #2: Auto-Follow Back

When Twitter first came out, it was considered a pretty good marketing tactic to follow back anyone who followed you. It showed that you cared about them, that you were listening to them and that the relationship was a two-way street.

That’s why when auto-follow back programs came along, they took off so quickly. Instead of having to do the following manually, people could just setup their software to do it for them. Pretty soon, this became a common occurrence.

Today, using auto-follow back software to follow anyone who follows you is quite a bad idea. It used to work, but now it’s frowned upon by many Twitter users.


First, it makes it difficult to use Twitter properly and connect with the people you really care about. If your whole Twitter feed is flooded with people you don’t know and don’t really care about, how can you possibly build real relationships?

Second, you open yourself to spam. Your Direct Message box is going to get flooded with promotional messages. Your Twitter feed will as well. Again, it makes it very difficult to build real relationships.

Third, it makes you look spammy. Anyone who understands how Twitter works can take one look at your follow to follower ratio and know you’re using automated software. To these people, this often looks like spam.

Finally, it reduces your perceived authority. Real authority figures are followed by a lot of people but aren’t necessarily following a lot of people. If you have a 1:1 ratio, you look less like an authority.

The bottom line is, don’t use auto-follow back software.

Mistake #3: Auto Direct Messaging

An even worse mistake is to use software that automatically messages anyone who follows. Common practices include mailing people a free report or mailing a link to a squeeze page.

People can see right through that kind of thing. There isn’t anyone who’ll receive that message who wouldn’t instantly know that it was generated automatically. For the vast majority of users, that’s enough for them to instantly lose trust in you.

The amount of benefit you’d get from bulk messaging like this isn’t even close to the benefit you’d get if you actually built a relationship with them. So what can you do instead?

Instead of automatically messaging everyone, take the time to actually look through your followers. When someone follows you, go check out your feed.

Whenever you see someone who you think you’d genuinely want to connect with, go ahead and send them a message. Make it personalized and tailor it to them directly. They’ll love you for reaching out and you’ll build a real connection.


Mistake #4: Not Customizing Your Background and Picture

If you leave your background picture on the default settings, or if you don’t have a great looking picture, you’re going to lose a lot of your audience.

When you’re first starting out on Twitter, it’s perfectly fine to just use Twitter’s default background. You can also opt to use one of Twitter’s many template backgrounds.

As your brand grows however, you should absolutely hire a designer to have a custom made background designed for you. If you have a great looking custom background, it really sends the message that you’re a professional who cares about his or her followers.

The same goes for profile pictures. You need to have a professional looking profile photo. Ideally, the profile photo you choose will also have the brand color or brand “vibe” that matches your background.


Mistake #5: Taking Extended Breaks

If you disappear all of a sudden for a month, or even a week or two, people are going to start to forget who you are. It’s okay if it’s a planned break that you announce – For example, a honeymoon – But if you just drop off the map all of a sudden, you’ll very quickly lose all the work you put into your social media efforts.

This seems self-explanatory, but it happens all too often. It might be because of a family emergency, it might be because of burnout, it could be business troubles. The thing is, your audience won’t know what’s going on unless you tell them. If you just disappear, many of them will just move on. There’s far too many things pulling for their attention on the social web.

If you must take an extended break from Twitter, you have a couple options.

First, you can announce that you’re taking a break. You can explain why and make sure your audience knows you’re coming back.

The better option is to use a tool like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to continue to post tweets even in your absence. You can greatly tone down the volume as well. For example, you can automatically post just one or two tweets a day, instead of your normal 10 to 20. This allows you to keep your connections alive, even when you can’t fully be there.


Mistake #6: Always Tweeting at the Same Time of Day

Do you tend to always send your tweet at one time of day? For example, many people like to send their tweets when they get off work, between 5 pm and 8 pm. While it’s great to segment your work time, it’s not great to always tweet at the same time.

The reason? Time zones. Twitter is an international platform. If you’re always tweeting only when it makes sense in your time zone, you’re not going to be able to reach the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world.

Vary up your tweet times so you appear active to everyone, no matter where they’re geographically located. Use scheduling tools to spread out your tweets so you don’t have to actually be online to tweet out your timezone-friendly updates.


Mistake #7: Not Responding to @Mentions

If someone @mentions you and you don’t respond, you lose a valuable opportunity to connect with them. You lose the opportunity to connect with their audience. You lose the opportunity to have a vibrant public discussion. You lose the opportunity to win a fan.

People often don’t give @mentions the respect they deserve. Yes, @mentions are visible publicly. But they’re still messages direct at you specifically. They should be treated as if they were one on one communications, like email.

The difference between Twitter users who respond to every @mention and those who ignore @mentions is astronomical. The Twitter user who responds regularly will get more retweets, more mentions, more followers and more traction in general.


Mistake #8: No Personality Tweets

This is a mistake often made by big brands, as well as by small marketers who’re trying to look big, official or corporate like. They think that in order to appear trustworthy or “brand like” they have to write tweets that are standoffish, stiff and lack personality.

That doesn’t generate trust – All it does is bore your audience into leaving.

Just because you have a big brand doesn’t mean you have to be stiff. Take Taco Bell for instance. Though Taco Bell is a multi-million dollar company (owned by a public multi-billion dollar company,) they still use their Twitter accounts humorously to build connection with their followers.

For instance, when deodorant company Old Spice jabbed at Taco Bell, this is how they jabbed back:


And when Men’s Health jabbed at Taco Bell on “420 day,” this is how they responded:


The social web found these tweets hilarious. It generated a lot of buzz. What was the result of these kinds of tweets? Taco bell got a ton more followers. People loved Taco Bell’s sassy approach and wanted more.

Don’t make the mistake of taking your personality out of your tweets just because you want to appear respectable. If anything, the best way to appear respectable is to let your personality out.

Mistake #9: Being Stingy With Retweets

Giving someone a retweet is one of the most valuable gifts you could give them in the Twitter community. It shows someone you appreciate them, that you value your relationship with them and most importantly that you like their content enough to put your stamp of approval on it and send it to your followers.

Yet people are often quite stingy with giving out retweets. For some, it stems from being protective of their followers’ attention. For others, it’s a sense of “giving something away” without getting anything in return.

But in order to succeed on Twitter, you have to get over that sense of not wanting to retweet other people’s content. Not only do retweets help you build relationships with other Twitter users, it helps you build your relationship with your followers.

If you only retweet content that your followers would love, while providing valuable original content of your own, people will come to value you more not less. It helps you, it helps the original tweet author and it helps your followers. Everyone wins. Don’t be stingy with your tweets.


Mistake #10: Taking Mentality vs. Giving Mentality

A lot of marketers from the traditional marketing worlds tend to come on Twitter with a taking mindset. They come on asking: If I invest XY and Z (hours, money, energy, etc) what can I get in return? How many followers can I get? How many leads? How much revenue?

Unfortunately, that’s not how Twitter works. Marketers who come on Twitter with a taking mentality are often sorely disappointed.

The marketers that tend to succeed on Twitter are those that come with a giving mindset. They come asking: What kind of content can I give to my followers? How can I help other Twitter users succeed? What kind of content is missing in my industry that I can provide?

When you take on the giving mentality, people will naturally want to follow you. People will naturally want to retweet your content. People will naturally click on your links and eventually they’ll naturally buy your product.

It’s a paradox: In order to get from Twitter, you have to come with a focus on giving. Drop the taking mentality and take on the giver’s mentality.


These are ten of the most common Twitter mistakes, along with their solutions. Knowing what to do on Twitter is important – But so is knowing what not to do.