Twitter is one of the most popular platforms for building, managing, and enhancing the online reputation of your business.
(And for good reason: signing up is free and easy. The social networking and microblogging service also happens to have more than 500 million active users generating over 340 million tweets a day: not bad numbers to begin with if you’re reaching out to existing and potential customers!)
Not all businesses on Twitter, however, make use of the platform effectively. Instead of successfully building brand buzz, creating a community of loyal followers, and leveraging the word-of-mouth power of tweets, mentions, and re-tweets, some have a tendency instead to make common mistakes that you – as a business owner – should avoid.
Here’s a list to guide you on what to do and what not to do.
12 Online Reputation Management Mistakes Businesses Make on Twitter
Not using Twitter. In case you haven’t yet noticed, Twitter is host to a bunch of dead accounts. A number of these were created by business owners whose attempt to go social and gain followers was overwhelmed by the amount of time and effort it actually took to get results from Twitter. Our advice: don’t give up too early! Be patient, do Twitter right, and the rewards are worth it.
Not having a complete profile. Another thing that you may notice upon signing up on Twitter is the number of profiles without a picture, a description, a URL, or a single tweet. Don’t end up being one of these accounts. Take time to fill out your profile – just as you would when claiming your business on review sites – and make sure you add essential business info, like a description of what you do, your homepage URL, your business location, and your picture. Why? Because when people start to find your tweets interesting or are thinking about following you, they’ll first want to learn more about who’s tweeting – and the first thing they’ll check is the info you’ve provided on your Twitter business profile.
Not having a profile picture. It can be your logo. It can be a picture of yourself. It can be a picture of your team. It can even be a picture of your storefront. But please don’t let your Twitter profile go without a photo! That’s because users tend to think that Twitter profiles without a photo are managed by spammers.
Having unrealistic expectations and thinking you’ll have a million followers in a week. Like other social media marketing platforms, Twitter works best at driving slow, organic growth. It takes time, effort, and patience – unless, of course, your business is powered by a famous celebrity who’ll get you a miraculous number of followers, mentions, favorites, and retweets in no time. Even then, don’t expect a dramatic growth in sales as your ROI; what you can enjoy is a positive online reputation supported and loved by a socially savvy community of followers.
Choosing an unidentifiable, forgettable username. Many business owners make the mistake of branding their Twitter accounts with complicated, hard-to-remember usernames. Don’t be one of these owners. We recommend that you use your business name as your Twitter handle – and avoid suffixing it with digits (“@BizOnTwitter2841”), which make a username so much harder to identify and remember.
Not engaging. Think of Twitter as a place for short online conversations (cocktail conversations). Don’t just talk; to be truly effective, you have to talk to people, listen in, reach out, and start and join conversations.
Not having a personality. One of the best ways to improve your online reputation is by humanizing your brand. Twitter is the perfect platform to do just that. However, you must do more than what some business owners are doing, which is to just upload a logo and tweet relentless sales-talk. Establish a personality, show that there’s a human being behind those tweets, and connect with your Twitter audience as actively, energetically, and passionately as possible.
Not preparing for questions, concerns, issues. It can’t be avoided that a customer will sooner or later raise an issue or make a complaint on Twitter. When that happens, be sure you’re in a position to listen in and respond in a timely manner. Apart from being a great online reputation management channel, Twitter is also useful for managing customer relationships – and yet many business owners come unprepared.
Turning into a company news feed. Your business website should have a news page – and for a reason: so that your Twitter profile doesn’t become a feed for news, events, and announcements associated with your business, product, service, or brand. Unfortunately, some business owners don’t seem to realize this, and are therefore bound to turn of Twitter followers with such one-sided, non-interactive sharing of information.
Not replying. The @reply feature on Twitter enables users to create and continue real-time 140-character conversations with existing and potential customers, and maybe even critics, too. Many business owners on Twitter, however, make the online reputation management mistake of ignoring @mentions and replies, using Twitter as a platform exclusively for self-promotion. Here’s what you should do: reply to people and make them feel like they’re part of an awesome community surrounding your business.
Being irrelevant. Using Twitter for business? Then come to an understanding that no one is interested in what you and your employees had for lunch. (Maybe you can just save these sorts of tweets for a personal Twitter account.) Focus instead on content that’s related to what your business can offer and what’s happening in your industry.
Spamming. Twitter isn’t made for spam. But a number of business owners still seem to think that. They spend all day sending direct messages to their followers, following thousands of users per hour, sending out affiliate links, and generally polluting Twitter-verse with ads and sales jargon and marketing buzzwords.