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17 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter



Falkland Island Penguins Photo Stephan Westphal


Want to become successful on Twitter and network with as many followers as possible? Here are are some basic principles to keep in mind when you tweet 140 characters to millions of people. Keep in mind that not only your followers, but also their followers can read it. Make your Twitter profile an irresistible force to your ideal audience. Who I would NOT follow:

1. “Contributed” Twitter Accounts
Twitter accounts that are not run by the owner, but by his/her “team” – who sprinkle annoying advertisements between the tweets they schedule: “Contributed Tweets for @xxxxxx are delivered by @….Team https://……co”; I don’t want to deal with a “team”, rather with real people.

2. Missing or No Bio Information
Why should I follow someone who doesn’t even show anything to entice me following him/her? Twitter gives you 160 characters to fill in your profile. Use them. Make sure it tells something about you and / or your (writing) business, so people can decide whether or not they want to follow you. If you want to stay anonymous, don’t use Social Media!

3. No Avatar – Instead an Image of Your Pet
Who wants to talk with an egg, or a cat, child or your dog? OK, if you have a company, you can use the company logo, but for everyone else: get a great studio photo once in ten years and use it for all your marketing needs including your book cover or on your website. Would you send a potential employer a photo of your house pet, your book or a toddler’s image? No? Why then show these annoying images to your potential customers? Be professional! Sometimes I am inclined to publish a book with the worst avatars!

4. “Private” Accounts
If you set your Twitter account to “private” status, prospective followers won’t be able to see your tweets. Why would anyone follow you if they cannot see what you Tweet about? I often get followers, and when attempting to follow back, I am stopped by their “lock”.

5. No profile image
No matter how camera-shy you may be, don’t fail to upload a headshot or company logo. When people see the default Twitter image in your profile, they tend to assume a) that you don’t know what you’re
doing on Twitter yet; b) that you don’t care; or c) that you are not a ‘real’ person but a spammer or robot.

6. Never, Ever, Use TrueTwit Validation Service!
Some are nice Welcome messages, but 90 per cent are spam. But I read them in the past, first I answered, telling them that I DO NOT use TrueTwit Validation Service, but then I gave up and just
ignored the sender.The irony is, that these people are often following me, and then when I want to follow them back, their message appears! Why did they choose to follow me and then want ME to validate??? You just lost a reader, a customer, a potential fan, a potential reviewer.

7. Not Following Back
Some Tweeps hardly ever bother to follow (legitimate) followers back. They seem to be proud to have more followers or want to show how “popular” they are – even buying twitter followers… I un-follow people if they haven’t followed me back after a couple of months. Others will un-follow you if you don’t follow back within the week – which is unfair, as someone could be in vacation, or ill, or just overwhelmed with work for a couple of days. But if I see 5000 people following you, and you are only following 300 of them, it shows me right away you are not very engaging.

8. Greeting New followers with FB likes / Book Promotions
You get a message in your mailbox: Someone mentioned you. Curious you check it, but no, you are only summoned to go to their Facebook account and LIKE their page. Or they send you the link to their
books sales page. And that’s the greeting for following them… Do they sign up with Twitter only to advertise their wares? Same: Sending DM’s with advertisements. You open the Direct message and
you are greeted with advertising. My reaction: immediately UNFOLLOWING. Thanks and nice to meet you…

9. Never Interacting With Others
If you post only about yourself and never take time to say ‘hi’ or ‘thank-you’ to people, or you never re-tweet or reply to people’s comments, your followers will get upset and are likely to un-follow you. If prospective followers see no engagement, they might not bother to follow you in the first place.  In the process of choosing followers, one can sometimes scroll down their timeline for a whole week
and don’t find a single re-tweet. Or the opposite: you want to re-tweet and cannot find anything the person ever tweeted … only re-tweets of others’ content.

10. Talk Only to Their Friends
When someone only uses Twitter to chat-surf, others might not wish to follow you, when you are constantly chatting with your friends. Being social is great, but this is too much! Why should I re-tweet what you are talking with your friends? Not interesting for others.

11. Having No Bio or Real Name
Your name and @name, should be searchable on Twitter. It means people can type you into Twitter’s search engine and find you. Use your own name or try to get the actual name of your small publishing
business on Twitter. Keep it as short as possible, to give tweeps more space to re-tweet your content or to communicate with you.

12. Not Tweeting Regularly
There are several programs that can analyse which of your followers are totally inactive. JustUnfollow or Tweet Adder for example can identify them. I stop following people if I don’t see any action on their account for 2 months. If you want to keep your followers, be sure to stay active on Twitter. Avoid to barely ever re-tweeting others, or answering them. Twitter is a SOCIAL network, don’t use it as a advertisement board only. Answer or re-tweet others – and they will return the favor.

13. Tweeting the Same Message Over and Over
Tweeting the same content over and over is a recipe to get un-followed. Why would I follow you if there is never anything new? Same with re-tweeting only other peoples content. If you want to grow your following, show others who YOU are and create your own presence. Stop your continuing posts, varying from three to six subjects, and this for pages and pages… What I found so far: 80% of these are male and/or are introvert writers or “leadership business advisers”.

14. Broken Links
Click before you tweet – there is nothing that frustrates more than a link to a post or resource that does not work. If the link is broken, no one can re-tweet your message.

15. Every Tweet is a Sales Tweet
If you do nothing but tweet “Get my book on Amazon” or “Like me on Facebook”, you are considered a spammer, only trying to sell to followers. Talking about your book (only): Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book – pretty boring, isn’t it? Aim to send out entertaining, thoughtful, funny content or news, that are interesting for your fellow tweeps. You could for example improve these points:

16. Not Having at Least 2,000 Followers – or Stuck With 2,000
Some books and blog articles advice to never follow anyone with less than 2,000 followers. Doesn’t sound fair, as everyone has to start somewhere. On the other hand some tweeps click on every name they see on Twitter to reach 2,000 followers very fast – and then stuck. For them, instead to un-follow successive those who do not follow, they just wait it out to get 2,000 people who follow them, in order to continue their growth.
But this can take forever, as no one wants to to follow THEM – and then wait for months or even longer, until they reciprocate – or worse: never do. Un-follow people who haven’t followed you back after a while. This is especially important to avoid “follow limits”. If you have anything like these numbers – you are in trouble: 268 TWEETS – 2000 FOLLOWING – 345 FOLLOWERS

17. Too Few or Too Much Content
When people on Twitter are following close to 2000 people and they have only tweeted a few times (or sometimes not at all). Without content, those you have followed are unlikely to follow you back. On the other hand, I see people with maybe a few hundred followers, and they are tweeting tens of thousands of times.

These are just a few of many issues that make it difficult to interact for others on Twitter – or prevents tweeps to click on follow you – and also for you to build social networks and your writer’s platform. To become successful and popular on Twitter do this:

  • Pick the right time of day for your tweets
  • Leave room for a re-tweet
  • Tweet the latest news in your field
  • Write a tempting tweet headline
  • Choose a short Twitter name
  • Don’t make the tweets only about you
  • Avoid not being social – or being too social

Follow others, tweet something valuable for others and don’t use Twitter only as a cheap way to advertise!  Create a nice mixture of your own, really interesting tweets and do some re-tweeting. If you want to become popular on Twitter and have your tweets go viral, learn how to use Twitter in a smart and social way, and nurse your relationships – that’s what Twitter is there for. Twitter is a tool that creates relationships and conversation – using it only for “advertising” would be devaluing the system





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How to Get More Re-Tweets

Want More Re-Tweets and spread the word about the launch of your new bestseller book? 

Your audience on Twitter follows potential leaders in their area or industry. They want to learn more, have access to more content, and reach people they might not otherwise meet in real life.

  • Followers want content that is credible, intelligent, and valuable.
    More than 70% of re-tweeted content is about news, and more than 50% of re-tweeted content is either instructional or entertainment-related. Think books!
  • If you have something valuable to share, you probably want as many people as possible to spread that content or message, and simply asking others to re-tweet that content can be an effective way to generate more re-tweets from other Twitter users. Using the words “Please Re-Tweet” will generate 4x more re-tweets.
  • Your content is less likely to be re-tweeted if it is centered around your products and services. When tweeting, keep in mind the information your target audience craves and the problems they need to solve, and tweet that type of content most.
  • Don’t forget: the length of a tweet cannot exceed 140 characters. Not allowing room in your tweets for people to add “RT @….” plus their comment, will discourage people from re-tweeting. The easier you make it for others to re-tweet your content, the more likely they will do it.
  • Always include hashtags in your tweets. If someone isn’t following you but is searching the hashtag, they will still see your tweet and potentially spread your content.
  • Spreading links back to your website and blog content should be natural. Get as many people to retweet your content as possible so that more than just your immediate Twitter followers will see your blog posts, ebooks, and other content.
  • “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” If you retweet someone else’s content, your Twitter username may stand out to that person among all the clutter on Twitter.
  • Make it easy for others who consume your content – a blog post, an e-book, or a webinar – to tweet about it. Add social media share buttons and links to all of the content you produce to encourage people to re-tweet it with just the click of a button.
  • Timing is important: late in the day and week are the most re-tweetable time periods. Compare it with your time zone. And Twitter is not only popular in the USA. After all, it’s a world wide web…



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