There are lots of people out there with pretty strong opinions about how Twitter should and should not be used, particularly from a business standpoint. I’m of the opinion that Twitter is a flexible medium that you can mold, twist and bend to fit your individual needs; it’s there for you to use however you want to use it.
But, having said that, I have seen some activities on Twitter that have had horrible results, and I can’t really imagine any circumstances when these activities would be appropriate, unless you are up for an online bashing (which certainly can happen). So, here is my list of Twitter behaviors that have the potential to kill your online business reputation…and make you look a little silly in the process.
1. Leave Your Name, Location, Avatar and/or Bio Blank
You would think that those of us who are using Twitter to connect with others (which is just about everyone, isn’t it?), would take time to fill in some basics about who we are and what we do. I have seen so many Twitter accounts that don’t even provide a name. And worse, some that don’t have an avatar. Ideally, your avatar will be an actual photo of you, but at a minimum, you need something there (a logo, business name, etc.) to replace the default no-avatar graphic.
2. Never Tweet
I always wonder what the deal is when I see Twitter accounts that have thousands of followers with only a handful of tweets posted. Sure, this is the norm for many of the celebrity Twitter accounts, but what’s the point? All this says to me is that you are playing a numbers game and most likely not willing or interested in getting to know any of your followers.
One of the biggest benefits of using Twitter is the ability we have to use it to build relationships. If you’re not tweeting and engaging in conversation with anyone, you’re not getting to enjoy any of these person-to-person benefits.
3. Go Nuts with Affiliate Links
If you’re consistently posting links embedded with affiliate tracking code with the main goal of getting clicks, you will start to build a negative reputation. No one wants to feel used, and if you’re never posting anything without making it an income-generating activity, you’re going to turn people off.
4. Self-Promote to the Extreme
We all put links on Twitter; it’s a great way to share information and spark conversation. But take a look at your linking history. If the majority of your links are self-promoting (i.e. they go directly to your website, direct people to a sales page, or focus only on your own accomplishments), you may be missing the point.
Sure, people want to hear about what you’re doing and things you have available for purchase, but that can’t be the only side of your Twitter persona. Don’t forget to share information others might find useful, retweet, and read and comment on what your followers are posting. And when you get comments and retweets, please, acknowledge them and say thank you!
5. Attack, Abuse or Talk Badly about People
Twitter is great for the occasional vent. Not only does it let you get things off your chest quickly and painlessly, but these kind of tweets allow you to share a little of your personal side. And in my experience, this is what makes online relationships sustainable and real. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, and we all have bad days. Sharing your human side will make you more approachable, likeable and will help others relate to you.
But, think twice before using Twitter to attack, verbally abuse or otherwise denigrate someone else. A public forum is never the place to express anger at another person, whether it’s justified or not. This kind of activity only makes you look bad…and it’s embarrassing for those of us who have to witness it.
One More Tip…
Don’t forget to use Twitter search or other search tools to keep track of your name, business name and other targeted keywords. Not only will this help you monitor your online reputation, but it will also help you find people you may want to connect with.
So what do you think? Do you do any of these proclaimed no-no’s and have positive results? What else would you add to my list?
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