Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

7 mistakes to avoid on Twitter

with 7 comments

Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

Found this one on Google. Nice eh?

It seems like all of a sudden, everyone is talking about Twitter.

For businesses that find out about Twitter from a news story or an article in your favourite business magazine, there’s almost a sense of urgency about getting onto Twitter and using it for growing your business.

How many of you know that if you find out about the latest technology through the news, then it’s already too late – everyone has already caught onto it and the “ship has left the harbour”.

Never mind. Let’s talk about Twitter. While many businesses I know are on Twitter, but only a handful are doing it right.

Well guys, if it was so easy then everyone would be doing it. You see, the easiest thing about Twitter is setting up a profile. Again, if all you needed to do to use Twitter was to create a profile, then everyone would be onto it by now (one would hope).

I get asked almost everyday about “How can I use Twitter in my business”. The problem is there is no set answer to that question. It depends on your business, your target market profile, what you offer and the culture of your company.

So instead of trying to write about a “formula” for success on Twitter (cause there ain’t one), let me tell you about what NOT to do on Twitter. Hopefully it stimulates your thinking and you can understand more about how and why Twitter can be just as detrimental to your business as it can be beneficial.

1.Don’t Tweet just for the sake of it?

Twitter is not for everyone. There are certain industries and business types that won’t really benefit from Twitter as their primary social media strategy. Your energies may be better spent improving your search engine results and perhaps looking at a more targeted social networking channel like LinkedIn, or a Facebook Group.

2. Understand why you are on Twitter?

Once you have assessed the role and potential benefits of Twitter for your business, you need to clearly define what you expect from Twitter. It’s critical that you know exactly why you are on Twitter writing about your business in less than 140 characters when your company name alone may be 50 characters long (I know 3 such cases).What I;m really trying to say is that writing a tweet is simple; but why are you doing it? For instance, ask yourself the question: “Will it make the boat go faster?” (The number one question that determines every decision aboard the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup team. I found this out from Don from Campaign Works). If Twitter does not “make the boat go faster” then don’t waste your time on it.

3: What are you going to talk about?

On Twitter you only have 140 characters per post. You have to use those characters well and communicate your message strategically. Look, Twitter is not about singing praises about your products, nor is it about dissing your competition. The very basis of success for Twitter is built on the concept of building a community. Remember what makes a good community – unbiassed conversations, non-invasive discussions, valuable feedback and most importantly, regular communication.

4: It’s not about you

It is very easy for companies to fall into the classic trap of using Twitter (or any other social media for that matter) as a soapbox from where you can simply broadcast marketing messages to the masses. Nothing could be more detrimental to your Twitter career than this. Remember, there is nothing “social” about constantly promoting your products or services – people get bored and quit following you.

5: Build a community not a marketing machine

Social communities thrive on the “social” aspect of being attached to a community. Imagine living in a massive open plan hall filled with members of your target market. How will you interact with them? Would you go about distributing a DLE flyer to each and every one of them, or would you (slowly) get to know your community (your target market) and interact with them socially. How do friends talk to each other? Every time you see a friend do the first words that come out of your mouth the latest promotion? Social networking is about relationships.

6: Don’t go overboard trying to get everyone’s attention in one day

Sometimes you can try too hard to gain a following. Looking even in the conventional media, personalities that try too hard to stay away from the public eye, end up getting all the more in the spotlight. I guess what I am trying to say is that on a place like Twitter, less is more.

7: Be a farmer, not a hunter

Twitter, just like traditional networking, is a about farming and not just registering quick runs on the board. It takes diligence, consistency and most importantly it takes skill. So don’t go about trying to DIY everything. Get some expert help. Sometimes it’s better to take a step back, focus on your strengths and let the experts do what they do. I have seen businesses use Twitter brilliantly resulting in explosive business results and I have also seen companies that went Twittering based on the same premise that they built their website (someone told them to so they did it; with no planning, strategy or goals).


Written by manaskumar

July 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Manas Kumar:
    Great article! I’ve been a twitter member for about a year and have met many interesting people. Some for business and others because we share common interests. The important thing about twitter is get involved. Respond to people’s tweets. Thank them for following you. Thank them for retweeting your updates. Reward participative followers by encouraging others to follow them too. Talk business in only 1 of 5 tweets. Share information but do not sell. Sell in the links outside of twitter. When you wish to discuss more, email me or follow me at
    p.s. – I’ll be sharing your article on twitter! – gfb3

  2. […] 7 mistakes to avoid on Twitter – Manas Kumar […]

  3. “I just started working on my own social networking site. I bought Dzoic handshakes, found some pretty good reviews. Anyone good with this stuff?”

    "Andrew A. Sailer"

    October 21, 2009 at 2:44 am

  4. Thanks for the article – I’m new to twitter and have had difficulty “wrapping my arms” around it’s potential. I’m would like to accomplish something with this site – not just inform today’s GenY’ers that I just brushed my teeth – lame. Your article is a step in the right direction for me. I’ll continue to read about how to develop and use this site – my ultimate goal is getting followers and passing along some type of message – this is what it’s about, isn’t it?


    December 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm

  5. Overall, Twitter can be applied as a marketing tool if done correctly. Using twitter as a marketing strategy is a subject of some argumentation in the marketing world. I have read many articles in favor of this technique and equally as many against it. 

    tweet adder review

    March 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

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