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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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How NOT to win friends and influence people on Twitter


How NOT to win friends and influence people on Twitter Over the past few months I have noticed some over eager people, very often professionals, new to Twitter making credibility damaging mistakes. Twitter is a great medium for trainers to network – as it is always ‘on’. So, I thought I would highlight some of these errors and explain why they are a turn off to people on Twitter:

1. Hash tag spam
You see a great tweet, or want to positively influence a powerful Twitter user, so you decide to add a hashtag of something that is trending on Twitter. This is a great way of heightening exposure for the tweet or peep behind the tweet... Or is it? Twitter, and social media in general, likes people to be open, honest and transparent. So, tricking people into reading a tweet by including an irrelevant search term breaks trust and turns the tweet you altered into spam. The writer of the original tweet, inadvertently gets the blame for the spam tweet.

2. Hijacking tweets
This is the practice of adding extra links (or hash tags) to a tweet after retweeting it. Whether or not these links or hastags are self serving for you, is not the point. You have altered the original meaning & intention of the tweet – and the original writer’s name is still attributed to the tweet. I don’t like my name being attributed to something I haven’t written, & I’m sure you wouldn’t either.

3. Purely broadcasting
Now everyone does a certain amount of broadcasting on Twitter – me included. After all, Twitter is a great way of driving traffic to your blog. However, as with everything in life, Twitter is all about balance. People want to know a little about you as a person and have a chat with you. Unless you are a celebrity, people expect you to engage (i.e. prompt or enter into a conversation). So, have a look at all your tweets in the last 24-36 hrs. Is it all about you or articles you think are good? Or are you talking to others and inviting others to join in the conversation? You wouldn’t dream of talking at your delegates for a whole workshop? So, why do it on Twitter?

4. Selling
This is a difficult one. But, I’ve seen many enthusiastic new tweeters go onto Twitter and start selling. You know you are on Twitter (& social media) to generate business, so you go in and start selling. It may only be pushing people to read your blog, but Twitter is an opt-in medium. People don’t like to be sold to or told what to do.

5. Pushing a message onto you
I think I had exchanged one tweet with a corporate Twitter account & suddenly they messaged me asking me to help them achieve their goals with a link to click on. Now, would you in only your second sentence at a networking event ask someone you have just met to help you achieve your business goals? No, I think not. Twitter is just the same as a face-to-face networking event. Build up the relationship first and then ask for help. No relationship = unwanted request

Have I missed anything from the list here? What really turns you off people on Twitter?

One Response

  1. Social Media etiquette

    This has been a really useful article thank you as I have just dipped my toe into the social media whirlpool for the first time.  I find it quite a challenge to keep to the character count and build a relationship and sound interesting but I’m learning!!.  Is there a good book on do’s and don’ts of social media?  Anne Blackburn.

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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