Top 5 mistakes every marketer should avoid on Twitter

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I am a huge proponent of using Twitter to broadcast important messages because, as of right now, there are over 300 million active Twitter users online.  Not only that, Twitter users trend younger, wealthier and more highly educated than your typical internet user.  For me, marketing to this audience has also achieved some pretty impressive results.  For example, I recently tweeted a link to a hilarious content marketing play that was retweeted 198 times, netting me dozens of new followers (and potential leads!).  As the median Twitter account has about 100 followers, this piece of content had the potential of reaching about 20,000 tweeters.  Through experience, I have learned how to be relevant to my particular audience, and I am achieving better results because of it.  But why do some of my contemporaries still struggle to gain traction on such a promising channel?

Based on my first hand observations, most of the marketers I know who are struggling with Twitter are making one or many of the following mistakes:

1) They don’t pick a specific target audience. This often overlooked task is actually pretty easy, just pick one or more of the top target audiences from your other channels and start from there.  If you fail to properly identify your audience your messages will not resonate with the majority of people who see it.  The right message may be much different for businesses than consumers, executives than staffers, and so on.  Selecting an audience is important because once you have a target audience you can address what it is they are looking for.  Some audiences will be interested in product discounts, others in fun or entertainment, still others in exclusive content.  Having a clear idea of the audience and their needs will be crucial in capturing their attention.  

2) They don’t spend enough time creating a compelling Twitter account. In order to harness the true power of Twitter, you need to have the right people listening to your messages.  This means you have to be smart about creating a highly networked account.  One where you are following the right type of people and the right type of people are following you.  I recommend that you start by simply searching on Twitter for people to follow for 5 – 10 minutes a day, every day.  Try to find people your target audience would be interested in.  Industry thought leaders, cultural icons, important people or brands, and other smart people with something significant to say.  Next start listening to those people, follow their conversations for at least 10 minutes per day.  Once you are ready to get involved then start adding to the conversation.  For example, begin by sharing some witty comments or valuable links and see what happens.  Once you learn what type of content is captivating your audience you are ready to move fully into the realm of engagement.

3) They don’t create a logical posting plan. A posting plan should be based on your overall Twitter strategy with a goal of engaging your target audience.  First, you need to have business outcomes in mind for why you are using the Twitter channel to begin with.  It could be for general branding purposes, building leads, customer service or something else entirely.  Make sure you know what it is (I’m serious!).  Then, determine when the target audience is listening and schedule posts accordingly.  This is very important because, according to Quora, retweets peak between the hours of 2pm to 5pm EST.  If the target audience is listening during the afternoon, they why would someone post first thing in the morning?  Lastly, you should have a detailed editorial calendar for Twitter messages.  This will allow you to create a series of related messages that work together in a coherent, branded pattern which makes sense to your audience. And when you post, ask for a retweet, and make sure to spell it out, “please retweet”, according to, you are 23x more likely to get a retweet when you do!

4) They aren’t using promoted tweets.  Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers.  It is important to use promoted tweets regularly to make sure messages are seen by the largest audience possible, especially the most important messages.  While regular tweets are only seen by a fraction of the target audience, promoted tweets stay at the top of the twitter feed for an extended period of time, so the audience is sure to see them no matter when they log in.  This is vital for growing a Twitter account and finding new followers.  Promoted tweets are also great for testing, as you can get time series data on clicked tweets (now you will know when to send your next tweet!).  Lastly, plan on using promoted Twitter Cards.  These types of posts allow marketers to embed graphics into the tweet for an eye catching effect.

5) They don’t nurture their Twitter leads with an engagement marketing campaign.  Engagement Marketing means you open up a dialog with engaged members of your audience.  Individuals that have engaged with your brand should be passed directly to your marketing automation platform and placed in a relevant marketing campaign that addresses them as an individual, based on their interests.  This is critical because you can now direct them to a desired outcome, such as purchasing your product or service, and attribute revenue to your Twitter channel.

By correcting these five mistakes, you can harness Twitter to grow you audience, reinforce your brand and drive revenue growth.

Happy Tweeting!