7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter
By Rodney Rumford
When looking at the communication eco-system that is Twitter you need to ask yourself
some questions. You need to have very strategic goals set up for your use case and for
measurement of success for how you choose to engage and leverage the eco-system.
From a marketing perspective you need to ensure that you don’t make any major mistakes
in your implementation and execution. You need a very clearly defined strategy that goes
beyond “we should be on Twitter”. This article is meant to help you avoid the most
common mistakes and pitfalls that could have a negative impact on your business or brand
Be aware that Twitter is where conversations happen online at a very high velocity and the
benefits to your brand can be many. Here is a quote from Scott Monty from Ford to help
frame this article and the value of Twitter ad Ford sees it.
It is important that you recognize and understand the nuances of the Twitter eco-system as a
communications channel. Realize that it is used in a variety of ways and that Twitters genius is in its
simplicity. It is a tool that consumers and
businesses can leverage in a multitude of
ways. There are many different ways that
users are utilizing Twitter and for a
multitude of business and personal reasons.
We have conducted an exhaustive and
extensive survey of the Twitterverse and
have found that consumers use the eco-
system in a variety of ways that suit their
You can see some of the ways that Twitter
users are aligning their use of this channel
from these survey results. It is significant to note that 56% use twitter in some professional, marketing
or work-related capacity.
Here are the 7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter.
1. Inconsistent or no visual branding of your presence on Twitter.
You need to have a unified brand experience that is consistent with your brand so that it
does not confuse consumers. Your profile is where people go to quickly discover how you
are using twitter and to quickly learn about your business. Ensure that you use the 160
character descriptor field to quickly get your brand or business messaging across. It is
acceptable to tell them how you are going to use this Twitter channel and set expectations.
For example if your account is strictly for distribution of an RSS feed and there will be no
human interactions; tell them so. Companies like SUN and Dell have multiple twitter
channels and each is specifically geared to delivering niche content to a target audience.
Tip: Visually skin your Twitter page back ground with an image that visually conveys the
positioning of the brand. A good example of this is Dunkin Donuts.
Notice how they use a visually branded background, page font color and an icon that are all
consistent with their brand. Also note that the Bio is descriptive, concise and it links to the
main Dunkin Donuts website.
“Bio: Dunkin' Dave here, tweeting on the behalf of the DD mothership. I'm an American
and I'm certifiably running on Dunkin'.”
Your profile is where people go to quickly discover how you are using twitter and to
quickly learn about your business. Ensure that you use the 160 character descriptor field to
quickly get your brand or business messaging across. It is acceptable to tell them how you
are going to use this Twitter channel and set expectations. For example if your account is
strictly for distribution of an RSS feed and there will be no human interactions; tell them
so. Companies like SUN have multiple Twitter channels and each is specifically geared to
delivering niche content to a target audience.
2. Not listening for brand mentions and conversations that are relevant to your
company and target audience’s interest.
Realize that Twitter effectively allows you to be the “fly on the wall” at a cocktail party.
When an opportunity presents itself to join a conversation and interact; you will be ready.
But you need to be listening in order to do this efficiently.
Listening is a critical part of using twitter if you want to be relevant and add value to
people that matter most to your business. If you listen properly you can use twitter search
as a lightweight form of brand and reputation management. I would recommend that you
go to http://search.twitter.com and set up a number of persistent searches for your brands,
keywords that your users might be tweeting and monitor them so that you have the relevant
knowledge of what is being said and can respond and react accordingly in a timely fashion.
You can set up these searches to have an RSS output that you can then monitor with
3. Failure to interact and not replying when people tweet @you.
When a user tweets @yourcompany they are very specifically reaching out to you and are
expecting some sort of response. User’s expectations are that if a brand or company is on
Twitter; that they are there to interact. Failure to respond can have negative ramifications
and is most commonly looked upon from a consumer’s perspective as you don’t care
enough to respond. This is not what you want to have happen.
Responding in a timely manner and in a public fashion can have very positive impact as
your followers and the followers of the person that you are interacting with will see that
your company is engaging.
The bar has been raised and the expectation for response from your brand has been
increased dramatically. Now is the time to take this opportunity to increase your brand
4. Using Twitter as a Push Marketing Channel.
While most marketing people are used to creating a “message” and pushing it to multiple
distribution points; that tactic does not work well in the Twitter eco-system. While using
twitter to push press releases or automatic distribution of an RSS feed from your company
blog might be appealing; the consumption model is minimal. Only linking to your website
in your tweets will quickly become boring to your followers.
Use twitter as a way of sharing interesting and value added content that addresses your
target market’s pain points and needs. You can share information that helps them without
continually being self serving. This tactic will offer you longer life and a higher perceived
value of your brand. If you educate people; you have the opportunity to own them and
position yourself and your business as a thought leader and
you can attain trusted advisor status.
Many marketing professionals are used to pushing the
company messaging to multiple platforms and eco-system.
Realize that the greater value can be gained by actually
interacting with your target market. Everyone talks about
transparency as a buzzword; on Twitter it is a reality. Only
pointing to your main web property repeatedly will not be
looked upon positively by most of your target audience.
When you have people follow you; they follow for a reason.
They have effectively “opted in” to hear what you are
publishing and sharing. Focus on adding value and giving them what they want. Use this
channel as a way to communicate industry news, trends, insights that are valuable to your
target audience. Interaction is the key to building influence on Twitter. Do share openly
and don’t only talk about your services. Find a way to mix it up and be interesting and
human in your interactions.
Tip: Focus on adding value to the people that matter most thru the channel and you can’t
5. Not setting up KPI or measurement metrics that align with specific business goals
for your Twitter use.
There are several ways to measure the ROI of your efforts on Twitter. You need to have
clearly defined metrics for how you will measure and rank key criteria. The easiest metric
(and least valuable) is how many people follow you. While this is a general indication of
“popularity”, it is not a good metric of influence, customer interaction or customer
You will want to measure the number of interactions, the number of people you touch, and
the net outcome of those interactions and conversations. For example: Did you take an
initial negative brand detractor and move that person to a higher satisfaction level or to the
point where they have become a brand evangelist.
You might also want to consider looking at number of mentions of your brand as a general
way to measure buzz or velocity as a topic of conversation in the eco-system.
Also consider the number of times that your content is re-tweeted (RT) and pushed thru the
network by multiple people. What is the effective “reach and influence” of the people that
re-tweeted your content. This is actually an important metric when you look at how often
people find your content interesting and “sharable”. Interesting and valuable content is
more likely to get re-tweeted by your followers.
You should also track on the landing page of your site how many people come from
Twitter and what they do once they are on your site. This will help you to determine the
behavior of the people that come from Twitter and what they are interested in.
6. Not clearly identifying employees that are speaking on behalf of the
It is important that somewhere on your main site that you have a “directory” of people
from your business that tweet on behalf of the company. It is also important that these
peoples bio’s are descriptive as such.
Companies such as dell use the word “Dell” in the user name: i.e. richardatdell,
Kodak clearly identifies the people that are on twitter via a visual branding profile image
7. Not determining your use case and strategy for Twitter.
Many marketers make the rookie mistake of setting up an account on Twitter and not
clearly defining how it will be used. Just because you are “on Twitter” does not mean you
are using it in the highest and most valuable way. There are multitudes of ways that Twitter
can be used to help obtain marketing and branding objectives.
In fact your company might need several different Twitter accounts that align with the
target market and desired communication/business outcome. Remember that Twitter is a
communication channel; and that it can be used in a variety of ways. The low hanging fruit
that most companies are using it for is customer support or brand and reputation
management. This far from the only way that Twitter can be used.
Tip: Your business might need several channels on Twitter. As an example Ford has 6
different Twitter accounts. Each account serves a specific purpose as a communication
channel to address different market segments.
FordTrucks FordDriveOne FordDriveGreen FordCustService FordMustang FordRacing
Here are just a few examples of how you might want to consider using Twitter: Customer
support and service, brand reputation management, polling and product feedback
mechanism, lead generation, news distribution, brand awareness and establishment,
product promotion and launch, humanizing of a brand, PR are but a few of the many use
cases that Twitter can be used for. So, how will you be using Twitter intelligently to meet
your business goals?
About the Author: Rodney Rumford has 21 years of
experience in helping brands engage online and is the
Author of the Book: “Twitter as a Business Tool”
which you can find at www.twitterbusinessbook.com
He is the founder of www.GravitySummit.com You
can follow him on Twitter at