In just a few years Twitter has become the go-to method of connecting with customers and potential clients, but you know that already, right? A new study of 200 executives by LiveFyre, a company specializing in social engagement and curation, found that 93% of respondents turned to Twitter when gathering real-time social activity—more than any other social platform. We all make mistakes from time to time, but you don’t want to make a wrong step with this real-time platform. Here are 14 practices that could be devastating to your Twitter reputation.
1. Fake a Twitter hack. Getting your account hacked is bad enough because people might wonder whether or not you can keep their information safe. However, faking a hack, as Chipotle recently did in a 20th Anniversary PR stunt, can leave a worse impression—that you have poor taste and judgement.
2. Talking politics. A lot of businesses and CEOs have taken heat for expressing political opinions. Unless people are following you for your opinion on a wide variety of topics, be measured in your statements.
3. Deleting a comment instead of engaging. If you find yourself getting in a heated discussion or tweet something you regret, don’t try to make it disappear by deleting your tweet. Instead, confront the issue and engage in conversation and express the remorse you may be feeling.
4. Not engaging at all. If you are a business and you have a Twitter account, and you request website visitors to follow you with those buttons on your site, make sure you’re actually corresponding and tweeting! People follow because they want information, give it to them.
5. Tweet only when you want something. It’s understandable that having direct access to customers provides a tempting proposition. However, this power should not be abused, but respected. It’s okay to ask for things, but it should be balanced.
6. Posting inappropriate pics. This sounds like a no-brainer, but apparently some people need a quick reminder. Inappropriate pictures can range from party shots to employees doing bad things. Don’t do it.
7. Tweet negative comments about co-workers. Your followers don’t need to know about internal drama. Worse, expressing rifts in a public forum shows a lack of consideration for your co-workers and the situation.
8. Fail to disclose a paid endorsement. Back in 2009 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established guidelines that requires bloggers, celebrities and “word-of-mouth” marketers from endorsing products or services for pay without disclosure. So aside from it being illegal, if it ever did come out that you were getting paid it would be a PR nightmare.
9. Tweet before verifying. News spreads lightening fast on social media and it’s easy to get caught up with the crowd. More than ever it’s important to slow down and verify the information before retweeting. How many celebrities need to #RIP and then come back to life before we get the message?
10. Spam with DM. Just the other day I started following a new professional and within 24 hours I had a direct message to purchase their product. To be honest I follow people because I’m interested in their message, but it’s never a good idea to push a sale like this before extending a “hello.” Twitter’s an amazing platform to make connections, so make one before selling.
11. Tweet from the wrong account. A lot of folks on Twitter have more than one account, and third-party tools have made it really simple to swap between them. Make sure you’re on the right account before you tweet your personal thoughts or opinions.
12. Inconsistently tweet. There’s a lot of disagreement about tweeting too much or too little. One thing you should not do is tweet 10 times in a day and then disappear for a week, then tweet twice and then disappear for two weeks, and then tweet just once. Consistency is the key to staying engaged.
13. Not shorten your URLs. You only have 140 precious characters. Don’t waste them on a long URL when they could be dramatically shorter; offering you the opportunity to add context to the link. If the majority of tweets you’re sending are only links you’re wasting a huge opportunity to connect with your followers.
14. Capitalize or sell products from tragedy. A lot of terrible things happen in this world and when they do millions turn to Twitter to keep informed. It’s really bad form to spin the tragedy or to use a trending hashtag for personal gain. Be a good social media citizen and show respect.