Twitter is an excellent medium for building brand, getting news out about your products or services, and making valuable business contacts. Yet in the rush to get results from their time investment in Twitter, most business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers make three basic mistakes that will lose followers in no time:

They become inadvertent spammers. It may seem like a great idea to send tweets frequently, or to send direct messages to get more attention. Unfortunately, most Twitter users object to both these methods, and will unfollow or worse, block you. Receiving a string of tweets about a product or service is like being forced to watch commercials all day, and direct messages should not be used for sales pitches at all; only use DMs for personal communications, such as to answer a question from a customer about the product they’ve bought.

They fail to give their followers anything. People follow businesses on Twitter because they’re interested in the product. They are looking for bargains, insider tips, giveaways and useful news. Businesses that fail to give anything of interest to their customers are not worth following in the long term, so find ways to be a genuine giver on Twitter. This could mean anything from arranging a contest to benefit a charity, to simply giving the very best customer service in your field via Twitter (responding within an hour impresses customers; responding within a minute, even just to say you received the tweet, will win friends), to posting a Twitter-only link to a really good discount at a random time every weekday.

They over-automate. Twitter users are pretty good at spotting when there’s no real person behind the @ sign. The over-use of automated recurring tweets has led Twitter to crack down on the services that provide such features, and Twitter users have become wise to practices such as using bots to auto-follow anyone who mentions a keyword in a tweet. The time and money that you’d spend on setting up automated Twitter systems would be better spent by being authentically there: answer a question, post a link, or crack a (clean) joke. You’ll do more to boost your business in the long run by being authentic than by being everywhere.

About the Author

Victoria Knight works with money market rates to take your wealth to the next level.

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