How NOT to win friends and influence people on Twitter

Heather Townsend
The Excedia Group
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Over the past few months I have noticed some over eager business owners new to Twitter making credibility damaging mistakes. So, I thought I would highlight some of these errors and explain why they are a turn off to people and your potential clients 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. For example, adding a sneaky #apprentice during the TV programme for your new blog on tax regulations... 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, as this builds trust. 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. I like many other business owners don’t want to be that writer...

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 your practice, 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 my main driver of traffic to my blogs. 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. They are generally not interested in a Twitter stream full of accounting speak or financial related articles. 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 your business 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 mates in a pub all evening? 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 new clients, so many people fall into the trap and start selling. It may only be pushing people to read your latest blog, but Twitter is an opt-in medium. People (much like clients!) 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. What happened to the small talk? Chat? Rapport building? 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 this list?


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06th Jan 2011 11:46

It's a great list Heather

 I've seen many accountants come onto twitter and  do 3,4 and 5. Then when they don't get any business after a few weeks they stop altogether. 

Others I've seen recently:

Filling a tweet with hashtags including for their firm's name - mistakenly assuming people will be searching for them

Giving regular updates on the food consumption - as that what they thought you  were supposed to do on twitter? Er NO. It's a complete turnoff.

Failing to tweet at all or only occasionally. You win no friends or followers.

Posting repeated reminders of the 31 Jan deadline and how they can help - making the false assumption that their followers need an accountant and/or have yet to sort out their tax return - or hoping beyond hope that strangers will be searching for random accountants anywhere in the UK to help them at the last minute.


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By maxxy
06th Jan 2011 22:25

One more ... pet hate of mine

I heard no 1 referred to as "Hash tag rape" the other day!

My absolute all time pet hate is where low value blogs are linked to twitter just churning out repetitive one way streams of blurb.  People then put Twitter badges on their web sites and blogs to draw attention to this duplication.

Interesting to see an article today talking about the decline in email spam and the increase in social media spam



-- Twitter:@maxinemaxxy

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16th Jan 2011 16:46

Twitter turn off

For me the biggest annoyance on Twitter is the person who logs in and then spends the next 30 minutes retweeting every tweet they have received since they last logged in.  You get a stream filled with 30 or 40 tweets from the same person talking nonsense.

The other one for me is the person who just tweets famous quotes all day long. 


-- Credit Management Consultants and UK Commercial Debt Collection

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24th Jan 2011 16:22

using twitter for selling

many years ago, I was persuaded to attempt to sell Life insurance.

They used all these techniques.

It is an excellent way to lose freinds.

I escaped having done less than permanent damage, but those few months turned out to have been very

valuable - as I was better able to defend myself against this sort of stuff thereafter.


C.L. Gorwyn.

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