Break Those Annoying Twitter Habits

Whether or not you're new to Twitter, there might still be some things you should/shouldn't do on Twitter about which you're not aware. I'm not talking about what DMs are vs. @ replies - there are tons of guides on the internet on Twitter basics and that's not what this post is about.

This is a short list of Twitter habits that could cost you followers or, at the very least, annoy them and give them reason to unfollow you. I speak to this both from a Twitter user and consumer POV, as well as someone whose job it is to run businesses' twitter accounts. You may or may not agree, you might even have some of your own peeves so feel free to share in comments!

1) Using Twitter to Have a Private Conversation

Twitter is excellent for having conversations your followers/customers because of its ease of use and it provides great, easy ways to engage your customers/followers - use it as an informal poll, directly respond to a query and just talk TO your followers, not at them. Twitter is a great medium through which you can build rapport with people! That said, private conversations between you and a friend where you're scheduling lunch or an outting shouldn't always be part of your followers' timelines.

Ask yourself the following and answer honestly: Does your conversation with your friend/s really matter to the other people who follow you? Does it benefit anyone else to read it too? Is it a topic in which you welcome others to participate? If you answered no to any of these questions then odds are, it's best to keep that conversation between you and the other person.

Nobody cares what time and where you and @yourbff are going to get dinner tonight, and sure you could argue that we don't have to follow both of you but we'd like to keep doing so. So if you have to use Twitter to communicate, please use Direct Messages. Odds are, if you're meeting up with someone, you have their phone number so call or text would be even better. And, really, do you want the rest of the world to know exactly where you'll be at 6:30pm tonight?

While we're at it...

2) Inane Responses To Tweets

You know the ones I'm talking about.

"@Twitterperson1 - LOL! STFU! RT @Twitterperson2 oh @Twitterperson1 why you so cray crayl?"

Again, we really don't need to be privy to you and your friends' inside jokes, least of all when there's no point of reference for the rest of us. If we wanted to, we'd follow both of you and we'd see everything with a simple @ response from either of you and maybe even join in!

Keep it relevant.

3) Exceeding 140 Characters

I'm referring, particularly, to tweets that are sent from a user's Facebook page that's linked to their Twitter account. If it's a short status, great, no big deal because everything will fit. But unless the person pays attention to the characters entered, most of the tweets end up looking like th.. fb.me/linkyouhavetoclick. Same goes for those Lockrz expanders or Twitlonger. It doesn't look nice, it really awkward to read and it looks like you didn't give it any thought.

As a user or a customer, unless it's riveting or a topic I am dying to find out more about, I probably won't click through.  If you can't stay within the confines of 140 characters, there's always Tumblr or Facebook.

Sure, Twitter recently announced expanded tweets and while that's great, it's not the case with any apps or sites that aren't Twitter based. So you have to use Twitter.com or its mobile sites or Twitter apps. There are other specifics that you can see here. But when in doubt, unlink your accounts, post the full status where it won't get cut off, and link to it from Twitter.

4) Tweet After Tweet After Tweet and, oh look, Another Tweet.

If your message doesn't fit in the constraints of one, maybe two tweets, it's time to consider a blog. Nothing makes people unfollow faster than a rant that requires 10 or more tweets back to back. This floods people's timelines and doesn't accomplish anything except losing followers or, worse still, being reported for spam.

This is what blogs are for. Go ahead and rant there and then link to your rant on Twitter.

"But I want to make sure I'm heard!" you cry.

Sorry, you won't be heard as soon as someone mutes you or unfollows so take your chances with a blog - the followers who truly care will click through.

All Caps All The Time

This one should go without saying but I thought I'd throw it in for good measure. Just like how it is with email or text messages or comic book speech bubbles, all caps = yelling. You might be excited about something or really really angry, so if that rare, all-caps tweet happens, well, it happens! We can all relate and I've been guilty of those a lot too. But if you're a business or you're trying to sell people on something and all your tweets are nothing but all-caps and exclamation points, you will be tuned out and/or unfollowed or blocked or reported for spam.

Hashtagging Every Word

This also applies to Instagram - hashtag one, maybe two words but every single one makes it hard to read and #gets #really #super #annoying #and #old #very #quickly.

Asking Every Famous Person You Follow to Retweet

You have a great event coming up, maybe it's something that's charitable, and you want people to know about it. You think, "oh! That celebrity I follow has hundreds and thousands of followers, they could help spread the word!" and you start on this avalanche of tweets that say "@famousperson, please RT this event and link because it's awesome!" and you send that same tweet to every last celebrity you can think of.

Ok, that's spam.

Be effective with your tweets. This doesn't mean sending out 100 tweets to people who don't know you in the hopes that two or three make it through. Lean on the support of the people who already follow you and ask them to help! I'm not saying that it's a total waste of time to contact celebrities, there's a small possibility your efforts prove fruitful if the person you're reaching out to either has some involvement in that charity (in which case you should probably tag the charity too) or if they also follow you and have an interest in what you do. Then sure, send them a friendly message and ask (politely) that they spread the word.

But your followers are a part of your community and they want to help so take them up on it. Their retweets will be just as effective as a celebrity's, if not more so. And I don't know about you but when I see someone famous retweeting a desperate plea from someone, I disregard it and keep scrolling.

/list

Now, I know these things happen. I've sent a Facebook status tweet a time or two, I've even scheduled lunches - we all have. It's not bad when it's once in a while but when you catch yourself constantly doing those things and that's the majority of what you tweet, it's time to take a step back to reassess what you're doing and how you're doing it. Especially if you're a business on Twitter.

There's probably a person in your city who works with Twitter on a professional level (like me*) who can help you figure out best practices so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Happy tweeting!

*shameless plug!!