Do You Make These Ten Common Twitter Mistakes?

Here are ten common Twitter mistakes.

Many people do not:

1) Leave 24 characters blank when desiring a retweet. If you want people to retweet your brillance, leave at least 24 characters blank, so that no editing is needed. An edit decreases your chance of a retweet by at least 80—90%.

2) Realize that using a Twitter name as the first word of a tweet limits the reach of that Tweet. Many people do not realize that when a name is used as the first word of a tweet, it will only go to your followers and the named persons followers. It will not go to everyone.

3) Utilize URL’s for extra power. Many URL’s are the name of a person, product or thing, so why not use the URL as the name in your tweet. This saves you characters and provides an instant link. i.e. “Have you registered for the ?”

4) Use the http:// preface in a URL reference. To make the URL reference instantly clickable, you must use the http:// preface. A www. will not make a url clickable in Twitter.

5) Utilize the power of the hashtag. Many people do not realize that to create a hashtag, you simply add a # sign in front of a word—any word. For example, a simple way to follow the Egypt crisis is to click the hashtag #Egypt or #jan25 and read the tweet timeline. Everyone who uses that particular hashtag will appear in the timeline. The hashtag is a powerful tool. A fun use that recently came into being is the sarcastic or comical hashtag. For instance: #arentyougladyourereadingthisblog

6) Utilize the power of Twitter lists. Twitter has always been fun and helpful. But it becomes a marketing force when you follow lists that have an affinity to your business, products, and thoughts. The business power of Twitter is not just a huge number of followers, it is a huge number of followers with affinity to what you have to offer. Simply find a list and follow all of its followers. You can find the lists following you by clicking lists on your Twitter home page. Chances are the lists following you are affinity groups. Follow them.

7) Utilize the power of the tab on your profile page: “Who To Follow.” This tab provides Twitter accounts suggested for you based on who you follow and more, it lets you browse interests and find friends. It is a powerful tool.

8) Realize that utilizing a third party Tweet addition program such as Tweetadder will get you banned from Twitter. Twitter expressly states that anyone utilizing these “fast” follow or aggregated follow and unfollow tools will be banned.

9) Talk about their “real” life. Twitter is a SOCIAL network. It was first designed to say what you were doing at that moment. Endless quotes, platitudes and Bible verses will eventually undermine your Twitter power and your ability to be heard. People will simply turn you off. They may not unfollow you, they will simply take you out of their feeds. Please remember, Twitter only provides what you give it. Be circumspect and wise, but talk about “real life” stuff at least 30-50% of the time.

10) Realize that overreaction, constant #FAIL hashtags, and predominately negative Tweets forms other’s perception of you. Be careful not to overreact. A restaurant manager once told me that he can provide a customer 50 great dining experiences and there is never a Tweet, but if the 51st experience is bad, they instantly Tweet that experience to the world. People like positive people. Tweeters like positive Tweeters! We get more than enough negative in the mainstream media. Lighten up on Twitter. My favorite Tweeters are the ones who make me laugh out loud every day. Yes, that would be you @SheilaWalsh and @liteNup ! Thanks for the fun. We need it!


What other mistakes are commonly made on Twitter?

What did I miss?

62 thoughts on “Do You Make These Ten Common Twitter Mistakes?

  1. Can I second the “all day long” thing? I find it annoying to the extreme when people repeat themselves endlessly in order to “catch the evening/early morning/lunchtime/whenever crowds”. If there was a tool to remove duplicate posts I would use it in a heartbeat.

    Maybe I’m a quaint old fashioned twitter user but I do go back to the last time I left off reading.

  2. Randy,
    A very useful Twitter etiquette list – however my understanding of the limitation in using @randyelrod (say) at the start of a tweet would be that such a tweet would only appear on the timelines of those following Randy Elrod and not the tweeter’s followers unless they were also followers of Randy Elrod.

    Ergo, if you would like your followers to see the conversation then you must either leave a space or add some other comment / intro at the start of your tweet ahead of the @.

    This is particularly pertinent if your purpose is to suggest to your followers that they may wish to follow @randyelrod (naturally) because otherwise they will not get to see the message at all unless of course they are already following in which case the message is fruitless anyway.

    Accordingly if you are creating an #FF list (say) make sure that the #FF or some other opening message appears at the start and not the end of the tweet.


  3. I think your point about “real life” is an important one. Sometimes I feel like I’m not witty, interesting enough to tweet about me, and to be honest it is often quicker to find other people’s tweets of quotations, Bible verses, etc. that are MUCH more interesting.

    Also, doesn’t the adage about leaving 24 characters to be retweeted depend on the length of your Twitter name?

  4. Thanks so much for the tips! I found you via Metropolitan Mama. I am pretty new to Twitter {again} so I have been trying to figure out how to maximize this social network.

    I was wondering if you could help me with something. I notice when people at links, like for example to their personal blogs, the url is significantly shorter. How can I do this so I can write a little blurb about the url before it without the url itself taking all of my characters?

    Your help is MOST appreciated!!

  5. Great insights here! I try to live by the Twitter Golden Rule:
    Tweet others as you would like to be tweeted.


    Definitely passing this one on. Thank you!


  6. That was a great list of information. Thanks for posting, Randy.

    While my influence on Twitter is probably considered limited in some circles, I enjoy my casual Twitter style. I think of Twitter mainly as connecting with a group of friends. Marketing is more of a side effect rather than a goal. Otherwise, I’d feel a little icky, like throwing a party for my best friends and then pitching them on a product or service. Not cool.

    The bit about putting someones name first was great. Also good to know about limiting tweets to 124 characters if you want to leave folks room to Retweet it. Great stuff.

    Thanks to everybody for sharing their thoughts.

    1. @Patrick Ray, Thanks, Patrick. Yes, I understand about the small group of friends and how that can be icky.

      I started my Twitter and Facebook lives at the outset as business tools. Since I started at the beginning of the Bell curve, my followers bcame the size of a small city, thus enabling me to market much as though I’m a local businessman—except that it is a glocal sphere.

      The social aspect has always been secondary. Important but secondary.

  7. If someone tweets your blog post and you thank them publically, it’s only smart to include the link to the post.

    If its good enough to publish, and good enough that others tweet it, there’s nothing at all arrogant about you RT your own link.


  8. Thank you for helping us harness what you have learned through obviously proven and tried methods.

  9. If the person adds some comment of value to the retweet, that’s certainly worth retweeting, but I see a lot of people simply retweeting an unedited retweet of themselves, which in essence is repeating yourself and adding “Look at me, so and so thought what I had to say was worthwhile!”

    1. @Sarah Hubbell, Sarah,

      I suppose I think that retweeting an exact tweet about me, my product or an affinity of mine is perfectly acceptable if the Tweeter that mentioned it only has a few followers or a radically different follower base than mine. To me, It is much like the “Praise” pages in a book. The author of the book or the publisher that owns it, is the one that “RT’s” the praise or recommendations.

      1. @Randy Elrod, Aha! And here’s where the real debate begins. That is shameless self-promotion. There’s a time and a place and a method for promoting one’s work on Twitter, but I’d argue that RT’ing a RT is not the way to do it. Chris Brogan has a great piece of advice that I sometimes try to follow: Spend the first fifteen minutes of your time on twitter (or 15 tweets) promoting other people before you do any self-promotion at all. I think that can include engaging in what others are saying by reply, so you aren’t flooding everyone’s feed with too many tweets. Humility and generosity in social media are not only Christ-like, they are attractive and will grow your influence.

  10. This is a great list. I didn’t know that putting the username at the beginning was a limiting factor. Now I do.

    I also think it’s incredible how Twitter has developed it’s own rules and culture. I mean, no one has really written the definitive work on twitter etiquette, but the twitter community, for the most part, has adopted some social norms. There are right and wrong ways to use Twitter. It’s kind of a grassroots effort. I love new technology, yet it’s even more interesting to me to see the types of culture that develops around a technological advancement.

  11. Excellent ideas on how to use twitter.

    Leaving characters for retweets and a good dose of personal daily information are reminders of items I should work better. Also, I completely agree that ee should be careful about overreaction and negativeness.

    Thanks for keeping it clear, simple and positive.

  12. Great post. I’m guilty of arrogant retweeting. It just never occurred to me. :) I henceforth repent.

    And I had no idea that JustUnfollow would get me banned from Twitter. I feel so clueless. So is there an easy way to unfollow unfollowers on the Twitter website?

  13. Mistakes are relative in the world of Twitter, but I find that people who RT too much during the day about mundane and “small group” things is annoying. Also if anyone posts something to their blog and they tweet about it all day long to drive traffic.

    Or when people in a certain Twitter clique or group retweet each other all day long. Then it becomes necessary to really only follow one of them because seeing the same thing from multiple people is not ideal.

    Or when I’m being “followed”, but not really because I haven’t engaged in conversation, when Twitter is a two way social street.

    Are they mistakes? Perhaps not, but they are wildly annoying.

  14. Thanks for the reminders and helpful hints. It’s so easy to get stuck in a social media rut!

  15. Wait, you can take someone out of your feed without unfollowing them? Can you tell me how? And I promise not to take you out of my feed. ;)

    1. @deb, Ha!! Hootsuite allows you to add lists based on twitter lists, hashtags, etc. So technically you are not takinf them out of your feed, just choosing which “lists” to follow.

      Does that make sense?

  16. Jason, I agree that it can come across as arrogant of you if the topic of the RT is giving you props, but I don’t see anything wrong with retweeting the RT if they were saying something nice about a friend of yours or a client of yours that you wanted your followers to hear as well.


    Also, I love how Randy always sends a personal DM thank you when you RT. I think that’s great etiquette as well.

    1. @Daniel C White, the RT for the purpose of self props is what I’m referring to in my comment. If all you say is “thanks for the RT” and copy nothing but the fact he RT’d you, it comes off as arrogant to me. If they add something to the conversation other than the pure RT, it’s different to me. Sorry that apparently I didn’t make that clear enough. Basically, RT to promote self = rings hollow RT to promote someone else = no problem with me.

    1. @Sarah Hubbell, Hmmm. I think I understand, but, Sarah, what if the person that RT’s you says something very important, but only has 15 followers, and you have 1000 followers and you want then to know what was said?

  17. This is just personal preference but I think retweeting when other people retweet you is a mistake to me. It just comes off to me as arrogant to RT it and then tag with “thanks for retweeting me!” in the public timeline. If someone RTs me, I DM them to say thank you. Just seems like proper etiquette to me.

Comments are closed.