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I’ve just finished another Tweet Chat where everyone complained about certain Twitter practices.
Here — see for yourself –
? Chaim Shapiro (@ChaimShapiro) February 4, 2016
? Husamettin Erciyes (@husamerciyes) January 21, 2016
? Danielle Speciale (@DeeSpeciale) October 8, 2015
But it isn’t just automated DMs (Direct Messages), there is a right way to do automation and a wrong way. Believe me when I tell you that I know the difference because I have tried all kinds of automation with mixed results.
Things I’ve Automated That Worked Well
RSS Feeds: If there are folks that you follow whose content you love and want to share, then, by all means you can automate their RSS Feed. Don’t go crazy, mix it up over time. There are tools like HootSuite and SocialOomph that will automatically publish tweets from new RSS feeds. I actually like that. There are also tools like Co-Schedule that will bring in RSS feeds, but you choose the ones you want to share manually. Buffer offers a really nice in-between solution. They pull in the feeds and you can manually write the post and put it in a queue.
Quotes and Images: You can lump this into the category of “evergreen” content. These are things you can easily put into a queue to share on certain days or certain times of the day.
#FF (Follow Friday):? I’m always running into awesome people and when I do, I create a single #FF post that lists their Twitter ID and WHY I think you should follow them.
Time-sensitive reminders and promotions: If I’m participating in a webinar or Tweet Chat or live event of some sort and I am certain of the date and time — then I schedule this kind of update.
3 Things You Should STOP Doing Immediately
I know that you just can’t wait to see what the top 3 annoying Twitter habits are — well here we go!
STOP: Thanking followers
You don’t need to thank anyone who followed you. I know you’re glad I followed you. I’m thankful that you followed me. Let’s skip this step and get on to actually engaging and getting to really know each other. Even worse is automating “thank you ” messages either as “mentions” or as “direct messages”.
WHY: Your “thank you” tweets and direct messages are cluttering up three critical columns of any Twitter tool. Let me explain.
- Direct Messages are like an email. They are reserved for communicating more private information such as your email address, phone number, mailing address or any information that will move the connection you are trying to make forward.
- Mentions are alerts. ?The mention column is designed to alert you when someone mentions you or retweets you or shares a link. Mentions are designed to be an opportunity for you to ask a question or get into a conversation with someone. When you clutter it with automated messages, it causes the person you’re trying to reach to IGNORE you or an important question or message will fall through the cracks because it’s wedged between stupid meaningless automated “thank you” messages and selfish pushes to Facebook pages or landing pages that are designed to sell something instead of getting to know someone.
- Notifications are errr Notifications. This is a summary of what’s been happening with your Twitter account; who followed you, who retweeted, who liked, etc. Again, these are opportunities to get into a conversation, so your basic “Thank You” clutters up space and doesn’t contribute to our building a relationship.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
- Turn off all automatic “thank you” messages either in direct message or in the “mentions” column.
- Look for an engagement opportunity. Pick a time during the day when you review who followed you. Click on their feed and see what they are talking about. If you see an opportunity to ask a real question or jump into a conversation – then take it. If not, then let it go for the day. Maybe you’ll see something later.
- Create Twitter lists. When someone follows you, instead of thanking them, put them inside of a twitter list. This is a much more fun “Notification” to receive. It tells your follower that you think they are important enough to save and watch. Here’s a sneaky tip – give your Twitter lists sexy names. For example; “Marketing Mavens” – if I saw that you put me on that list, I would feel honored. Another benefit is that it allows you to group people either by their expertise or by conversations you would like to be engaged in. This makes it super easy to talk to them, ask questions and get to know them better.
STOP: Sending me to Facebook, LinkedIn, Landing Pages on “First Tweet”
Another off-putting practice I see is people sending me messages and mentions to visit them on Facebook or LinkedIn or to download some guide or something.
WHY: Twitter is a reading, research and engagement platform. Folks jump onto Twitter to see the latest news, research articles on specific topics via hashtags or participate in events like Tweet Chats or to engage with folks at a live event with an event hashtag. When you
invite push people to a profile or landing page as soon as they follow you,?it interrupts the flow that your audience is in when they are on Twitter.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
- Make me smile: Instead of sending me to your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or some kind of a sales page, send me something that reveals a little something about who you are. You can send me a picture of you and your dog, a silly gif picture of a typing kitten or anything that will have me get to know you without taking me away from Twitter.
- Ask for advice, input or insight: I’ve played around with asking random questions like “What’s your favorite rock song” but even that is quickly identified as automated and impersonal. Look, you followed me for a reason, I give marketing advice. If you have a marketing question, ask it! The same holds true for other folks you follow or who follow you, look for common ground, ask a question, the person you are engaging with will be happy to help.
- Shareapicture of yourself or a youtube video with a fun caption or tweet. Maybe you think that sending folks to Facebook will have them get to know you better, send me a fun picture instead. You can simply snap a selfie with your phone and tweet it, or maybe you created a fun video – share it. Let us get to know you in the Tweet.
STOP: Hijacking Hashtags
This is the practice of finding hashtags with a lot of traction and then hijacking them to post your irrelevant content or links to a sales page or request for donations or to get on your soapbox about something.
WHY: Hashtags are Twitters way of making it easy for people to follow a conversation. They are very often used for real time LIVE events like Tweet Chats or conference events. These are real conversations happening in real time. When you hijack these hashtags for irrelevant content, you are pissing people off and they will block you. Hashtags are also used for fun such as #EpicFail or #Funny and, again, when you disrupt that flow with your irrelevant content, it’s simply annoying.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
- Find the right hashtag: There are enough hashtags for every situation, circumstance and event. Using a good and relevant hashtag is an excellent strategy and will help your content gain traction and help you get new relevant followers. To find the best hashtags try Hashtagify.me or RiteTag.
- Use less than three hashtags: Don’t overdo the hashtag thing. After all, leave some room for a message. Choose no more than three hashtags that are relevant to a specific topic or audience.
- Keep them short, simple and informative: Remember to use capital letters between words?to avoid this common mistake:?#NowThatcherIsDead was misconstrued to read?#NowThatCherIsDead.
There’s a hashtag out there called #TwitterPeeves, I’ve checked it out and it seems that these are the top annoyances for most people. I’ve seen people list things like:
- Posting food pictures
- Bragging on vacation
- Flurries of Tweets in short amounts of time
- Using abbreviations
- Hashtagging every word along with hashtagging irrelevant words like #A
- Typos and general grammatical errors
There are more, but honestly out of all the peeves I hear, the three I’ve outlined here are the ones I hear Twitter pros complain the most about.
I’m curious, what are YOUR #TwitterPeeves, and how do you avoid them?