Tweetin' ain't easy! Twitter marketing isn't a walk in the park like some may think, and it's getting tougher every day. There are over 300 Million monthly active users (as of 3rd quarter 2015) and billions of tweets sent out into the Twitterverse to compete against. It's very easy to get lost in the shuffle and have your tweets (and profile) go unnoticed. If you aren't achieving the results you want with your Twitter marketing efforts, it's probably due to at least one of these twelve reasons:
1) You Have A Poor Profile
Let's start right off with a major factor: inferior profiles. If you have an Egg (no picture) or a very low resolution image is your avatar, then you're tweets will probably be ignored. Using a spammy or generic username? Not recommended. And if your profile is empty that's a major problem. No website, no location, no keywords, no hashtags, no header, and no background image equates to no twitter love for you. If a user can't find or identify you on social media, how can you market effectively? A strong and optimized profile for both desktop and mobile users is an absolute necessity. This will also help with people searching for you on Twitter, Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
2) Incorrect Frequency Or Timing of Tweets
Perhaps you are tweeting too frequently. Depending on your follower base that could mean you're tweeting too many times per hour or day. Smaller accounts might want to start with 3-4 tweets per day and larger accounts 6-12+ per day, and adjust as needed. Those are just very general guidelines but you get the idea. Don't overwhelm your followers with too many tweets but make sure you tweet consistently. If you're tweeting too infrequently (less once per day or week depending on your following) it might look like you are disconnected or consider Twitter (and your followers) as a low priority. Also take into account the timing of your tweets. Obviously you need to determine the time zones of your audience and tweet during optimal business or entertainment time slots, depending on your brand. You may need to schedule your tweets with services like Hootsuite to optimize your results. Remember that timing is everything!
3) Not Using Pictures, Vines, Videos, Slideshares, Etc.
People are much more inclined to view tweets, click on links, and share your tweets if there is a visual component. Dozens of studies have been done by HubSpot, Kissmetrics, Dan Zarrella, and many more to confirm this. And let's face it, people have short attention spans and don't like to read more than they have to. That's partly why Twitter has been so successful in the first place! I know it's been my experience throughout my 7 years of tweeting for business. Remember, a picture (or YouTube video, GIF, Vine) is worth a thousand words.
4) Using Too Many Or Too Few Hashtags
Hashtags aren't a requirement for all businesses but they can certainly help. Cultivating your own unique hashtag can be a strong branding move... as long as it doesn't backfire. Remember that you can't "own" a hashtag and that anyone could use your unique hashtag (and anything else they want to) in their own tweets. Using an already reputable hashtag or two can help get your tweets noticed by peers, prospects, or customers. If you don't use hashtags you could be missing out on potential social media followers, interaction, and referral traffic to your website. If you use too many hashtags, or the wrong ones, you'll end up losing followers, getting muted, or just ignored.
5) Low Quality Followers
It's not always about the quantity of your followers, but also the quality. If most of your followers have been inactive since 2010, you're really just tweeting into an abyss. If your followers primarily consist of "auto-followback" accounts, spam accounts, or bots... congratulations you might as well not have any followers. You want to connect with verified accounts, influencers, industry peers, and qualified prospects... not worthless junk.
6) Low Quantity Of Followers Or Poor Follower Ratio
While quality is king, quantity is still important. Some people will not pay much attention to your account if you have under a certain number of followers. But just as importantly, Twitter and Twitter users place a lot of importance on your ratio of Following : Followers. If you're following significantly more social media accounts compared to the number following you, it usually reflects negatively on you. For many it's due to the all of the churn accounts, but for others it's just basic psychology. If you're actually "popular" or worth following then you shouldn't need to follow as many people back. Whether it's an active choice or just a setting on Twitter apps, people are less likely to follow you if you have a small following or a bad ratio. Depending on your business you should probably think big.
7) Not Enough Interaction With Others
If your Twitter account is just blasting your usual tweets again and again you won't be making as many new connections or getting the attention of new potential followers. At least from time to time it's good to Re-Tweet, ask a question, respond to commentaries, thank a follower, or even take a poll. Get involved in Twitter chats and make some lists. Help out your followers in need.
8) Too Much Interaction With Others
Usually interacting with others is a positive thing but if used incorrectly or too often it will push away your Twitter followers. If you are interacting with every follower you have and tweeting 50+ times per day that is usually going to be detrimental. Some personal interaction should be done directly (if not through Direct Message then through another social media channel or via contact form / email). Everybody can see every interaction you are making and if it does not apply to them in any way they will be less inclined to continue following your tweets. An example of this is a corporation that uses Twitter primarily for customer service. There is nothing wrong with that at all and it can certainly add value to the overall brand. But when I see 200 tweets a day saying "@_______ We're so sorry to hear about that problem, please call our Customer Service line at _________ or Direct Message us" it clogs up the newsfeed and also shows how many problems customers are having with the company.
9) Joined on 2013 or No Date Listed
This really only shows up with desktop users but people take it into account sometimes and make judgements based on it. If your account says "Joined On ____ 2013" or doesn't include a date (Joined 2014 or later), it shows you're a Twitter newbie. And for marketing, sales, or technology companies especially that can be a loss in credibility. Unless of course it's a new company that was built in the last couple of years. This is probably the least significant reason on the list but I know I personally am not following any "social media experts" or "marketing gurus" that just started using Twitter last year.
10) Using Too Many Shortened URL's
Shortening URL's with Bit.ly, Hootsuite, Google, HubSpot, SocialOomph, and many others are great for getting advanced analytics on your tweets. These services also do a great job monitoring the URL's to make sure the shortened URL isn't spam, irrelevant content, or leading to a malicious site. But a lot of people, myself included, do not like clicking on these shortened URL's because you just don't know where they're going to take you. You can spend extra time figuring this out in a safe way if you're really worried about it... or just not click the link. I usually choose the latter unless it's from a very reputable source I've frequented before. For users unfamiliar with URL shorteners or your brand, they may shy away from your tweets and links.
11) You Send Automatic Direct Messages Or Welcome Tweets
Some people don't even think about their Twitter Direct Message Inbox because of all the spam and automatically sent messages. At one point I think I went over a year without even checking it once. With various Twitter apps and programs you can set up your account to message new followers automatically or tweet at them with a generic message. Usually this causes the human element to decrease and the spam experience to increase. Some people may like the auto-messages or welcome tweets, most people don't care or notice, but others will go out of their way to unfollow you after encountering these tactics. I'm not saying they don't work or that there is no place for them, just that it will usually cause you to lose some Twitter followers. If you're thinking of using these techniques, it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons.
12) Your Content Isn't Exceptional & Unique
This is absolutely crucial. Your tweets need to be unique, varied, attention-grabbing, and actionable. Let's face it, if your tweets aren't something interesting and different, they'll get lost in shuffle with millions of other tweets. Are your tweets worth interacting with? Do they provide value of any kind? Why would anyone want to follow you or view your tweets? If you can't answer these questions positively and confidently then you have some major improvements to make.
Also Remember To Stay Secure
Don't forget to make sure that you properly secure your Twitter account and personal online data! Use a strong password, change it consistently, and enable 2 Step Verification for logins on new browsers and devices. You don't want your followers to lose your tweets, or see inappropriate ones, if your account gets hacked!
I hope these tips help you optimize your Twitter marketing and reduce the chances that your account gets muted, unfollowed, or blocked. Implement a few of these changes, monitor the results, make a few adjustments, and enjoy better results.
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Michael J. Schiemer of Schiemer Consulting
Bootstrap Business: Money - Marketing - Motivation
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