Oh James Franco. Twitter’s own “one hit wonder.” Did you go check out his Twitter profile? Yeah, there isn’t one anymore. Let’s take it back to the basics, shall we?
For anyone who was following James Franco when he started a twitter account (guilty!) you probably noticed, VERY QUICKLY, how terrible he was at it. I mean, REALLY terrible. I think we can all learn a few lessons from him, and other celebrities. A lot of the following isn’t attributed to James Franco because, simply put, he didn’t last very long and wasn’t engaging enough to make the majority of these mistakes; Twitter is all about engaging, sharing and listening.
If you’re interested in failing at Twitter, take the advice below.
If not, check all these behaviors at the door.
How to #FAIL at Twitter:
1. Never share anything worthwhile
James shared links… alot. You probably were accustomed to seeing these before he quit Twitter:
The reason I stopped following him is because he never said anything of value. Sure, he shared stuff about himself, but people aren’t following you to only hear about your life. They’re most likely interested in you because you share a common interest or fulfill something they’re missing in their day. The tweet above was actually a “decent” one because it had a description. Lots of times he simply had a link, and that was it. Granted, people following celebs are usually trying to get their stalker on, but as a brand and individual, this simply won’t fly.
Typical Franco? No description, no hashtag, just a sad little tweet that could only dream of reaching 140 characters.
If you’re really trying to fail at Twitter, this is a great place to start.
2. Never monitor your mentions
If you’re a brand, a definite way to completely fall on your face with Twitter is to not monitor your mentions. According to http://www.edisonresearch.com/,
- 49% of monthly Twitter users, use Twitter to follow and engage with brands.
- 42% learn about products and services via Twitter.
- 41% provide opinions about products/services.
- 19% seek customer support
If you’re not tracking your mentions, you’re missing out on a whole slew of users that you could be educating about your product, providing customer service to, or learning about your own products through customer usage and sharing.
So what exactly are you doing on Twitter (as a brand) if you’re not even going to setup mention tracking?
There are a number of ways to do it:
- Desktop/Web apps like Seesmic, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to save searches. You should be tracking any hash-tags that are of importance to your brand (or your competitor) as well as branded keywords to see what’s being said about your brand through the noise
- Using external sites like socialmention.com or Trackur.
- If you’re on an iPad, Flipboard lets you set up a custom feed where you can track mentions to be displayed in regular Flipboard format. It’ll be aggregated as a magazine.
3. Be “ever-absent”
Okay, I’m not saying to flood your stream to make sure that your followers can know your every move (that’s actually another great way to annoy everyone who has decided to follow you) but as Mr. Marshall Mathers demonstrates above, checking in with your followers once a month isn’t a very good habit to get into. Side note: I love Eminem but he’s the only example I could find (that I was still following) who did this.
In 2009, 49.63% of Twitter users didn’t go more than 6 days without some kind of activity (tweeting) - (http://www.sysomos.com/insidetwitter).
You can expect that this number has grown since then.
You’re not risking being unfollowed, per-say, because they probably won’t even notice you’re missing since their streams are likely very busy. However, when it comes time to do spring/summer/winter cleaning, you’re going to be one of the first ones to go.
No one likes a #phantom. They’re not very interesting.
4. Have a Self Serving Profile
Twitter should be used to not only follow others that you find interesting, but to share that information with your followers as well. Sharing pictures of yourself is great but something like DailyBooth is more suited towards what shade of lipstick you’re wearing and what color your hair is, rather than Twitter.
If you insist on sharing pictures of yourself, understand what other platforms this works for like DailyBooth- you’ll not only have users on DailyBooth that are expecting this, but when users are sifting through your Twitter stream, they’ll see the DB tweet and understand that there’s already a separate community for this.
You have to understand that this platform isn’t focused around an individual user sharing their own personal news (although the majority of people use it like this). It’s about reaching out and positioning yourself somewhere useful.
A quick way to fail is to treat Twitter as a playground for narcissism.
There are plenty of celebs and individuals out there who use Twitter to share awesome information that others are interested in. Alyssa Milano actually does a great job of this- she keeps one account for sharing personal/media news and another for her to just run rampant on Twitter as a regular user.
With this said as well, you remember above that 42% of users use Twitter to learn about products or services, so don’t be afraid to be a LITTLE self-serving. Just self-serve in a way that benefits your followers.
5. Don’t create lists
Lists are the essence of Twitter. Lists allow you to do all of the following:
- Recognize other Twitter users or Blog owners on Twitter that you appreciate.
- Sift through those you’re following to hear exactly who you want to.
- Segregate your stream by different verticals that you’re interested in.
A quick way to fail at Twitter is to not take advantage of these lists. You’re going to lose tons of engagement with followers if you’re staring at a stream that is getting flooded with tweets. How are you supposed to follow who you think is interesting, or let others know who you find interesting?
Red Bull is an excellent example of a brand that uses lists to both follow, and allow others to follow, their brand.
6. Never respond to or retweet others
Nobody likes to follow a robot that only tweets and doesn’t respond.
Part of the reason people engage on Twitter is because they’re looking to reach out to others and engage in a social relationship. Some of the most successful celebrities on Twitter respond to, and retweet, their users. Not only are they monitoring their mentions, but they’re engaging and putting means to an end, with them.
They have a tendency to retweet and also thank anyone who is excited about coming out to a performance or show they’re putting on. As an individual, you can do the same. This will make your followers:
- Feel like you find some importance in what they’re saying.
- Feel like a real social relationship is being built.
- Appreciate what they’re reaching out to you about.
Success? With Twitter?!
Twitter is not about being a metaphorical megaphone. It’s not about reciprocity and following everyone that follows you, just because.
It’s about engaging, sharing, and listening.
Twitter is about having the ability to not only follow others that interest you, but share and position yourself as someone who can provide something to your followers as well. Whether that be product information, customer service, interesting reads, introductions to other Twitter users… it’s all about being active.
What are some of your favorite brands or individuals on Twitter? What do you like about their engagement style?
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