It's easy to get on Twitter and everyone thinks they have a valid reason to be on it – they're probably right, too. However, not everyone uses it in the best way – the correct way. Get your Twittiquette right, before you just look like a twit! We've compiled the most common mistakes that businesses make, and believe us, it's easy to do – we've all been there, but you have to hold your hand up, say you have made a mistake and rectify it for the future.

Twitter is all about building brand awareness and engaging a larger potential customer base by networking with your clients and associates.

Let's get into the list of Twitter no-nos, shall we?

1. You never retweet others
Twitter is all about reciprocating other people's generosity and kindness. Yes, really. A great way to get new followers and a bigger pool of potential customers is to really interact, this means tweeting and then retweeting others'! It's not all about you, tweeters will switch off to businesses and individuals who are all, 'me, me, me'.

2. Tweeting away, yet you've protected your tweets
If you're using your personal Twitter profile then it's brilliant to protect your tweets so you can say what you want, without much fear of people knowing. However, businesses will only get the publicity and customer engagement they wish for, if they actually make what they're saying public. Once public, your profile and its tweets can be seen by anybody, increasing the chances of them being interested in you!

3. Quick bursts of tweets don't encourage people to follow you – be consistent
Don't go on Twitter once a day and do half-an-hour of back to back Twitter activity. You have to spread your time. This is why it can be a good idea to pre-programme certain messages that you want to be 'out there' (be aware of #6). For the majority, you should prepare to set aside 5-10 minutes a day (a few times a day) for tweeting, retweeting, favouriting and engaging with your followers. When users get blocks of activity from a certain user in their activity feed, it turns them against your brand – you're cluttering up their space.

4. You want followers, but don't follow back
This is similar to the always retweet rule (#1), you have to be willing to increase your following/followers number proportionately. If people make time to make the effort with you and follow what you're saying, give them the same courtesy. Of course, don't just follow absolutely everyone. Be cautious and quite decisive about who does, and doesn't, deserve your time.

5. Never using it to do what it's good for – networking
There are so many ways that Twitter can be used for networking, businesses, in particular, can really gain from what it offers. Yet, not everyone does. Tweet-ups (aka networking hours, Twitter hours etc) can really increase your customer engagement and brand awareness. Be seen and, most importantly, be heard.

6. Pre-posting the same messages over and over
Although we have said that it is really good to pre-tweet certain messages using one of the many programmes available to you, don't do it religiously. It's good to be human, look like a human and tweet like one. Businesses and individuals will engage with your brand better if you're willing to ask them how their day is and wish them success.

7. Hashtag overload
Hashtags are probably the biggest thing to get your head around when you start with Twitter – 'what do you hashtag', 'what don't you hashtag'? As a rule, don't have more than two hashtags per tweet, do three if it seems essential, but never go beyond that. People use hashtags to find things, to join in already active conversations on a subject. Is your hashtag a subject? Are other people likely to already be talking about it? No? It's not worthy of a # then!

8. Tweeting people but you're getting their Twitter handle wrong!
It's easy on Twitter to make the mistake of tweeting somebody else, rather than who you intended. Be wary of who you're tweeting and ensure you have their handle and not another similarly named account. Remember, there are 218 million tweeters, you'd be lucky to not make a mistake along the way somewhere!

9. Remember what you want to be private/personal
Don't tweet about the kids being a nuisance, or the football score that didn't go your team's way – not if it isn't remotely related to your business profile. Some people advise having a public profile (your business account with business branding) and a personal one that doesn't have the branding, logo or any link to your business. It's also sometimes recommended to protect your personal tweets and/or insert a simple disclaimer such as "Views are my own and they don't represent any business I'm affiliated with" etc, in the bio of your personal Twitter account.

Whatever you decide to do with your Twitter strategy, keep in mind what you want people to think of your brand – don't make them click that 'unfollow' button just because you keep rambling on or making these silly, but common, mistakes.

Article by Rachel Townsend Green of AU FAIT BUSINESS AND MARKETING SERVICES LIMITED.

Contact 0845 838 1722 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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