At 645 million registered users and counting, it’s not surprising the Twitterverse includes a few jerks like being a Twitter twit. Quite a few, actually. Place a real-time communications platform in the hands of a self-absorbed yutz and, well, we’ve all seen the results.
Those folks aren’t my concern. I say live and let live. God love ‘em all. My beef is with marketers who don’t seem to have a clue how Twitter works.
There’s just no excuse for it. You can throw a hypothetical rock across the blogosphere and hit 488,710 posts on how to market on Twitter. You can fill a boxcar with all the different books about the subject, from Twitter for Dummies to The Tao of Twitter. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to read, you can hire someone – me, for example – to teach you and your employees how to strategically and successfully market on the platform.
Despite all these resources, there are still Twitter twits out there. These are marketers who foolishly misuse the platform either because they don’t know better or, worse yet, don’t care. I’m referring here to constant violators, not newbies who understandably will make mistakes while learning their way.
So how can you tell if, heaven forbid, you’re a Twitter twit? Here are five telltale signs. If any of these describe your tweeting practices, seek help immediately.
1. A Twitter twit doesn’t listen.
One of the beautiful aspects of Twitter is that it’s as much about listening as telling. Savvy marketers pay attention to customer comments and respond when appropriate. They research what others are saying about their company. They take advantage of helpful listening tools like Hootsuite and Topsy. Not the twit. He’s too busy tweeting about how wonderful his business is to pay attention to others. He doesn’t realize that online marketing is about engaging readers, starting conversations and forming relationships. The companies that do that best are the ones that listen.
2. A Twitter twit repeats himself. A twit repeats himself. A twit repeats himself.
His business is having a grand opening, running a holiday sale or introducing a new product. He not only announces it a dozen or so times a day, but does so with the same tweet. He never takes the time to alter the wording. This guy isn’t engaging customers, he’s enraging them.
3. A Twitter twit abuses the #### out of hashtags.
You know the guy. #He#likes#to#hashtag#every#word. Or he finds it incredibly clever to #createlonghashtagsthataredifficulttoread. Some twits constantly waste the majority of their 140 characters on numerous irrelevant hashtags. And then there are the old school marketers who see Twitter as a push-marketing godsend. They unabashedly add #buythisproduct to every tweet. There are many types of hashtag abuse. All are deadly to effective marketing.
4. A Twitter twit retweets indiscriminately.
Customers crave consistency. Smart businesses work hard to maintain it at every level, from manufacturing to marketing. They even develop parameters for their retweets, making sure each resend reflects the company brand and tweeting style. Not the twit. His retweeting guidelines are “I like this one” or “I don’t have time to write my own message, so I’ll tweet this.” The result is a confusing mixture of messages that creates customer confusion, not confidence.
5. A Twitter twit constantly says “hashtag.”
Verbal hashtags are like air quotes – oddly amusing when used once, mind-numbingly annoying when used more than that. This has somehow escaped the twit, who must think that constantly repeating the word makes him relevant. Reserve your hashtags for readers, not listeners. Let this conversation between Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake serve as a warning.
Rhonda Serkes offers one-on-one instruction and corporate seminars on the power of Twitter. Known as “The Twitter Lady” in the Philadelphia area, she is also available for online instruction. For rates and availabilities, email Rhonda or call (610) 668-3020.
Follow Rhonda @rhondaserkes.