an interesting article by Leslie DeSantis

There are countless articles circulating the Web about how to network on Twitter, how to get more Twitter followers, how to tweet, when to tweet, what to tweet, who to follow, what URL shorteners to use, Twitter SEO, and so on. With all of that information available, it’s not hard to imagine that Twitter users, particularly Twitter beginners, can go a bit overboard and actually end up driving otherwise willing followers away while thinking they’re following all the ‘rules’.

Are you guilty of the following Twitter networking faux pas?

Overzealous following

“Follow me and I’ll follow you back!” Have you heard this one before? Don’t be tricked into thinking that following magnitudes of people will make you an instant Twitter star. While there are many that follow the “you follow/I follow” mentality, be aware that this often leads to little substance.

Your time is much better served reaching out to thought leaders you admire and other professionals in your industry. If you regularly reach out to others (with the @ symbol), tweet about things relevant to your niche, and retweet thoughtfully, you will see your follower list begin to grow naturally!

Tweeting once a year

We’re exaggerating a little bit here, but twitter, much like blogging, can be a trap for some where they get really excited at first and tweet like crazy and then the excitement wears off and their tweets dwindle to once every couple of days, maybe once a week, and sometimes…months go by with no tweeting at all. Can you hear the crickets chirping? If you’re not using your voice, no one is going to listen to you! Be sure that you keep your twitter account active. This doesn’t mean you have to tweet every time you blink (which it seems that some people do), but try not to let too long go between your interactions on twitter or you’re likely to lose followers.

Tweeting TMI

TMI stands for Too Much Info, and this can be a scary line to cross if you’re tweeting, particularly if your tweets aren’t protected (which, if you’re looking to build a large following, it’s usually a good idea to go public), and if you’re representing a business, yours or otherwise. Twitter makes it so easy to express yourself that a hasty tweet in moment of bad judgment can occur without even realizing it. Even though you want to be yourself, unless you are a comedian known for your lewd jokes or a brazen celeb whose fans thrive on the drama, be mindful of what you say or what pictures you post. Potential employers, competitors, and other influencers take notice.

Tweet Spam

While it’s true that twitter can be a great way to spread news about your business, as in any venue where your voice can be heard, you need to maintain a balance between promoting yourself and sharing non-promotional things. If every tweet becomes “check out my latest item I listed on eBay!” or “click for the best deal on cell phone ringtones!” or “15% off with this special code!”, people are going to start seeing your tweets like they see ads and tune them out. Having your link in your twitter bio will draw traffic from your followers, and the more interesting content you give them when you tweet, the more they’ll trust you and be likely to click when you do share that occasional promotional tweet.

Conversely, if you are a business that uses twitter solely for product updates and discounts, be up front about your twitter account with followers and post wisely!

Tweet Fraud

Okay this title makes this sound like something truly awful (and if you are genuinely stealing someone else’s identity on Twitter, you probably aren’t reading this article right now), but the point here is be genuine. Twitter was created as a means for social interaction and connection with other people. If you are tweeting on behalf of a business, have a voice and give people the sense that you are accessible and real. By being genuine with your followers, you’re giving them the chance to feel a connection to you and feel that their voice also matters to you. Business is business, but at the end of the day, twitter is social.

Avoid these Twitter mistakes and you should be well on your way to developing a solid following of loyal twitter fans! Do you have any tips to add?