This post originally appeared on the Twitter Counter blog.
Twitter can be a great tool for establishing your brand, building a community and extending your influence. But to get the most out of Twitter and do all of the above, first you need to avoid making these common mistakes.
1. Starting a tweet with someone’s username
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First time I learned about this tip, I was amazed! Imagine the situation when an influencer tweets your blog post praising your content. High fives! You’ve made it! Overwhelmed with joy, you send out a tweet that looks a bit like this:
“@influencer, thank you for tweeting my blog post. I want to send you flowers and a box of chocolate.”
There’s the one! Focus at the beginning of this hypothetical tweet and you’ll notice a mistake lots of people still make. The tweet starts with @username, which means that you’re basically preventing your followers from seeing that this amazing human being just tweeted your blog.
So, unless you want just this user and your Twitter profile stalkers to read your tweet, avoid starting with @username. Instead, use a period before @username (“.@influence thanks!”) to make your tweet visible to everyone in the Twitterverse.
This applies for when you’re announcing news from a company, but want to share with your followers as well. For example, “@microsoft names a new CEO” vs. “.@microsoft names a new CEO” are two completely different tweets!
2. Following me? Following you
Following back someone who followed you surely is nice, but not necessary. Follow someone on Twitter because you find what they tweet about interesting and not just because they followed you. This way you build a timeline that is relevant and can be a great source of content to share with your audience.
3. Making tweets too long
Shorter tweets drive higher engagement rates, science says. In fact, tweets 100 to 120 characters long get retweeted the most. So keep in short and to the point, to increase your Twitter engagement and leave space for your audience to retweet and add comments.
4. Tweeting the full URL
Many people do this and it makes perfect sense. Sometimes clicking on the the “Tweet” button when reading an article is easy and convenient. But this is something you should avoid doing, especially if you’re using to tweet for marketing purposes.
Every time you’re tweeting a full URL, you’re missing out on your tweet’s click rate metrics. Instead, there are so many link shortening tools you can use to easily check the number of clicks on the links you tweet. Google’s link shortener and bit.ly are both easy to use and give you extra insights on who’s shared this link already, which location the clicks came from, and how often they’re clicked within the past hour.
5. Setting up your analytics too late
Tweets and follower growth are definitely numbers you should be looking into to evaluate your Twitter performance. But they’re definitely not enough.
Being successful on Twitter is all about knowing what works for your audience and what doesn’t. And the sooner you know this, the better. Setting up analytics that matter – as soon as possible – saves you a ton of time that’d be better spent on tweeting and gives you a lot more insights on what your audience needs.
Keeping an eye on the stats of your mentions and retweets is a good start to identify what you need to tweet to drive higher engagement rates and see which types of tweets help you do so. Are your tweet shared more when you use images, or plain text? These insights can help you grow your engagement and following.
What’s the biggest Twitter mistake you caught yourself making? Tell us in the comments below or tweet to us!