10073432733_86c9f55212_bTwitter is continually growing in its usage, popularity and functionality. Marketers of any industry should take note of all Twitter has to offer. The short, to-the-minute nature of a tweet provides instant, frequent access to a target market unlike any other platform, giving companies a variety of options for posting original or curated content.

Although the easiest way to jump on to the Twitter bandwagon may be to do just that – jump in and to play around, using the social network incorrectly, or even worse, committing one of the numerous Twitter faux pas could damage your brand’s online image and give the impression that your marketing efforts are ammature.

So, to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of things you should avoid when composing a new tweet. Here are our Seven Commandments of Twitter:

1. Thou Shalt Not sync a Facebook account to a Twitter account

Time is money. And if you’re busy, you may be tempted to cut some corners in your day to day social media management. However, setting up the social “hack” of pushing all of your Facebook posts directly to Twitter is one corner you’ll want to avoid cutting. Because of the character limitations and nature of a tweet, Facebook posts tend to not play well with Twitter. This synchronization often leads to tweets cutting off in mid-sentence, ending with an ellipses rather than a complete thought. If you wish to post the same content on Facebook and Twitter, take the time to repurpose it for each network.

2. Thou Shalt Not tweet image links

Images are great ways to boost your content’s visibility and likelihood of engagement on any social platform. With the recent design changes of the Twitter feed, images are now natively embedded into tweets, which is all the more reason to use them. However, using aggregators like Hootsuite or other social networks like Instagram to post photos to Twitter causes images to show up as links, which adds an additional step for users to see your content. Be sure to always post an image directly to Twitter, or change your settings in programs like Hootsuite to do so.

3. #Thou #Shalt #Not #overuse #hashtags

Hashtags are what make Twitter so powerful. They’re great for searching for, compiling, and encouraging the posting of content. However, sometimes tweeters get too excited when using hashtags, which can often lead to over usage. Try to keep your tweets to a three hashtag maximum, and be sure the hashtags that you do use are kept short and concise.

4. Thou Shalt Not tweet too little

Twitter is meant to provide quick, relevant, frequent content to users’ feeds – and as such, your tweets should also be quick, relevant, and frequent. Often, new users will create an account, only to tweet once or twice a week, or worse, a few times a month. If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to provide at least a few tweets a day to satisfy your followers.

5. Thou Shalt Not tweet too much

In the same way tweeting too little will bore your followers, going on a tweeting overload can annoy users. Although Twitter can handle much more content than networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, tweeting too much can clog your followers’ feeds, causing them to unfollow you. There are best practices for how much you should tweet a day, however, a simple rule of thumb is to use discretion depending upon your reasoning for tweeting. Certain instances may call for more tweeting than others.

6. Thou Shalt Not use all 140 characters

Trying to stay within the 140 character limit of a tweet can be challenging. But if you really want to encourage interaction with your tweet, you’ll want to use as little characters as possible. Keeping your tweets under 140 characters (when possible) allows you followers to share your content easily, giving them the space to add their own comments or thoughts in a retweet, etc.

7. Thou Shalt Not begin a tweet with an @ if you’re not responding to a mention

@ symbols are for mentioning other accounts within your tweets. An @ symbol at the beginning of a tweet is for responding to someone who has mentioned you (a conversation). When you begin a conversation on Twitter, the network only shows that conversation to people that follow you AND the person you’re mentioning, leaving out a potentially large reach for your tweet. So, if you’re planning to send out a tweet that begins with an @ but is not part of a conversation, be sure to place a period before the @ symbol.

By following these commandments, your Twitter adventure will be off to a successful start. Now, on top of creating/finding content to tweet out to you followers, keep looking for tips and advice on how to best use your digital tools. Consistently educating yourself on the best practices of all social networks, not just Twitter, is one of the best ways to keep your brand presence fresh and your marketing efforts effective.

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