This is a guest post by AJ Vaynerchuk. Go visit his blog when you’re done reading it and show the man some love!
Twitter can be a great tool for keeping up with friends, hearing the latest news, and self-promotion. There are a ton of “big-name” bloggers using twitter, but not all of them are optimizing their experience. These same big-name bloggers need to realize that their brand is searched often, and more often than not Twitter ranks highly in Google for these terms. That being said, here are 8 common mistakes some bloggers make while using twitter:
1.) Some Bloggers Misuse the Avatar
Twitter gives the user an option of adding an avatar. The avatar may be small (48px by 48px) but it still holds major branding opportunities. Just today, Chris Brogan stated, “our icon, our avatar, our little square to show who we are matters too.” The most important function of the avatar is the fact that many users use avatars as a means of scanning through tweets. Rather than reading the user name, it is much easier for an individual to associate a tweet to a visual. Instead of choosing a random picture for your avatar, consider using a picture that best represents your brand – either your logo, or a picture of you.
2.) Some Bloggers Under Utilize the Bio
The right sidebar on Twitter provides viewers with some basic information of the user. First comes the name, then the location, then the website, and finally the bio. Most bloggers get the first three parts right, but more often than not, these same bloggers botch the fourth part. Rather than using all 160 characters on a short description about yourself, you should use no more than 5 words to describe yourself and then provide a link to the about page on your blog. To make sure you have room, use a URL shortner such as tinyurl or is.gd for your bio link. As an example here is my bio section on Twitter:
A perfect gentleman. Learn more about me: http://tinyurl.com/696c8n
3.) Some Bloggers Fail to Brand Their Background
Even though most of Twitter’s active users use clients such as Twhirl and Twitterific, there is still a large portion of users who will see your actual Twitter profile. When these users land on your page, the aspect of your profile that sticks out the most is your twitter background. If you want to reach these eyeballs, make sure that your twitter background has your brand all over it. If you don’t have a logo, or some text regarding your brand on your background, you are missing out on a huge branding opportunity.
4.) Some Bloggers Don’t Advertise Twitter Enough on Their Blog
Twitter is quickly becoming the best way to communicate with your readership. Rather than separating the two, you need to make a stronger effort promoting your twitter account. Most bloggers do a great job promoting their RSS feed with large graphics that stand out; these same bloggers need to dedicate a similar amount of space on their blog towards promoting their twitter. Some of you may say, “but there is no money in twitter!” Twitter isn’t about making money, Twitter is about connecting with great people.
5.) Some Bloggers Aren’t Following Enough People on Twitter
Twitter has so many brilliant minds that it is essentially a sin if you are not following enough people. Sure there is a lot of unnecessary noise but you never know when one of the people you are following inspires a thought or a blog post. At the very least you should follow the people you know well outside of Twitter, and then an equal amount of interesting, active twitterers.
6.) Some Bloggers Lack the Proper Tweet to Promotion Ratio
When someone follows you on Twitter they want additional value away from the blog. If you simply post tweets regarding blog posts you made, then you are not providing your followers with what they want. Make sure you add other interesting tidbits here and there to keep things fresh and interesting. Even adding other personal thoughts will humanize you to your followers. If you only tweet once a day, and that tweet revolves around a blog post, then you aren’t using Twitter effectively.
7.) Some Bloggers Don’t Interact With Their Followers
This point builds upon the previous two following the idea that you need to provide additional value to your followers. Twitter is a great venue for you to interact and learn about your readership. If you can relate to your followers on a different level away from the “blogger + reader” relationship, this will not only make your reader like you better, but will enhance your life as well. Someone who does this very, very well is Robert Scoble.
8.) Some Bloggers Fail to Use Their Followers for Data
Twitter provides you instant access to hundreds, if not thousands of people at a time. If you are working on a blog post, and could use some individual opinions, tweet out a question to your followers. You will be amazed to see how many of your loyal readers will be thrilled to answer your question. I’ve seen the most popular bloggers receive hundreds of replies to any and every question asked.
Twitter is a wonderful tool that if used properly can not only increase traffic, but improve your brand. Following these eight easy steps takes little to no effort and will surely help you tweet more effectively. If you decide against these steps, thats great, always remember that Twitter is all about what you want it to be. You define your own experience.
AJ Vaynerchuk is a 21 year old blogger who also dabbles in SEO and social media. He spends most of his time on twitter(follow him) and is excited for his internship at Revision3 this summer. If you’d like, learn more about AJ.