Let me preface, this post by saying I am in no way a Twitter expert and heck, if these things have worked for you, then, do you boo!
There's really no wrong way to Twitter.
However, I've had a bunch of uh-oh moments I could have avoided had I been warned!
You're bound to make personal branding mistakes. All brands experience hiccups along their journey, online and off. However, what can be prevented should be.
A platform like Twitter tends to be quite commonsensical.
Post your photo, enter your bio and start tweeting, right?
For the most part, it's pretty easy to figure how to navigate the platform.
That being said, what you do with it, is a whole different story.
Trying to gauge what works for your brand and what will be well received by your community can be quite hard.
So, in an effort to help, I am going to openly share all of the mistakes I made over the past 2 years.
1. Not using images!
For a long time, I tweeted out articles, thoughts, and links out without images! Gasp. Images tremendously increase your tweet visibility and have been shown to increase engagement. So, uh, yeah.
2. Only adding others with similar interests!
I used to think that people with similar interests or in similar fields of work would like my content best. So, I didn't go out of my way to add a variety of people. Boy, was that dumb! Yes, your message and your brand might appeal to all, but you never know what you might learn by connecting with others who have different perspectives, backgrounds, passions, etc. The intersection between your work and/or purpose, and theirs might inspire some of your best work.
3. Using IFTTT (Sort of)!
This is one that might spark some debate. IFTTT is a platform that allows you to automate certain tasks on across different social platforms. When I first started out on Twitter, a lot of people recommended it to me, including some relatively big influencers. They specifically suggested automating lists. So, essentially IFTTT would add anyone using a particular keyword or hashtag to my Twitter lists for that topic. What it's meant to do is help you generate a group of people who are interested in the same topics as you. However, there are a lot of bot accounts that use those keywords to create spam. I was left with lists of 1000 of people, and 99% of them weren't worth it. That being said, a lot of people swear by it. So, meh, you be the judge.
4. Being lazy!
Just because you have great content, it doesn't mean people will discover and follow you. I kept asking myself what I was doing wrong at the start. I posted, but no one showed interest. Now I know, that all I needed was to be more proactive. Twitter requires you to initiate conversations, to follow others, to retweet, etc.
5. Not using analytics!
When I first started out on Twitter, I thought my account just wasn't worth having analytics for. I didn't have much engagement: I only shared content every now and then; I didn't have too many long-term goals, etc. In reality, though, the only issue I had was not understanding how analytics worked and what the benefits were. Analytics are instrumental in figuring out who your audience is, what they respond well to, what you should continue to do, what you shouldn't, when your community is most active, etc. Analytics will guide your brand throughout its journey on the platform. Check it often, no matter who you are!
6. Being shy!
So, for a while, I suffered from a condition I like to call fangirl-itis. I thought social media influencers were the sh*t, which to be fair a lot of them are, and I didn't give myself enough credit. I was so scared to approach them because a lot of them had large followings and it almost seemed like they were inaccessible. Who am I to tweet them and expect a response? However, in retrospect, I don't know what I had to lose. We're all human, even those with millions of followers. Ask questions, reach out, compliment them, you never know., You might find yourself a new mentor and friend.
7. Not nailing my bio!
Here's the thing with Twitter bios, what works for you isn't necessarily going to be what works or attracts your audience! In my very first Twitter bio, I thought I'd insert a little flair by cracking a joke. Some got it, but most didn't. The joke was quite generational and used slang that not everyone I engaged with understanding. I'd get a lot of questions about what it meant, and it distracted a lot from the message I wanted others to get about my brand. So, be wise about the words and info you share in there.
(I'll do a whole post on Twitter bios soon!)
8. Not using the right photo!
Again, similarly to your bio, you want to make sure you pick the right picture both for your profile and your cover image. My initial profile photo was too dark. My second photo was too serious. My third photo was a design, not my face. None of them really conveyed what my brand was about. In my opinion, if it's an account for your personal brands use a photo of your face. It humanizes your brand. People want to see who they're connecting with. It can communicate, trust, transparency, authenticity and so forth. Plus, there's nothing more unique than your face, since no one else has it. Unless you're a twin, in which case still use it, but at least wear different colors! Giggles.
9. Comparing myself to others!
Okay, I'm going to keep it 100% real with you. I'm still guilty of this, although, when I catch myself doing it now, I give myself a time-out and lengthy scolding. On Twitter, it can be pretty hard not to look at those around you and wonder why they have x, y or z and you don't. Sadly, that's a social media reality. We just have to remember we're on our journey to success. Root others on. Root yourself on and celebrate any and all milestones. Own where you're at!
10. Feeling like I owed Twitter!
Lastly, and perhaps the worst mistake I made on Twitter, was feeling like I owed Twitter something. What do I mean by this? It's really easy to feel like your commitment to Twitter should take precedence over you living your life, enjoying time with your family, pursuing new hobbies, etc. As your community on the platform begins to grow, you feel like it's your job to be there, to check your notifications, to respond to all promptly, etc. In part, that's true. You want to make sure your consistent and you're engaged. You want to add value and remain relevant. I get it. However, it shouldn't feel like a chore. There are days where I don't want to respond to 400 notifications after a chat I joined, and there are days when, heck, my family needs me. That's okay. People will understand. Remember, you're human!