16 Stupid Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Twitter Strategy

  • 3
  • February 3, 2016

Caution: 16 Warning Signs That Your Twitter Strategy Is Vulnerable

You’ve done it, right?

Several times…

You fill up your Buffer with the latest news in the industry, follow some “relevant” people, and even change your profile picture.

You’re so excited that next day you wake up earlier, and, before even making your first cup of coffee, you turn on your computer to see what’s new.

But “Oh Surprise!”, nothing happened.

Very few people (if any) engaged with your tweets.

Worst yet, no one even noticed your new profile picture.

So you get very disappointed.

And you can’t help thinking…

“I just need more followers. Then I’ll get the results I deserve.”

“I need a sleeker background image. That should be enough to impress people.”

“Maybe I haven’t read enough tips. That may be the reason people don’t follow me.”

But let’s be honest, if you aren’t getting results, it’s not because you don’t have enough followers or because you don’t share enough content.

It’s because you’re focusing on in the wrong things.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you 16 warning signs that your Twitter strategy sucks. So, if you really want to make a buck on Twitter, you should read this post closely.

1. You’re sharing more than 5 tweets per day

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to publish 30 tweets every day to grab your audience’s attention.

As a matter of fact, Buffer found that engagement slightly decreases after the third tweet.

engagement decreases after third tweet

It doesn’t mean you can’t tweet more than 3 times per day, but it’s recommendable to tweet no more than 5 times in a day to conserve a good “per-tweet engagement.”

2. You don’t know what your optimal time to tweet is

Although you’ll never reach all your followers at the same time, you can get a higher reach by tweeting when most of them are online.

This is pretty much Twitter Marketing 101, but it’s surprising how many people ignore their optimal time to tweet.

According to some studies, noon to 1:00 p.m. local time, on average for each time zone, is the most popular time to tweet.

Best time to tweet

However, I highly encourage you to make your own research since every audience is different.

3. You share content about everything

The easiest way to lose your audience’s attention is by sharing content about everything that comes to your mind.

Your followers have specific interests, problems, and desires, and if you don’t provide them with content that matches those things, they will stop paying attention to you.

Instead of doing that, make sure you understand what keeps your readers up at night, and start sharing content related to that topic.

That way, you’ll develop a more loyal audience.

4. You’ve never read a book on psychology

Trying to do marketing without studying psychology is like pushing a square-wheeled vehicle up a hill – not impossible, but very (and I mean, very) hard.

The more you understand human behavior, the more effective you’ll be at marketing. So, if you have never read a book on psychology, you should do it now.

5. You’re relying on technology

Yes, technology can make our lives easier, but you shouldn’t let the tools do all the work.

Here’s why: People are not dumb, they can easily distinguish an automated message from an authentic one – if you really want to get results with Twitter, you need to be present and engage with people like a real human being.

By no means I’m saying you shouldn’t use tools, but you need to use them wisely.

6. You’re not getting much (or any) engagement

Engagement is one of the main indicators that people like what you’re sharing. If no one is retweeting, commenting or liking your tweets, it means something is wrong.


You are either building the wrong audience or sharing the wrong content.

7. Your profile picture stinks

This is pretty basic, but as we both know, first impressions are vital – I’d never follow someone who doesn’t show their face (or brand identity, in case it’s a company) in their profile picture.


Ian Lurie puts it well:

“If you haven’t changed your avatar since joining Twitter, please do. When active Twitter users see an egg in their feed, it’s a clear sign that the user is blindly driving through Twitter traffic (while texting and doing their makeup).”

8. All your tweets have a link

Yes, it’s good to include links on your tweets. In fact, it’s an excellent practice.

However, not all your tweets should have a link.

Tweet fewer links

A research found that tweets without links receive more engagement than tweets containing a link, and it makes sense…

In words of Erik Fisher:

“If you limit the number of links you share on Twitter, you’ll add value to the ones you do. Twitter is an excellent platform to build your brand and create trust, so spend time developing relationships with your followers rather than just sharing a lot of links.”

9. You are not using hashtags

If you aren’t using Hashtags, you’re missing out a big opportunity to grow engagement.

According to Dan Zarella, Tweets that contain one or more Hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted than Tweets that don’t.

Effect of hashtags on rewteets

There’s a catch here, though.

Instead of just using Hashtags you “think” will perform well, you should focus on using Hashtags that have a record of success.

We have published a great guide on how to use Hashtags the right way. It will help you get on the right path.

10. You don’t know what Twitter is for

If you don’t know the role Twitter plays in your core marketing strategy, it will be very hard for you to achieve measurable results.

For instance, some companies use Twitter to drive traffic to another channel (a blog, for example).

Others use Twitter to build a community and generate leads.

And others use it to build thought leadership.

Whatever the case, you need to have a clear goal in mind – what do you want to achieve from your Twitter Marketing efforts?

The more specific, the better.

11. You think you deserve more traffic than you’re getting

The hard truth: You get what you deserve.

If you are not getting the attention you’d like to get, it’s just because you haven’t earned it.

There’s a something called “The Law of Anti-Attraction,” which states that no one owes you their attention, and, to earn it, you must do something remarkable enough.

When it comes to Twitter Marketing, the best way to stand out is by sharing content that helps your audience solve their problems on a continuous basis.

In simpler words, you always should share memorable content. As a marketer, it’s your job to research and curate the best content in your industry, so more people feel enticed to follow you (and continue following you in the long run).

12. You don’t know what keeps your readers up at night

This is the main reason you aren’t getting the results you want.

If you don’t know what keeps your readers up at night – they desires, fears, and frustrations – it will be impossible for you to succeed (not only on Twitter but in business in general).

Find out what those desires, fears, and frustrations are. Then, use them in every tweet you share. You’ll see that your followers won’t have option but paying attention to what you have to say.

13. Very few people follow you back

Some experiments have discovered that around 25% (or more) of the people you follow will follow you back.

If you’re getting a fewer ratio, then you’re making one of the following mistakes:

  1. You’re following the wrong people – people who are not interested in your main topic are less likely to follow you back.
  2. Your profile isn’t “strong enough” and people think you aren’t worth following – these 7 ingredients will help you beef up your profile.

14. You are not using visual content

The data is clear:

Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets, according to AdWeek.

Tweets with images

And it’s not surprising, considering that our brain is wired to process visual content 60,000 times faster than plain text.

Many other findings prove that visual content must play a very important role in your social media marketing strategy.

If you’re not taking advantage of it, you should.

15. You  are not sharing other people’s content

There are two main reasons why you should share other people’s content.

First, “The Golden Rule”, which states that whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.

In other words, you can’t expect that people share your content if you don’t share their content too.

Second, social media is full of noise (especially Twitter). People want to read fresh content every day, and it would be impossible for you to satisfy that demand.

That’s why you need to compliment your content with other people’s content. Here’s where the 80-20 rule comes in handy:

“20 percent of content should be created by and unique to your organization while the remaining 80 percent should be shared or curated from other sources.”

16. You don’t know the benefit

As I said before, everything you do needs to be aligned with your audience’s interests. If you don’t know the main benefit your audience is getting by engaging with your content, then you’re wasting your time.

For instance, your audience’s biggest desire might be to “lose 10 pounds”, and if you’re not helping them achieve that goal, then you strategy is useless – you’ll lose their attention.

That’s why it’s crucial that you have a clear benefit in mind.

The bottom line?

Twitter Marketing is simple, but it’s not easy (especially at the beginning).

Instead of spending so much time polishing your profile, you should focus on understanding your audience – the battle is won or lost right here.

When you understand what keeps your readers up at night, you’re able to share the right content.

When you know what your optimal time to tweet is, you’re able to reach more people.

When you have a clear benefit in mind, you’re able to build a more loyal following.

Everything comes down to understanding your audience.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get started now.

Author Josue Valles

Josue Valles is a content marketing evangelist, strategist and die-hard entrepreneur. He constantly blogs about Inbound Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing at Engagebit. You can also follow him onTwitter.

More posts by Josue Valles

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Ivana Taylor says:

    These are all outstanding points. One thing I’ve noticed (and maybe this is obvious) but you have to look at all of these recommendations as a whole. For example – not publishing a ton of tweets and aiming for around 5 per day – combined with publishing at the right time. I’ve recently reduced the number of tweets I publish daily – just to start fresh. I’ve noticed that my engagement has gone DOWN with my tweet reduction. So I’m taking a look at my analytics, and also connecting my tweets to my content calendar – so things make sense.

    • Josue Valles says:

      Hello Ivana,

      Buffer found that, on average, tweeting 3 to 5 tweets per day increases your “per-tweet engagement.” However, it doesn’t mean it will work for all people. All audiences are different, so you need to test :)

      Also (as you said), you could try tweeting 3 to 5 tweets when most of your audience is online. This might increase engagement.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Looking forward to hearing from you soon, Ivana.

  • Colin Sumter says:

    Get comments Ivana. It depends on where you are in the sales funnel. Everyone is in their own unique place. I can’t see how a generic metric fits all industries, services.

  • Brenda Niemeyer says:

    It’s a major relief to hear the 80/20 rule! That makes Twitter entirely doable and enjoyable! Thanks for all the tips.

  • You know, Tip #1 is debatable. I’ve seen some accounts Tweet far more often and still seem to have a healthy number of followers. Not sure about the engagement level though. I suspect that on a per Tweet basis, it drops with more frequent tweeting. But you may end up with more engagement when looking at the aggregate.

    • SocialQuant says:

      Hey Stephen. Agree that Tip #1 is definitely debatable as I know many successful Twitter accounts that tweet much more than that, some as much as every 20 minutes. We here at Social Quant Tweet much more than that and because of that see consistent website traffic monthly just from Twitter (over 30,000 visitors alone from Twitter). The report was interesting from Buffer, but we also agree with you that it is questionable.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • K.P. Kelly says:

    I disagree with several of these #1 is not even debatable, it is just wrong. The major thing that is wrong with this is the arrogant elitist tone that they are “stupid mistakes,” which is out of line and not professional. Then, to say that they are destroying strategy. Perhaps these would destroy the strategy of Josue, or of some users, but not all. There is no right or wrong way to use social media. Many people use strategies and techniques I’d never use, but they work well for them to accomplish their goals. I get where you were going with this article, and articles like this get a lot of views, but articles like this are bad for social media. They cause people to walk on egg shells. They create a disconnect between social media marketers and everyone else. Disappointing article to read, it really is.

    • SocialQuant says:

      Hey K.P. Thanks for stopping by and as always sharing our content on Twitter.

      Josue’s tone isn’t in anyway trying to set himself as an elitist but more trying to get people to think about many of the points made and assuring someone does actually have a strategy when on Twitter (which we both can agree is important). Being an egg head (point 7), using visuals more often, using hashtags (without being a hash-hole) are all common/easy to fix mistakes (stupid maybe a bit harsh, but not meant in a negative arrogant way as we all make “stupid/silly mistakes”.

      I will agree that though Buffer has data to back point 1, we here at Social Quant also disagree (shared that in a previous post) and have found tweeting more often (much) has been beneficial in driving consistent traffic to our website, but we also consistently share content that we take a lot of time to put together and add value to those visitors. I know many SMM’s who tweet as much as every 20 minutes and continually see positive results from doing so, but again they’re adding value that their followers find beneficial. I think it’s finding what works for each of our own accounts based on our own analytics and making a decision on that data.

      Again thanks for taking the time to read Josue’s post and to share your thoughts.

  • Between noon and 1 pm is pretty on point as a good time to tweet, although I find our followers are quite active later in the afternoons, too. For the amount of time we put into Twitter, we seem to have been quite successful in attracting followers, probably because we include a couple of hashtags in most tweets without getting into “hashtag overkill.” We also don’t include links in a lot of tweets, and if we do we often use shortened links, which are awesome since they don’t take up as many of the allowed characters. :)

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