Skip to main content

10 Ways to ruin your Brand’s Reputation with Twitter

By 06/12/2011One Comment



On Twitter, 140 characters make up a message. That’s not much and some businesses, especially small to medium-sized ones, still think Twitter is a no-go. They say it’s too short, too uncontrollable and too time-consuming.

At first glance, Twitter might indeed not seem an ideal communication tool, but in just a couple of years it has proved the world that sometimes “short” is powerful. From its genesis as a basic online SMS service, it has evolved into a world-encompassing communication tool; Twitter users generate more than 200 million tweets per day, and the microsite often beats the most sturdy news platsforms in the world with speed and accuracy. And don’t forget that close to 750 million searches are performed on Twitter every single day, making it a toup-four search engine.

Communicating in 140 characters can be extremely tricky, and when done in an unconsidered or trigger-happy way, a lot of damage to brand and reputation can be done in a heartbeat. Here are 10 ways that brands risk ruining their reputation on Twitter and, ultimately, across their marketplace:

1. You have the wrong handle. A good Twitter name should be short, catchy, simple and recognizable, and refer to your brand.

2. You’re nobody except an egg on a blue background. If you do not tell people who you are and what you stand for, you’ll never reap ROI. Use your profile to show what it is you do and what you stand for. Include your location and website, and remember to use the C3 rule: be catchy, concise and complete. Also know that the default Twitter background with the impersonal “egghead” avatar is not the road to success. Dress up the bride. Stand out. Be sparkling, inventive, inviting.

3. You’re a robot or a zombie. Communicating from a corporate pedestal and hiding behind a shiny logo gets you nowhere. People want to interact with people, not with a brand. This is the engagement part of social media; So mention in the profile who is tweeting on behalf of your brand. You’ll be amazed how much more interaction is triggered by having real people represent your brand.

4. You’re selling. If you only communicate about your beloved product all the time, people will unfollow you faster than you can press “send.” People are not interested in your sales talk or marketing language. They are interested in finding useful content, hearing smart viewpoints and getting helpful tips.

5. You’re boring. People follow you because they think you might share good information with them, or because they want to build a relationship with you or your brand. So give ‘em what you want. As a rule of thumb, divide your tweets in three buckets, one-third for conversing with people, one-third for spreading great content that others brought to you and one-third for bringing great original content to the platform. This optimal mix will allow you to boost followers, connect and engage.

6. You’re shy. Staying in your corner will not win any business or Twitter goodwill. Growing a Twitter account is hard work, and it requires commitment and a willingness to connect. The easiest way to get followers is to follow people. So search for and follow relevant accounts. So search for and follow relevant accounts. If you find someone interesting, check out who he or she is following and add some of these folks to your lists too.

7. You follow spambots and prostitutes. Tell me who you follow and I will tell you who you are, so be careful. When people start following you, it’s common courtesy to follow them back. That’s how a relationship gets started. Be smart about it though. Make sure you filter out the spammers, spambots, prostitutes and random bizarre people.

8. You don’t keep your house clean. Once in a month, do some housekeeping. Look to see if you’re following the right people back and if you answered all messages. Decide whether or not to keep people on your follow list if they are not following you. Ask yourself if the accounts you do follow are relevant in your Twitter stream. If not, unfollow them. Also, accounts that haven’t tweeted in 90 days are usually stone dead, so unfollow.

9. You’re rude. Yes, you have the right to disagree with other people and have your own opinion. What you don’t have is a reason to be rude or impolite. Deal with the message, not with the messenger, and disagree in a pleasant style.

10. You’re lazy. Remember that point earlier about unfollowing accounts that are dead? You’ll be unfollowed if you aren’t a regular tweeter. And remember that once you starte engaging, you’re in it for the long run and should never stop. Your social capital builds with every single tweet.

BONUS TIP: never tweet when angry, drunk, in love, upset, confused or high on emotion. What you put out there cannot be taken back.

(Originally published in PRNews’ Digital PR Guidebook, by Danny Devriendt , buy it here ; republished on

One Comment

  • Stijn says:

    Newspaper twitter account are pushing their content without any social feedback. And still their receive a high number of followers.

    Does that mean your #3 is acceptable in some cases?

    Or does that mean everyone is #7?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Heliade

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading