6 weird things brands do on Twitter

I now run 6 Twitter feeds, 2 of them professionally and the rest for shits and  giggles. brands on twitter

In searching out new people to follow I must’ve looked at thousands of Twitter profiles.I find the profiles by brands particularly interesting, as they have to try harder in a space which is defined by the fact that it’s social rather than commercial.

This is why you get a lot of profiles from guys which foreground their wunnerful wife, amazing kids and …oh….the fact that I’m also CEO of Widgets Incorporated and plan on doing a lot of tweeting about widgets.

Lots of brands get it really right and manage to sit comfortably in the social media space. For examples of brands who give good tweets, check out this list from Simply Zesty

But it still begs the question, why are some brands, who presumably want to connect with people, so weird on Twitter?

  1. Why have a business profile but lock it down as private?
    Unless you were a blood relation of the business owner, why would you apply to be in their private Twitter circle? There are lots of good reasons why an individual might want a private Twitter profile, but for a business it just doesn’t make sense.  
  2. Why/how do you amass thousands of followers without actually tweeting? Like this one I found this week: brands on twitter being weirdNearly 20,000 followers and only one tweet to their name (which they should probably change to Do It With No Tweets). I’m guessing that these were amassed via an automatic program, or possibly bought. Either way it doesn’t leave you with any kind of engaged network. Robots talking to robots is more like it. How is that a recipe for business success?
  3. Why don’t you follow people back, at least at the start?
    If you haven’t got many followers you need to hold on to the ones you do have, and the best way to do that is by following them back. Some brands are incredibly miserly with their followbacks. You’re not Stephen Fry mate, give a little.
  4. Pump out links but never engage in any other sort of communication
    If you’re BBC News you might be able to get away with this. Otherwise, it just looks really odd. As the oldest social media cliche in the book would have it: it’s a conversation, not a broadcast.
  5. Don’t clean up their follower lists
    So it looks like you’ve got a marvellous heap of followers, but on closer examination lots of them are pornbots, spammers or simply don’t exist. At a distance it looks like your company is popular and credible, but close up it just ain’t so. Though to be fair it’s only really the social media nerds like me who really notice this stuff so you can probably get away with that one if the size of your network is more important than how engaged it is.
  6. Publish 5 tweets at once
    I can see what’s happening here – either a bunch of stuff gets automatically tweeted at once, or the social media dude in the company is ticking off all their targets for the day at once. But in an attempt to swamp people’s timelines, the danger is that they will take in none of your message and unfollow you for over-tweeting, even if those 5 tweets are the only ones you send all day. Use Hootsuite to schedule. Space ’em out a bit. It’s not that hard to do. 


 Have you spotted any other tweet-weirds on your travels?

image credit: sidoscope

UPDATE – April 2015

Since I wrote this post, I went on to write a book about using Twitter (and other social media) for journalists and writers. Social Media for Writers has now been published and is attracting some great reviews – click on the image to see them for yourself.