How Not to Use Twitter

Filed in Featured, Social Media by Matt McGee on May 7, 2010 13 Comments

There are countless ways for a small business to use Twitter, and the trick is usually figuring which way works best for your small business and your intended audience. What works for Company A might not be so good for Company B, and vice versa. There aren’t many rules, but there are guidelines. And pretty high on my list of guidelines would be not to use Twitter like this:


Auto transport dude (or dudette), if you see this … sorry, but you’re doing it wrong. You followed me, I got the email notification and checked out your profile, and that’s what I saw. If your aim was to get exposure like I’m giving you now, congrats. But if your aim was to make a lasting connection with a potential future customer, it didn’t happen. Sorry.

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  1. SearchCap: The Day In Search, May 7, 2010 | May 7, 2010
  1. Mario says:

    Hey Matt. I disagree with you. They don’t hide who they are or try to mislead me about what they do. That’s how I want corporate brands on twitter. If I connect with Skippy, it’s because I want to hear about their peanut butter. I don’t want a 23 year old college grad trying to “engage” me with cool news or chatter.

  2. GaryPaulson says:

    I also would not follow them back, even if they were in my same industry. Instead of each tweet being an ad they should be giving me information I can use, engaging others they follow, etc.

    aka @MCIns

  3. Matt- I agree with you.

    Here’s an example of someone doing a great job.

    Discount Tire:

    They find a way to engage the customers, are helpful, and gently remind us what they do. Mostly they let the customer brag about their great service and prices.

  4. rob says:

    Mario, you’re out to lunch. Why would anyone possibly want to follow this person?

  5. kay dinsdale says:

    Hmm ok Matt so u can publicly ridicule a businesses attempt at using Twitter. Well done you. But instead of just pointing and laughing how about being constructive? If you are going to say ‘this is how not to do it’ you should also include a ‘this is how you should do it’. Because, to be honest I feel the same about this blog post as you felt about getting that twitter follow. Just sayin.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Kay, if you scroll up a bit and type “twitter” into the search box, you’ll end up with probably a couple dozen articles I’ve written about Twitter and small business marketing over the last couple years. Some show great examples of how small businesses can and do use Twitter, usually by taking a 180-degree different approach from the business in this post. There are also some posts in the archives where I point readers to other great articles and resources that provide best practices for SMBs on Twitter. Hope this helps.

  6. kay dinsdale says:

    Matt, two words. First impressions. Hope that helps

  7. Liza Fonda says:

    in fairness to autotransport1 pls shortened your url next time!

  8. Matt McGee says:

    That does help, Kay. First impressions, indeed. Thank you.

  9. Loretta says:

    Great visual example! Some days on Twitter you wish you could reach out and grab people and shake them and say, “Stop that!” :-p

  10. Michelle says:

    Unfortunately, there are those that either don’t get social media due to being new to the medium or simply prefer to use it as they choose regardless if they get results.

    I taught a class here locally on twitter, explaining the importance of engaging. One participant was using twitter to only to push information, not engage before the class and continued to do so even after they took my class.

    You can lead a horse to water…

  11. They also used the dreaded ‘there’ instead of ‘their’. Grammar gaffes like that mean an instant non-follow status to me…This is the tenth post of yours I have read this hour, Matt, excellent advice and a slick blog! Kudos and thanks ~Jimmy, @topdogcoffeebar

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