Using Twitter to build your personal brand and increase your exposure and influence is an excellent way to take your career to the next level. However, all is not perfect in the Twitterverse. There are some mistakes that can ruin your career, and once you make them, it’s hard to rebound from the negative effects they can have on your reputation.
Here are five of the Twitter mistakes that are easiest to make and can be the most detrimental to your career. Fortunately, once you know them, they’re not difficult to avoid. Just be careful what you tweet!
1. Tweeting Instead of Sending a Direct Message
Most of the things you want to send via a Twitter direct message are not meant for public eyes. That’s why it’s critical that you always check to make sure you’re not sending private information through a tweet rather than a direct message. This is a mistake that could harm you and the person you meant to send the direct message to! In fact, it’s guaranteed to hurt your career.
2. Tweeting from the Wrong Account
If you use a tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage multiple social profiles at the same time, then it’s very easy to accidentally tweet from the wrong account. For example, that tweet about how much you hate a certain celebrity or politician could be very offensive to your professional audience. Always check the account before you hit the Publish button!
3. Retweeting without Checking the Links
Sometimes a tweet might sound great in 140-characters, but if that tweet includes a link, you should always follow it and review the source before you retweet the post. You never know what that link might lead to! For example, a tweet that says “High Paying Careers for Women” and includes a link might look great, but what if that link leads to the Hooters website? Always check those links to make sure they contain information that accurately reflects the image you want to portray through your professional Twitter account.
4. Tweeting Too Many Self-Promotional Tweets
If your Twitter stream is filled with self-promotional tweets, it’s going to be ignored. Even worse, you might be labeled a spammer. Twitter is not a place for excessive self-promotion. While it is a great social media marketing tool, you should always follow the 80-20 rule where 80% or more of your tweets are not self-promotional and 20% or fewer are self-promotional. That’s a safe balance which allows you to toot your own horn without annoying your followers. No one wants to work with or communicate with a spammer, and once people think you’re a spammer, they are unlikely to change their minds. That’s not a reputation you want to acquire.
5. Hiring Someone to Tweet for You Whom You Can’t Trust
Tweeting takes time, and if you’re working full-time while trying to develop your career in your spare time, Twitter might not fit into your daily schedule. There are many freelancers and companies that can help you manage your Twitter account, but be careful who you work with. Be sure to check references, and remember, you get what you pay for.
From the outside looking in, Twitter might seem like the Wild West with no rules, but for people who use Twitter for business and career development, there are expectations to meet and unwritten rules to follow. Think before you tweet, check all of your sources, and avoid outsourcing to the lowest bidder. If you follow those tips and avoid the mistakes above, you’ll be a welcome member of the Twitter community.