5 Ways NOT to Use Twitter for Freelancers
Twitter is a great social media resource for any business, freelancing included. It can help you brand yourself, build a network of like-minded users, promote your work, and share news about your business. As the social media manager for three print publications, I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter each day. And I’ve learned a thing or two about Twitter etiquette.
Twitter offers you 140 characters to share information, but there’s much more to it. No matter if you are new to the Twittersphere or you already have a Twitter handle, here are five things that can kill you on Twitter.
A Bad Profile Photo
Your profile photo on Twitter has got to be simple—there is no room for anything complicated. The best idea is to use your logo. If you want to use a photo of yourself, make sure it’s professional. Using a photo of you passed out at someone’s bachelor party is NOT a good idea.
I would also discourage changing your profile pic too often. You want people to recognize you and your brand. Keeping your Twitter profile picture simple and stable is the best way to go.
Sharing too Much Personal Information
It’s OK to post personal information on Twitter; we’re not robots. But if you are building a brand for your freelance business, be careful what you divulge and complain about—you don’t want to alienate potential clients and no one likes to listen to a Debbie Downer.
Some people have a separate professional and a personal Twitter account, which are used to stay in touch with two very different audiences. Your friends might find it funny that your 2-year-old just puked into your favorite pair of loafers or care about how angry it makes you that your husband doesn’t help with the laundry, but your business contacts are not going to care. As a freelancer, you want people to care about what you say and follow you on Twitter for the right reasons.
Following 1,000 people on Twitter and having just 50 followers of your own doesn’t look great. In fact, it looks desperate. The people I follow for the wedding magazine I work for are chosen deliberately. I follow people in the wedding industry like photographers, event planners, florists, bakers, and reception venues. And since the wedding magazine has a specific geographical target, I try to follow the best vendors and industry experts in that area. It doesn’t make sense for me to follow hospitals, bio tech companies, or a 45-year-old married guy who drives a tractor trailer for a living—that’s not my target audience.
I also follow companies who advertise in the wedding magazine in the hopes that they follow me back. I also try to follow people our sales team targets as potential advertisers. You never know what you are going to learn about potential clients on Twitter. It’s good to show them you’re interested and engaging.
Ignoring Your Competitors
You know the saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? It applies to the world wide web, too. If you are not following your competitors you are shooting yourself in the foot. Instead of snubbing them, follow them! It’s a great way to keep tabs on what other people are doing in your industry and open doors for networking opportunities.
Installing the Twitter Application on Facebook
Facebook and Twitter are different beasts. For marketing purposes, your Facebook status update should be updated a few times a day, max. Tweets should be used more frequently. If you tie them together you run the risk of annoying your Facebook followers with too much information; you don’t want to alienate your followers. Your aunt and your college friends aren’t going to want to be inundated with your business Tweets on their Facebook page.
Think about why you use Twitter and what you want to accomplish before tweeting. Sometimes what you don’t tweet is just as important as what you do.