Top 5 Marketing Mistakes on Twitter and How to Avoid Them – Part 1

5 top marketing mistakes on TwitterThanks to guest blogger, Lynn Serafinn.

There is an old adage that warns us not to judge a book by its cover. Nonetheless, many people take a cursory look at the surface appearance of Twitter and draw a hasty conclusion that it is just a stream of one-liners and headlines with little substance.

It is true that if marketers use Twitter only to send out headlines that take their followers to sales pages, they are unlikely to reap much reward for their efforts. But I know there is much more to Twitter.

In fact, it is my favorite social media platform. However, before we can unlock the magic of Twitter, we need to enter into a new paradigm of marketing strategies. Instead of:

  • “Advertising”, we need compelling informational content.
  • Talking “at” customers and avoiding “competitors”, we need to learn new rules for communication and business relationships.

The Twitterverse is a brave new world where “old school” marketing methodologies are, frankly, dead as a doornail.

The learning curve for any new paradigm can be steep for many.

I’ve watched many newbies on Twitter stumble around and hit wall after wall while they find their feet. Helping people through that learning curve is the main reason why I wrote Tweep-e-licious.

To give you a feel of this new paradigm, I’d like to review five key mistakes I’ve repeatedly seen people make when attempting to use Twitter for marketing. We’ll explore Mistakes #1 and #2 here in Part 1 of this 2-part series.

MISTAKE 1: Not taking time to build your Twitter tribe.

In traditional advertising (like television, for example) communication flows in one direction: from “one” (sponsor) to “the many”. Social media is a completely different communication model.

It is between “the many” and “the many.” The flow of communication goes both back and forth, and even sideways (as when Tweets are shared/ReTweeted). Because of this, there is a dynamic relationship between you and your Twitter audience that cannot possibly develop if you use old school marketing strategies. This dynamic relationship is best expressed through what many call your “Twitter tribe.”

One way to describe a ‘tribe’ is a group of people connected by a common desire to express their shared values. Thus, a “tribe” is different from your “target audience”.

If you are using Twitter solely to “sell” to people, you are neither connecting with them nor demonstrating any shared value system with them. For people to feel like they are part of your tribe, they need to know who you are, what you stand for and what you bring the world.

For that reason, I spend at least several months (hopefully a year) helping my clients build their Twitter tribe before we ever think about launching a book or project. If you move too quickly into marketing without this kind of care, you are apt to fail and you are likely to quit using Twitter.

MISTAKE 2: Not understanding the mechanics of an online marketing campaign.

For any marketing strategy to be effective, it needs ample care and planning.

Trying to run a major marketing campaign on your own on Twitter is tedious. Successful marketing on Twitter is always a collaborative effort.

The most effective use of Twitter for marketing comes when you coordinate a Joint Venture Partner (JVP) Campaign. Your JVPs – who come from your “tribe” – are your marketing partners. They will need care, coordination and support well in advance of and throughout your promotion.

Having a good team to support them behind the scenes is also important. When you utilize Twitter for marketing in this way, it can be a tremendous driver in your success. The majority of my clients come to my company because they know our team is good at coordinating all the “moving parts” of Twitter promotions.

Have you made either of these mistakes in the past? Or have you seen one others are making that you’d like to share? Please post your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

Read about Mistakes #3-5 in Part 2 of this series.

Lynn Serafinn, Author ot Tweep-e-liciousAbout guest blogger Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC: Lynn is a certified award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards.

The ideas in this article were adapted from Lynn’s book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically. Click here to find links to all of Lynn’s books, projects and social media.


  1. Hi Lynn,

    I appreciate any help and advice I can get about Twitter as it does seem like a foreign land at times, but I am learning and willing to keep on learning. looking forward to Part 2.
    Madonna Robinson recently posted…Taking the Fear out of SellingMy Profile

  2. Thankfully have not made either of these two mistakes, but I did notice that once my followers increased, I started to receive tweets telling me that they could take my followers to 10K. Authentic businesses survive and I just retweeted thanking them but preferring organic growth in my followers.

    Do folks actually pay for followers? Why would they do that?

    • Hi @Vatsala. I don’t pay for followers and don’t know anyone who does. I agree with you, I much prefer organic growth. For me it’s not all about quantity – having tons of followers. It’s about having quality followers – people who I can build relationships with. That’s more valuable and worthwhile. Thanks. ~Debra

  3. I’ve never EVER paid for followers, and I have 102,000+ followers on Twitter. The key to getting GOOD followers is content, consistency + engagement. Don’t ever fall for these scams. Twitter is actually engaged in a lawsuit with one of these same people who created something like 150,000 bogus Twitter accounts. He sells “followers” who are basically his own accounts, and uses those accounts to sell more bogus followers. It’s highly illegal and highly unethical. You’ll notice than many of those accounts don’t have many followers, either. That’s because their accounts get SUSPENDED on Twitter continually. The best thing you can do to help make Twitter a better place is to block and report these accounts for spam every time you see them.

    Hope that helps!

    Also, if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll follow back and only unfollow you if you spam me, lol. 😉

    Lynn Serafinn
    Lynn Serafinn recently posted…Vision, Innovation, Trust, Ease – 4 Qualities of CollaborationMy Profile

  4. I’ll follow you, Lynn. I hate spammers too!

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