social media how toDo you use Twitter to market your business?

How’s your Twitter reputation?

Twitter’s short form messages require the same care you put into Facebook and other longer-form social media platforms.

In this article, I’ll show you six tips to help you protect your Twitter reputation by avoiding some common mistakes.

#1: Verify Everything You Tweet

False information spreads like wildfire on Twitter. Celebrities die and resurrect daily, inaccurate news gets exposure, bad links get passed and misattributed quotes receive thousands of retweets.


Do you verify before you tweet, retweet or like a tweet?

The cornerstone of a thriving Twitter account for your business is a reputation for being a reliable source of information. Before you tweet or retweet a link or story through your account, it’s important to make sure the link leads to a genuine article and that the story or news you tweet is accurate.


Sharing good content from other resources provides value to your followers, but you’ll want to first make sure the content is accurate.

Select the content you share from reliable resources. Tweet from your account only when you’re 100% confident the content you share is true and accurate.

#2: Form Relationships Before You Sell

One of the most common mistakes you can make as a business owner or manager on Twitter is to try to sell to your followers and audience before you make a connection with them.


Would you buy from somebody you just met on the street?

If you want your brand to be perceived as valuable and interesting to customers who are interested in your services and products, you need to use Twitter as a platform for making and nurturing connections with a long-term perspective.


Always think about helping people before asking anything in return.

Share useful content, enter conversations where you can add value, help people out whenever you can and @reply more than you tweet.

Do these things to create a relationship with your followers, and they’ll welcome your relevant offers.

Engage first, sell later.

#3: Respond to Customers Quickly

Twitter is not email. People who reach out to you on Twitter expect that you’ll respond promptly, especially when they have problems with your service or the issue is time-sensitive.

Fans and potential customers will interact with you once you have a presence on Twitter. When they do, it’s important that you respond very quickly to their questions and requests for help.


Social media–savvy companies know that speed is very important.

If you don’t have a complete answer, acknowledge the sender’s tweet immediately and let him or her know you’ll follow up with a complete answer as soon as possible.


Even if you can’t answer their question, your effort will be appreciated.

Shoot for a 20- to 30-minute time frame for responses.

#4: Post Consistently

Tweet 20 times per day for a month, then disappear for 3 weeks and the pattern will send a message of inconsistency to your audience.

Nothing outlined in the previous three steps will work unless you manage your Twitter account consistently.

Set a frequency for posting; for example, at least 3 times per day—and stick to that as closely as possible.

Use online services like Buffer to schedule your tweets and retweets at certain times of the day and week. Any content you place in your queue will automatically share from your account throughout each day.


Use a scheduling tool to help you deliver tweets on a regular basis.

Maintain a steady flow of tweets to create confidence in your comfort with the medium.

#5: Face Your Critics

Bill Cosby once said he didn’t know the recipe for success, but knew the one for failure: try to please everybody. There will always be someone who doesn’t like your brand or doesn’t agree with your view on certain topics.

If your tweet or something related to your business is criticized on Twitter, what matters is how you react.

Deleting your tweet may seem like a quick fix, but it’s a huge mistake. Everything on social media is permanent, and screenshots of anything you delete can end up hurting more than a live tweet.


Dr Phil’s controversial tweet was deleted, starting #DrPhilQuestions trend.

Dark Horse Espresso responded in this way to a customer complaining about the number of power outlets in their premises:


Dark Horse Espresso’s response means “We don’t care about you.”

To protect your reputation in the face of potential negativity on Twitter, there are a few definite do’s:

  • Respond as quickly as possible.
  • Keep your response positive.
  • State the facts and your opinion clearly.
  • Apologize if necessary.

Dealing with critics properly will reinforce your opinion or minimize the damage of your mistakes.

#6: Automate Responsibly

Too much automation of your Twitter account can hurt your image.

It’s okay to use automation and scheduling tools such as Buffer, If This Then That and others if you want to:

  • Synchronize other social media updates with your Twitter feed
  • Welcome new followers with a non-spammy direct message
  • Preset a time-sensitive update
  • Tweet at a certain pace through the day or week

But you do not want to use too much automation. Your followers want to feel a connection with the person behind your account and your business.


Automation is best used in moderation. Image: iStockPhoto

Use automation to help you manage your updates, but remember that Twitter is a platform that thrives on the almost instant flow of conversation. You’ll need to be there in person to make your efforts there successful.

Your Personal Takeaways

Although Twitter moves fast, any missteps you make can stay with you and damage your reputation with followers and potential customers.

Use these tips as a starting point to create your reputation for managing a successful Twitter account.

What do you think? What’s your experience with Twitter reputation management? What tips can you add to the conversation? Please leave your comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • Speedy Gas

    Great tips! Some very useful tools I didn’t know about, thanks!

  • Dan

    Glad you liked the article 🙂

  • christinajosephone

    Thanks DAN,

    Good article for reference. Might be useful for me or other.. Great work!. Keep it up.

  • Dan

    Thanks Christina 😉

  • Gonzolecture ™

    It’s good & I think you hit the crux if twitter more towards the end when u talk about relationships & response. I don’t see that much proper use of Twitter on my timeline & I have over 40k following. The interactions I do have amidst the spammy selling are golden.

  • Dan

    I agree, most of these are not common practice!

  • You’re singing my tune, Dan.. This, this, THIS! Been saying and writing much of this for years. SM is about connections, so obviously #2 is key – relationships before the sale. Everything else goes into that, such as engaging w/ customers and facing critics – though that coffee shop story intrigues me, as do they not offer WiFi and a virtual office by way of attracting coffee buyers??? Still, great example.

    About the automation – I totally and completely agree it has its place and should be done responsibly. For example, you shouldn’t automate your Twitter to parrot another feed or RT a bunch of posts without have first them read (#1), know that they’re what you want customers to see, be of value to THEM. To that end, businesses should be careful about what they cross-post (automatic or not) to different networks. Followers on FB may be very different than LI, G+, Pinterest and/or Twitter, so the content should vary accordingly and not seem like auto-babble broken record. As to the welcome auto-DM, that always seems spammy to me; I’d rather an @ reply. MMV.

    I’m also not sure about deleting a tweet “always” being a mistake. Often yes, it was sent and there’s no point trying for the take back and not only b/c someone will always find them. It’s just.. there have been times when things were truly sent in error, mistaken from personal account or by SM agency, or just poor judgement and the brand realized it too late. So leaving that bad tweet out there, even w/ all the apology and correction tweets, it almost seems like it’d be an endorsement or approval from the company? IDK I’ve got my PR hat on and part of protecting brand reputation and facing critics is showing that when mistakes are made, you’ll step in and correct them. FWIW.

  • Dan

    Thanks Davina, glad you liked these tips.

    About deleting a tweet: if what we’re talking about is a simple error like a tweet sent incomplete or a typo, then I’ll say ok, delete it. Sometimes though brands just take back what they say, hoping nobody will notice. That is a mistake IMHO.

  • Some very useful tips here, Dan! I strongly agree with you on Facing our
    Critics. We certainly cannot please everyone, and it’s important to face
    critics up front and in a timely manner. Great post!

  • Dan

    Thanks John!

  • Mike

    Not sure I agree with the Dark Horse part though, maybe they don’t want to attract the laptop crowd and so chose to reply in that way to alienate them, after all who is to say that if the place wasn’t full of laptops sitting there for hours and hours with their one cup of coffee, more non business types might frequent the establishment, buying more, spending more and with a quicker turn around of paying customers brining in higher profits. Whilst their wording and approach could have been politer, their aims may well have been met

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for these great tips!

    I wish everyone would follow: #2: Form Relationships Before You Sell. I see this problem on LinkedIn. People don’t even know you, and they ask you to buy their book or write a review. How can you buy something or write a review if you don’t know the person?

    I’m trying to get better with creating a schedule. But I’m kind of a Twitter junkie and have a tendency to tweet the day away. 🙂

  • Dan

    Glad you liked the tips Amandah! You can use Buffer to distribute your tweets in the day

  • Dan

    Hi Mike, my feeling is that was not strategic. Also, don’t you think being unpolite ultimately alienates other types of customers too?

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks Dan! I keep forgetting about Buffer.

  • Great post, Dan. One thing I’ve realized is that responding quickly is always important, but you don’t have to have all the answers right away. As long as you’re transparent and provide enough info for the meantime, your customers will love you just as much!

  • Good stuff Dan. As a predominantly webisodic series company we channel people to our main site not to sell but to entertain, but a lot of these concepts still apply. Although, a lot of who we are and follow on Twitter are comedy based to draw in the right demographic. And deleting a Tweet now and then is done in good taste as some of my jokes personally can get very “blue”.and/or misunderstood absurd. I forget it’s not 4am EVERYWHERE. But, good job all in all from our end at Iron Core.

  • Nicholas Garrison

    I am new to Twitter. Thanks for the tips

  • Deborah Stacey

    I’m new to Twitter and found this very useful. Right away I was able to use your suggestion to welcome new followers using a direct message. Thanks Dan!

  • I’m glad you mentioned that Twitter is not email (as stated in number 3 above). Since Twitter is such an instantaneous platform, you can’t just get back to your customer/ follower whenever you feel like it. There’s a level of expectancy there.

    A lot of research shows that you have at most two hours to get back to someone on Twitter or else they’ll complain about you or your company in very public ways. Definitely a wise idea not to let that happen.

    Thanks for writing this, Dan! Very informative.

  • Dan

    Thanks. Sure Sarah, just something to make people feel listened to. Just as Cineplex did in my example.

  • Dan

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sure

  • Dan

    You’re welcome Nicholas. You can learn more with Mashable’s Twitter Guide:

  • Dan

    Glad you liked it Deborah

  • Dan

    Thank you for reading, James. People definitely expect companies to get back quickly! Unfortunately some don’t understand they need to have people managing social media…

  • Awesome tips! Especially the 1st, 3rd and 5th!

  • Dan

    Thanks for reading Moin

  • My pleasure Dan! Keep writing 🙂

  • @BarbaraG22

    I loved everything you’ve written and I’ve known this is the way to go for quite a while but I still find it very difficult to find a balance between being on Twitter for longer than I really have time for and not finding enough time at all. Is it best for me to schedule several times during the day to dip in and out. I know I can schedule my own tweets but I need to see what others are tweeting too. Thanks for your blogs. They’re all good on this site, whether they’re new things or timely reminders. Barbara

  • Dan

    Hi Barbara, I get what you mean! It’s either too little or too much. My advice? Start scheduling tweets with Buffer, and log on a couple of times per week.

  • Great Tips… #3 is something I try to work on hardest and see sooooooo many people/businesses fail at. I intentionally test the waters on it with people just to see.

  • Dan

    I agree many fail at #3 Jason

  • Great Tips @danielevirgillito:disqus !! I love the 5th point Face you critics :).

  • Dan

    Thanks Karan!

  • Thanks for giving me another source to quote. I regularly try to convince clients that SOCIAL media is for building relationships. Make friends or fans first before you try to sell them anything. And remember that it’s even OK if some followers never become customers, because their interaction with your brand is still a form of endorsement.

  • Dan

    “Their interaction with your brand is still a form of endorsement”: I totally agree!

  • Sweet pointers Dan! I’m feeling ya on #2 & #6. Whenever someone follows me, the first thing I do is check their tweet history to see if there’s been dialogue with other people. The automated sales pitch is a natural turn off for me. I’m surprised more marketers don’t get this right. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Dan

    Thanks for reading

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  • Devon Warren

    My tip: Keep it simple, and do it your way, with respect for everyone and everybody elses work.

    Be spontaneous, think twice before you twitt or say nothing at all if it isn’t truly worth saying.

    Happy twitting : )

  • Dawn Montgomery

    I discovered one of my Followers was creating RT’s/quotes attributed to me.

  • Love ‘Too much automation of your Twitter account can hurt your image’

    I’ve long felt automation must be used with the utmost discretion !