Twitter Mistakes to Avoid

A word cloud of hashtags inTwitter Blue with the main words The Hashtag Pound Sign.

Avoid Social Media #Fails by Considering User Sentiments

Twitter was born of the instant message/text message mania that now keeps teens and adults alike glued to their smartphones. Tweets are kept forever unless deleted, but the social media outlet moves so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. Having just 140 characters to work with has fostered innovations such as Hashtags and text-speak.

Among the biggest pitfalls for companies using social media is the social gaff. Like the awkward party goer who makes an inappropriate joke among the wrong crowd, brands have to be careful about what they say, because the global crowd encompasses everyone in the world.

#Hashtag Conversations

Do not use hashtags in a tweet, Facebook post, or Google Plus post without first researching the tag. As Di Giorno pizza recently learned, not every hashtag is suitable for use by brands.

To recap, Ray Rice is an NFL Football Player recently banned from the league after a video surfaced that showed him knocking his wife out with a punch to the face. After the video surfaced and the NFL took action, a number of women were sharing their own stories of abuse on twitter using the hashtags #WhyILeft and #WhyIStayed. The person who tweets for Di Giorno Pizza saw the hashtags trending and tweeted without looking at the hashtag first.

#WhyIStayed You Had Pizza

It was meant as a joke without realizing what the hashtag was used for. The tweet was deleted just seconds later when the tweeter realized their mistake, but Di Giorno spent the next two days making individual apologies to outraged twitter users.

Tragic Events

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are a horrible memory for many people in the United States. The day is now remembered as Patriot Day and it seems that many brands have not learned to stay away. When brands tweet in remembrance on days like this, even without mention of their brand, the reaction of many is that they are capitalizing on that day.

The fact is, people don’t see brands as people because most of the time, brands don’t act like people. While we could have a discussion about how that should change, it won’t alter the fact that people react badly to corporate tweets on days of remembrance.

What did people applaud? Check out this tweet from Verizon on September 10, 2014. Note the absence of the #911NeverForget or #NeverForget hashtags.

In observance of 9/11, this handle will be silent tomorrow. We will resume sharing on September 12.

A few other brands did not tweet about 9/11 and used the day only to respond to tweets directed at them. The proverbial “moment of silence” won the day.


When Auburn University lost the BCS Championship, Denny’s tweeted a picture of a map that showed 47 locations along the route home. The tweet had garnered more than 6200 retweets and 2800 favorites within three weeks.

If it’s any consolation to Auburn fans, there are 47 chances to win on the way home #BCSChampionship #BCS

Clearly this tweet was a winner and an example of how newsjacking can work very well for brand engagement.

But not every newsworthy event is worthy of newsjacking. When Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey, The Gap tried to suggest that people should stay home and take advantage of online sales by shopping at The Gap.

All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of shopping today. How about you?

The accompanying picture included text that read, “In case you’re bored during the storm, 20% off everything – for the next 36 hours” and included a graphic of the area Sandy was expected to impact.

Many consumers reacted badly while high profile blogs and websites publicly called the brand out for the misstep. It wasn’t a good day for American Apparel.

Take Away

Twitter Mistakes to Avoid!

Anything that involves tragedy or disaster is a poor choice for brand promotion, even if the intent is not promotion and truly represents sentiment. #NeverForget is a phrase and hashtag closely associated with the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Don’t turn your brand into one that people never forget for the wrong reason.


So, keep this article in mind “Avoid these three twitter Mistakes-Look before you Tweet!”

Image: Hashtag Cloud by Morganimation



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Promoting Products on Blogs

Honey in a jar with clamped lid, dipper, and yellow flowers.

Good blog posts can draw attention to your products.


Promoting products on blogs.

Blog posts about company product offerings are a good way to inform potential customers about the value behind the goods your company offers.

A product blog post done the right way has the potential to increase visitors to your website, but it is just as easy to turn potential customers off and send them looking elsewhere. It is not the place to add a ‘Buy’ button or pitch the product. Use landing pages for those purposes and prompt blog visitors with a more subtle call to action.

Here’s a look at several different post formats you can use to draw visitors without using the hard sell or by repeating product descriptions.

Related News

Most products fill a need, which is caused by an effect. Raincoats and umbrellas keep people dry when it rains. A forecast by a noted authority about a long, wet summer is an effect that could increase raincoat and umbrella sales.

Creating a news item about an event or effect such as a long-range weather forecast provides a way to increase attention on a product. Even when the forecast won’t affect everyone that reads the blog post, it still draws attention to the website and promotes the products sold by the company.


When people are just beginning their search for product information, their interest is broad and they are attracted by posts that give information about a product, or how that product is used, or what makes a particular company’s product unique.

The first high-tech breathable fabric used to make rain gear confused people. How could a material that allowed your skin to perspire normally and dissipate the moisture through the coat also keep the rain out. Numerous outdoor and work publications highlighted articles about the material and explained how it worked, as well as describing the rain gear made from it.

The articles were very successful in selling the new rain gear made from the material without including a sales pitch. People wanted the comfort offered by the new high-tech material and were willing to pay ten times the cost of a regular vinyl raincoat to get it.


Tips provide small tidbits of information about using the product in some way, or perhaps using it in a different manner than most people expect. A website that sells camping equipment might include a blog post with tips that camping enthusiasts find useful. For example, after purifying water by boiling it, a coffee filter will remove sand and other suspended material and make the water more palatable.

This leads to several opportunities to point users in the direction of products—in this case perhaps to an overview about water purifiers which offers an alternative to boiling water.

An important point about tips is that they often don’t provide a lot of content. Use pictures to show two or three simples steps along with the text, and include multiple tips on a page.


The How-To article is yet another way to draw interested viewers. How-to articles are a series of steps that explain a process. Content farms did big business with this type of article, especially with home improvement. Although the farms have been disappearing of late, the method still works very well withing the scope of the product website, and provides a way to show users how a product is used.

The camping website mentioned in the previous section could include a how-to article on building a fire using a flint and striker. Once again there is the opportunity to link to a product.

Use direct, active speech and avoid obvious steps such as opening boxes, removing packaging material, or reading directions. Begin steps with action words – “Break the kindling into small pieces.”

Provide a clear path from the first step to the last.

Be concise, be informative, and provide user-friendly content from a professional point of view that gives visitors confidence in the information you’ve provided. Add subtle calls to action such as links to other content. Incorporate a sidebar into the company blog website design that is separate from the post to point users at related products they will find useful.

Image: Grafvision

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