4 Mistakes Businesses Have Made On Twitter


With over 255 million active monthly users in the 1st quarter of 2014, Twitter has now become one of the most widely used social networking platforms worldwide next to Facebook (with 1.28 billion active monthly users) and Google+ (with 300 million active monthly users).

So, it’s not surprising to know that a growing number of marketers and businesses are now actively leveraging the platform in hopes of popularizing their brand and engaging with a wide-range of potential consumer demographics.

SEE ALSO: Tune-In Your Social Media For Better Customer Focus

With the ability to post text, images, and video, Twitter serves as a great content marketing tool, but it can also play host to a variety of branding faux pas.

Here are four mistakes businesses have made when leveraging the social media platform:

1. Drunk Posting

The beauty with Twitter is that it can be accessed instantly. However, there are times when it is better to stay disconnected, such as after a party.

This unwritten rule suggested by Susan Dolan of SEO Web Marketing was conceptualized after the PR fiasco which befell the Red Cross.

In 2012, a group of intoxicated administrators for the organization’s official Twitter handles accidentally tweeted:

Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… When we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.

Luckily, the crisis was averted in less than an hour when the brand noticed the reactions from upset followers. The brand counter-tweeted with:

We’ve deleted the rogue tweet, but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.

2. Using the Brand’s Handle For Personal Ventures

This is one of a mistake that is commonly committed by CEOs who are active on social media.

Instead of posting a valuable content for their followers to read, they post  selfies, an exclusive blow-by-blow blast on their private lives, or non-brand-related thoughts and reaction towards a political issue using their brand’s Twitter handle.

Using a brand’s Twitter account for personal exposure can sometimes lead to a social media fiasco.

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Don’t share your favorite sports team on your business’ Twitter handle for there’s a great possibility that some of your clients and followers may be favoring the opposing team you side with.

Don’t share stories about your lifestyle if it is not relevant to the nature of your business. Remember to always keep your audience in mind. Spamming your followers with content that they can’t relate with is also not a great way to endear them to your brand. Same goes for sharing a personal remark about a controversial political issue.

One example of this Twitter fiasco was Microsoft’s notorious tweet on September 22, 2012 saying:

@RBReich your granddaughter’s level of discourse and policy > those of Ann Coulter.

Although it was an accidental tweet, it made the apolitical Microsoft appear as a partisan company with a political affiliation and bias.

3. Unprofessional Subtweeting

“Subtweeting” is anonymously Tweeting about something or someone (such as your competitors) without using your official business handle.

Wise Outreach, on its Twitter Advice 2014 edition article, suggested that the practice of subtweeting is a risky and desperate move for a company or an organization. Apart from losing your brand’s credibility, it looks cowardly if you get caught.

SEE ALSO: 3 Reasons Social Media Is Good For Business


This happened to Samsung when they hired a large number of designated employees and other writers to bash HTC on Taiwanese forums, blogs, and social media channels.

The mobile giant was fined with over $340,000 after they were caught.

4. Poor Newsjacking Strategy

“Newsjacking” pertains to the practice of using relevant or trending topics and using them in your brand’s personal marketing strategy or campaign.

In July 2012, #Aurora  was trending on Twitter after the movie theater shootings. Celeb Boutique posted the tweet:

#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)

The insensitive post was bombarded with negative feedback coming from offended users.

The campaign showed a complete disregard for all the people who were affected, alienating their users and showing insensitivity with their newsjacking.

These are some of the common mistakes made by business on Twitter. Hopefully, this will serve as a guide on how you can leverage the social media tool for your business. Avoiding this mishaps can help your brand avoid the pitfalls of social media marketing.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Sookie Lioncourt is a freelance writer specializing on marketing campaigns and social media strategies. Her background involves internship for an advertising agency in London. As an aspiring entrepreneur, she hopes to start her own business empire someday. Connect with her on LinkedIn.