5 Commonly Misunderstood Things on Twitter

June 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Twitter Marketing Tips

As Twitter evolves, many things become either forgotten or ignored. There are mistakes that people make because they’re new or unaware, but sometimes people just don’t do certain things because they’re not reminded of their functions. Here are 5 common things people tend to lose track of.

1. Starting a Tweet with an @
This is certainly the top mistake I see being made on Twitter. They want to mention somebody by their Twitter name but they don’t realize that when you start a Tweet with an @, the only people who see it are the people who follow you and that person. This wasn’t the case before May 2009 or so when Twitter changed it.

To get around it, many people will start a Tweet with a period but I prefer when people rework their sentence so it doesn’t seem so obvious. Something like “So @somebody and I were at dinner….”

2. Putting your Twitter profile address in the URL field
All Twitter users have a few profile fields they can use for information like name, location, a small bio and website. Many people place their Twitter profile in the web address which serves no purpose. We already know that address because we are on it. Leave it blank or link out to somewhere else online – your blog, your Facebook profile, whatever.

3. Thinking the new RT feature is untrackable
The new RT feature has caused a bit of confusion but one of the things I see the most is when users say they don’t know who has RTed them using this new RT feature. A business once even held a contest recently and said “please RT us but don’t use the new RT feature…we can’t track it!” This isn’t right though. If you’re on Twitter.com, go to the “Retweets” link on the right side and click on the tab “Your Tweets, Retweeted.” Voila! You can see who has RTed you with the new RT functionality.

4. Asking all of Twitter to “DM for more info”
Businesses in particular seem to do this a lot. They have a job opening, for instance, and they say “we’re now hiring, DM for more info. Please RT” but here’s the problem: the people who read the message want to contact you probably won’t be able to DM you because you probably aren’t following them which leads to the awkward “hey, I’d like to DM you but you aren’t following me.” Just don’t say “DM for more info.” Use answers or something that all people on Twitter can do.

5. Not knowing how to favorite or “star” a Tweet
One of the handiest Twitter features is the ability to “favorite” a Tweet. You do this by clicking on the small star next to a Tweet. People use this for two main reasons: to bookmark links or to mark something they like.

When you bookmark a link, you can find them by going to the “Favorites” link on the right. Everything that you have favorited will appear there. I often favorite links when I’m using Twitter from my phone so I can go back and visit the sites later on my computer.

The other reason that people favorite Tweets is to “vote” for them. Twitter users who mostly use Twitter to entertain like to get stars (another term for favoriting a Tweet) as a means of approval. These users likely track their stars on a site like favstar.fm which displays your Tweets and the number of stars they’ve received.

Any other common mistakes you would add to this list?

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