September 29

Twitter: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (plus 3 tips for better engagement)

Social Media


Last week I had an interesting exchange with a digital agency that illustrated perfectly how to do social media wrong…

It started when I was followed on Twitter by a local web/digital agency.

As usual I said Hi, and we have a brief conversation, exchanging a few tweets. The person behind the avatar seemed like a decent sort, and I made a mental note to add them to my network of local web talent.

But then, checking my stream the next morning I saw something that jarred:


Well, I thought… that seems rather odd and impersonal considering the conversation we had just a few hours earlier. And sent at 1.30am too.

Roll on another 24 hours and I awoke a mention from the self-same agency directing me to a web page about web design errors. I read the page with gusto, but came away disappointed. They clearly didn’t take the time to look at the CubeSocial site. If they had, they would have immediately seen that we had got all those things covered.

The next day… the same ‘@’ message pointing to the very same web page… Now this is just getting spammy.

Checking back I learned that the agency was using a virtual assistant in another time zone to send out tweets overnight.

What Went Wrong

  • First off the VA didn’t check what his colleague had already been tweeting about before jumping into conversation with me.
  • Second he didn’t research me or my company before targeting (spamming) me with irrelevant links.
  • Third he didn’t even track what he had already sent me the day before.

If you have several people tweeting from one account, it’s imperative that you use the right tools to enable the conversation to continue seamlessly as you shift from one operator to the next.

How You Can Avoid Making the Same Mistakes

  1. Get the right people
    Remember that whoever is behind the twitter account represents your brand. If they do a poor job, your entire company looks bad. As we’ve said before – just as you wouldn’t send the office junior to a networking event, don’t leave them in charge of your social media
  2. Tweet in convoy
    Don’t outsource your social media activity. No-one can reflect your brand and your values like you and your employees can. If you can, keep the tweeting in-house and encourage everyone in your organisation to do a little bit whenever they can.
  3. Use the right tool for the job
    If you are going to tweet in convoy, use a tool that helps you track what all your colleagues and partners have been saying to each contact, so that you can all respond in a professional way.

CubeSocial Contact HistoryWhen we created CubeSocial we wanted to enable teams of people to work effortlessly together on your organisations social media activity. CubeSocial lets you easily track the conversations all your staff and partners are having with your clients and prospects, and makes it easy to research contacts social media profiles before you jump into conversation.

If only the VA in this case had been using CubeSocial, they would have been easily able to avoid all three of the errors they made.

About the author 

Mark Bower

Co-founder of Basingstoke startup @CubeSocial. Windows Azure developer, some-time blogger, social media geek & northerner down south. Google Profile

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  1. Interesting read Mark, particularly as a friend asked me yesterday if I wanted to start ‘ghost tweeting’ on his behalf. I told him all the negatives of doing this but it seemed to make him even keener! I can see ‘ghost tweeting’ etc becoming a growing area of work for people and no doubt a large body of related ‘netiquette’ will evolve.

    Nice seamless move to the plug at the end too!

    1. Ironically, so can I. The outsourced call centre model if you will. There are cost savings for the company. But as a customer, who likes dealing with call centres…?

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