Twitter is by far my favorite social media site to use for my personal life. I just enjoy the fact that I can scroll down a timeline and see: news story, meme about the Cubs, news story, news story, meme about that news story, etc. There are some posts that only have the effect they do because they appear on Twitter. Twitter sees the birth and death of memes that are not posted anywhere but Twitter. While it is my favorite for personal use, I see some mistakes organizations make on Twitter that can be easily avoided. Here are the top five:

1. Not being social

About four months ago, I blog post about why “Social Media Must be Social.” While social media changes constantly, I feel it’s safe to say that this is something that will not change anytime soon. There are many reasons why it benefits both your organization and your audience to be social, but I outlined the three main reasons to be: to relate to your followers, to be trusted by your followers, and to be discovered by new followers. All three of these are essential to almost any organization. If you cannot relate to your audience, they cannot trust you, or they cannot even find you, you’ll have a hard time surviving (at least on social media).

2. Not monitoring it constantly

This could easily fall under point number one, but I think it deserves its own point. If you have an event (concert, sporting event, etc.) and you are not monitoring your social media during that event, you are doing it wrong. Whether it is one person’s job or multiple people who alternate, someone needs to constantly be monitoring mentions and direct messages. It can fall under point number one because being social requires tweeting back at someone who mentions you. If you are just on a soapbox pushing out content without engaging with your audience, you are not using social media to its full potential. Monitoring social during events can only make your customers happier. For example, in my role with the baseball team, I need to monitor social during a game. Once, someone tweeted a picture of a broken seat at us. Because we were monitoring social media, we alerted our Director of Stadium Operations and he fixed the seat mid-game. Most of the engagement during a game is positive, but we monitor it constantly because if we receive something negative, it needs to be addressed immediately.

3. Not hopping on trends

As I mentioned earlier, Twitter is very much a trend-driven social media platform. Trends come and go so quickly on it. I have made it a habit to periodically refresh the Trends tab on Twitter because if there is a trend happening that I feel we need to be a part of, content will need to be created quickly or else it will lose its value. Whether it’s a meme or a hashtag, keep your eyes peeled for trends your organization can join to be part of the conversation.

4. Hopping on too many trends

If you’re like me, you’ve seen that there has been a rise in “National _____ Day(s)” in the past couple years. While some of these are extremely fun to create content for (e.g. World Emoji Day which was just last week), others can be more outlandish like National Talk Like Shakespeare Day. While it can be tempting to hop on the trend train for every “national holiday,” do NOT do this. Jess Smith is the Senior Manager, Digital and Social Strategy for the Yankees and one of the best people to learn from in the social media community. On her blog, she wrote an article about how brands need to stop the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) saying, “We’ve become too focused on the external pressures of the internet and not focused enough on our own path, vision and brand. Somewhere along the line, FOMO and vanity metrics have replaced the need for a smart, strategic approach.” Let’s keep this in mind as we look for trends to join.

5. Not establishing a voice

Establishing a voice is key on Twitter not only because it builds your social brand, but also, I’ve found that it helps me decide what to say and how to say it. There are several different directions you can take an organization’s voice (take Wendy’s and Taco Bell for example), but the main point is that you need to stay true to that voice. It helps your audience feel like they can engage with you because they feel as though they know you and your organization’s “personality.”

If you’re doing Twitter right, it is tricky. If it’s easy, chances are you are not putting enough time and effort into it. Being social with your audience, discerning which trends to hop on, and establishing a voice are just some of the points you should focus on when managing Twitter. Have a clear strategy, but attack it with the agility to change directions at any moment.

Kyle Martin

Kyle is the New Media Engagement and Promotions Manager for the Columbia Fireflies, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Kyl3Martin.