How to Fail at Twitter with Lazy Community Building

Bottom Shape

Krista Neher

Jul 23 2014

I’ve been on Twitter since early 2007, and recently, I’ve noticed more and more businesses are joining Twitter and totally screwing up their “community building” or whatever it is they are trying to do.

When I logged into Twitter today, I had the 3 Tweets waiting for me to view. All from businesses/organizations, none of which I’ve ever talked about. They are mentioning me in their Tweets as a way to get my attention. The problem is that rather than striking up a conversation with me about something I’m interested in, they are basically just advertising at me.

Twitter marketing fail

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You can’t just identify people that you’d like to do your marketing for you and send them Tweets about your business. It is annoying, makes you look bad and amateur.

We do business with people we KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Build these elements first and people will happily Re-Tweet you. Asking me to RT something when I don’t know who the hell you are is just stupid.


Telling me about your business by calling me out on Twitter is just annoying. I don’t follow you, I don’t know you, so don’t try to sell me crap on Twitter.

I’m on Twitter to share and connect with people – NOT TO HAVE BUSINESSES ADVERTISE AT ME.


Honestly, this is social media 101, and I find it surprising to see smart businesses still making these mistakes.
What blows my mind is that Twitter is extremely powerful at outreach and community building if you take the time to do it right.


How to Do Community OutReach on Twitter:

1) Identify the Influencers or the People You Want to Reach

Start by deciding who you want to reach and identify the people who are already interested in and talking about what you do. I hate bourbon (it seriously grosses me out – even the smell), and have never talked about it online (although in fairness I have done the bourbon trail twice).  Know who you really should be reaching.

2) Start ACTUAL conversations with them based on common ground.

If I had actually shared something about Bourbon the distillery could have started a conversation. The conversation would have made me interested to learn about what they do, and I would have discovered the business.

3) Don’t intrude.

Don’t intrude on my conversations with an ad. Talk, share and discuss. Act like you give a crap.

4) Don’t ask for things from people you don’t know.

Seriously, I’m not on Twitter to promote your business to my friends and followers. Why would you even ask me to?

5) Talk, share and discuss.

The art of conversation is about finding areas of mutual interest and discussing – where both parties contribute. “Hey @KristaNeher check out the stuff we sell” isn’t a discussion…. There isn’t even something for me to say to that. Cool? Congratulations? Oh, except that I don’t know you and don’t care.

6)What’s in it for them?

If you are asking someone for something (to RT or click) remember to ask what is in it for them? Are they your friend and they’ll be happy to do you a favor?  Will they look important? Are you promoting their content and making them look smart? Seriously, why would they want to help you if they don’t know you?

OK, so this was kind of a rant (I did try to share some tips)…. But seriously – just because you can talk to people publicly on Twitter, doesn’t mean that they want you to.

Build Relationships First

PS – If you’d like to learn how to do this RIGHT, we’ll have a beginner and advanced Twitter training course available online next month.

stop the twitter spam

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