There are many Twitter mistakes that small business owners should be wary about making. Some are more obvious than others.
Even though Twitter may seem fun and casual, and you may be tempted to tweet whatever you feel like, beware. Twitter is really a powerful social media tool that can often make or break your business' online marketing strategy and image.
So if you haven't yet, get with the micro-blogging program. Before you get too tweet-happy, though, consider these seven Twitter-related mistakes that business owners will want to avoid:
Not disclosing paid endorsements. The Federal Trade Commission requires anyone who's paid to endorse a product to disclose that in their tweet. So if you're giving something of value to your Twitter followers in hopes they'll promote your business in their tweets, make sure you remind them to disclose the fact that they've been paid to endorse your company.
Not following certain hashtag protocol. Hashtags are one of the easiest and most common ways for your business' Twitter account to get clicks. Remember to use them sparingly though (in the Twitter-verse, that's still pretty often), and to check what's popularly trending that day so that you stay relevant.
Linking to Twitter if you have a website for kids. The federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits website operators from collecting personal information from children under 13 without parental consent. Twitter happens to be one of the sites that doesn't use age-screening mechanisms, meaning that kids under 13 who access Twitter via your site might input personal information, which would violate COPPA.
Going on hiatus, or failing to offer a timely response. There's nothing that kills your Twitter page more than being inactive and not responding to your customers' tweets in a timely manner. Make sure you tweet consistently and respond to your customers quickly, to keep up the appearance of an active account and keeping up with proper Twitter protocol.
Sounding like a robot. One of Twitter's best features is being able to provide businesses with the ability to be more accessible. Make sure that while you maintain professionalism, you also still sound human.
Not following easy steps to prevent hacking. Hackers run rampant on Twitter and can end up tarnishing your business' account with annoying, unprofessional spam ads and viral messages. There are easy steps to take to prevent this from happening, such as updating your password, making it a secure one, and regularly scanning for viruses.
Don't think disclaimers will protect you. You're free to tack on whatever disclaimer you'd like on your business' Twitter feed, but just remember that they often (almost always) have no legal impact. In other words, they don't shield you from potential liability.