10 Things That Make You Look Bad On Twitter

We have all made mistakes when tweeting or posting on our social media platforms.  Who hasn’t posted something with a spelling mistake or syntax error, right?

However there is a difference between making a mistake on Twitter, which we are all good at forgiving, and looking bad on Twitter. When you begin to look bad on Twitter, people don’t want to follow you anymore.  Ideal prospects can become annoyed, or frustrated, or feel that you are insincere.

Looking bad on Twitter can hurt your brand and your bottom line. Avoid these 10 mistakes to ensure that you will keep the community you’ve built.

1.  You LOVE the CAPS LOCK button

When you type in ALL CAPS it translates as ‘screaming’ or ‘yelling’.   No one wants to be yelled at.

Instead, if you are going to use all capital letters, use it for a single word.  For example, “Don’t go through life, GROW through life.”

In this instance, I put the word “grow” in all caps because I wanted to emphasize the word change. I wanted to add further power to the word “grow”.

With all caps, it is best to use the philosophy; less is more.

2.  You like to complain!

Ever read a friend’s tweets, only to feel bombarded by their endless tirades and complaints? It’s like they have found their 140 character soap box.  How does it make you feel?

Twitter is not a place to endlessly voice your complaints. It may feel like an easy outlet because you can release without experiencing any sort of major backlash.  But, behind the scenes, in a quieter, less obvious way, your followers are beginning to ‘unfollow’ you and you are doing damage to your reputation.

Remember, what you post on the web, stays on the web forever.  If you are feeling out of sorts or need to complain, pick up a physical journal and then burn the paper afterward.  You would be surprised how much more satisfying and freeing this can be.

3.  You Act Like a Know-It-All 

No one likes a know-it-all.  We didn’t in Elementary school and we certainly don’t now. Part of the beauty of being an expert is that you are comfortable with the fact that you don’t know it all.

Followers have more fun engaging in a conversation with you than they do in simply gleaning facts and tips and techniques from you.

4.  You Only Share Quotes & Pictures 

Quotes and pictures are fun. They can be inspiring and engaging.  However, if that’s ALL you post, followers will lose interest.  They want to read what you have to say.  They want to know about your thoughts and ideas.

In only sharing quotes, you put up a wall and make it harder for your followers to get to know you.

Share your own thoughts and ideas! Then, ask for feedback.

5.  You Ignore Your Followers

You worked HARD to gain your followers. Don’t blow it by ignoring them.  Each one is a potential customer or joint venture partner.  If you never truly engage with them, you will never make a sale on Twitter.

Not convinced? Okay, let’s run a little scenario. Maybe you have 1000 followers and through real engagement you can convert many of them to customers.  Even if you only convert 5%, that’s still 50 new customers! Wouldn’t you like to have 50 more sales?

6.  You don’t leave space to Retweet!

Yes, you have 140 characters, but if you use them all, then your followers have a hard time retweeting.  Worse yet, you leave it up to your followers to cut or abbreviate your tweet.

Part of the fun of retweeting is that you get to share why you like the tweet so much. If there is no room to do that, where is the joy in retweeting?

As a rule of thumb, try to keep your tweets to 120 characters or less.

7. You don’t share the love

You love it when others promote you on Twitter, right? Therefore, keep the energy of giving and receiving high by promoting others in your tweets as well. Retweeting or @mentioning a follower can go a long way in building your know, like and trust factor.

8.  You self-promote ALL the Time!

It is important that you talk about your business and share links to blogs and promotions and the like. However, this should not make up more than 25% of your marketing message!

Anything more than 25% and it feels like you care more about your bottom line you are your connections.  We have all seen the people who do it.  Suddenly your Twitter feed is full of self-promotion tweets from the same person or you recognize a tweet from a specific person and don’t click on it because you know it’s a sales pitch. Right?

Don’t become known as the over-self-promoter.

9. You Overload on #Hashtags

Ex.  I #love #earlgreytea in the #morning!! #inspiration #wakingup #am

Just because you can use hashtags, doesn’t mean they need to be apart of every sentence.  Hashtags should be left to your keyword phrases and one social linking phrase.

For example, with the above tweet, I need to make a decision: Do I want to connect with earl grey tea drinkers, or do I want to connect with those just waking up? Going for both is splitting my focus and hurting my chances of connecting with either group.

10. You Ask General Questions

Don’t be the person to get onto Twitter and ask, “How’s everyone doing?”  This is a vague question that makes no one feel special.

A vague question leaves the follower wondering, “do you really want to know, or are you just asking because you think you should?”  Insincerity can quickly hurt your know, like and trust factor.

Get specific with your questions, “What are you doing to boost your energy this afternoon? I’m eating a #lunabar.” ßAren’t you more interested in engaging, now?

Who knew that there were so many things you could do “badly” in 140 characters. Don’t worry. We are all learning and everyone makes mistakes.  You are doing the right thing by becoming aware of twitter do’s and don’ts.  Take what you’ve learned here and begin watching how you tweet.

What’s one action you are going to improve upon with your tweets now?

Please comment and share…


  1. says

    Some great points, Kim! I especially like the last 5 but all 10 are on the money …  I might also add that while it's nice to be 'conversational,' a little of this goes a long way … To this end, if I'm following someone who's constantly tweeting "Good one @soandso!" … "Can you relate @soandso?" … "Did you catch that @soandso?" etc., since I'm not in the convo loop (and have no clue what they're referring to!), I'll unfollow even if I enjoy some of their other content …

  2. says

    Hi Kim,
    I love you emails and the suggestions you have. Been there done that. I've tested questions, and the ones that actually get the best feedback and interaction are the ones with specific questions and interaction from my side.
    Many thanks

  3. says

    Great information, Kim. I learn something from you every time we "meet!" I will leave room for retweets going forward. Thanks also for the official reminder calling for less self-promotion; too many of my clients want to avoid social media altogether because they don't want to appear like all they do is bang their own drum. I tell them their instincts are correct — and encourage them to jump into social media. 

  4. says

    Great article Kim.  These should be guidelines for everyone who signs up for Twitter!!  It's great having  all of these tips in one place as a reminder of just how important it is to be engaging in the right way.   Probably my biggest pet peeve is the "self-promotion" tweep!   It definitely will make me think every time I tweet!!!  Thanks for sharing!!

  5. says

    IMHO, saying do not  self-promote ALL the Time! it's a too wide statement. There are brands that precisely do that on Twitter and they are very successful. If you build a specific audience interested only in your products and services (e.g your discounts& offers), I don't see any problem with self-promoting.

  6. Flors says

    Hi Kim! Thanks for sharing with us this tips. I find them very useful since I have started using Twitter recently and I have noticed that most people tweet based on quotes. Don't get me wrong, i like quotes but this makes everything sound kind of impersonal to me. Flors

  7. says

    Hey Kim great post, I agree with most of your list. There are some people, businesses or blogs I follow or follow me in question. Yes it is true that there are self loathers that clearly do not understand the word over-bearing.
    I can appreciate HI SOCIALS(sorry for the CAP LOCK button thingy…haha)statement, but also I am in agreement with you. So if we were taking a  poll right now, we would have just come up with 50%.
    See you, everywhere! Promote you, everywhere! Be you, everywhere! Just made that up.
    ~ Cheers

  8. Philip Howard says

    Thank you for the advice…. no matter that we know these things in face to face dealings…. it is often the small things we miss, that actually make the bigger picture worth looking at… 
    Q: is a personal/business website more effective than the social media one?.. and if one has a personal/business site with the appropriate social media links… How does one get the "traffic" – I write music reviews and want to now go off on my own…

  9. Charles Flemming says

    Sorry to be late to the discussion…
    I'm not too thrilled with auto DMs. Especially from people who don't follow back. Or when it's just an excuse to spam. Or both.

  10. says

    I have a confession to make – I tend to trim the people I am following, simply because my newsfeed tends to become nightmarish and I miss the tweets that matter the most to me. I must be a slow learner – what do I do?
    Meanwhile, thanks for a very informative post.

    • Kim GarstKim Garst says

      Build some lists on Twitter, Victor…it will really save you a ton of time and you can keep up with those that you want to very easily without ‘trimming’ followers 😉

  11. says

    Hello Kim,
    Thank you so much for the tips! I am the one making lots of mistakes :(. I will be doing my best to apply some of your tips. Have a lovely week!

  12. says

    I have posted some tweets with too many hashtags, I will now focus on 1-2 thanks. Also I will not ask the vague how are you doing question. Great tips
    Look what Marilyn just posted..Tip TuesdayMy Profile

  13. says

    I think the only thing I don’t do is go hard on the caps…oh, and I don’t have 25,000 followers to contend with, so that’s a good thing I guess, ’cause then I don’t have to hear 25,000 replies when I ask, “How’s everybody doing?” :) Great article!
    Look what Sandra just posted..Shit I hate…My Profile

  14. says

    May I add my own particular hate to the list, namely Twitter accounts which follow you but then unfollow you when you follow them back? Sometimes it’s even done within 24 hours! Some of those who do it even claim to be Social Media experts! Presumably it’s done to artificially boost follower to following ratios but don’t these people realise there are tools to track unfollowers so that they can be “unfollowed” back? It’s all a time consuming waste of time. I always “unfollow” back because to me it’s a signal that these persons or businesses are not interested in any meaningful relationship with you and just see you as someone to spam. It would be far better for everyone though if this discredited tactic just simply stopped.
    Look what Patrick Clarke just posted..Common Office Rental Mistakes – Six to Avoid Making When Hiring an OfficeMy Profile

  15. says

    I have come across many people on twitter that follows me and when i followed back, they will unfollow me. Well, i do check my twitter followers every week so if i follow people that does not follow back, i simply unfollow that person, why? Because i feel that that person doesn’t find me valuable, so why wasting my time with them??

    You have shared some mistakes most people make on twitter and thumbs up.
    Look what adeem just posted..Comment on Free Social Media Icons in Various Shapes and Sizes by Tips To Provide Customer Service Via Social Media – BloggingForDollarzMy Profile

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