I spend a lot of time on Twitter – the whole FlowReader team does.

It’s a great place to connect with new people, engage with your community, and discover great content. Twitter’s interactive nature is part of what makes it so popular, but it’s not without its own set of challenges.

There’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to make mistakes (we’ve made a lot) regardless of whether you’re just starting or you’ve been tweeting for years.

So, I’ve pulled together a quick list of 5 common Twitter mistakes we’ve seen people make or have made ourselves.

Hopefully, it will help improve your tweeting skills!

1) Not leaving enough character space.

Since most of us tend to skim online content, we’re more likely to skip tweets that are too long. So don’t use up all of your 140 characters, especially if you want to increase your retweets.

Your chances of a retweet decrease if people need to take time to edit your tweet. A good rule of thumb is to use about 120 characters or less on a tweet so people have enough room to add their own short comment without losing your username.

As an added plus, keeping your content short will also force you to get creative!

Pro Tip: Use a link shortener like Bit.ly, Goo.gl, or Hootsuite’s Ow.ly to save room. You’ll also be able to track who clicks on them to learn more about your community and the information you share.

2) Tweeting too little or too much.

How much you tweet is really a judgment call based on what works best for your goals and tastes. The most important thing is to make sure you strike a healthy balance.

Not tweeting enough can make you seem inconsistent or unmemorable, but tweeting too much can be very annoying for people. I used to follow someone who sent out about 6 tweets an hour all day long. It got to be that they were the only person in my timeline.

Needless to say, I no longer follow them.

My suggestion would be to try tweeting a few times a day to figure out the best times to interact with your followers based on when people respond. That way, you know to tweet during those times without the risk of over tweeting throughout the day.

3) Starting a tweet with someone’s @username.

This is fine if you want to have a conversation with one person. In fact, you should be @ replying to people’s tweets. It’s how you connect with others and make friends. However, you’ll limit the reach of your tweet to your followers and the name person’s followers if you start your tweet with an @ symbol.

Twitter is built to treat @ tweets as private tweets, which is great for those of us who don’t want to overwhelm people’s timelines. But if your aim was not to single a specific person, you can add a period before the @ symbol to get more exposure for your tweet.

tim ferriss tweet


Pro Tip:  You can add a zero-width space before a username to avoid using a period and broadcast your tweet to everyone. It looks like nothing is there. You can normally type Alt-8203 in Windows and here’s how to type one on a Mac.

4) Failing to respond.

Twitter was meant for conversation so failing to engage in the dialogue is a big mistake. When someone RTs, mentions, or in some cases, favorites one of your tweets – take the time to reach out. Anytime someone makes the effort to connect, you have an opportunity to learn from them and engage with them. Take advantage of it!

As a brand, this is imperative, but it’s relevant for personal accounts as well. Making sure you respond to people can enrich your entire Twitter experience and help you get more out of the community!

5) Not keeping it real.

Timelines can sometimes feel like an endless stream of promotion, inspirational quotes, and uplifting platitudes. Make sure you don’t get too caught up in talking about the best version of reality. Twitter was made for being social, so make sure you tweet about real stuff and don’t just fill up people’s feeds with wise words.

This doesn’t mean you should only share your latest meal or personal conversation with your followers. Instead, try to tweet useful resources and interesting information as well so your tweets add value, instead of simply contributing to the noise.

Bonus Mistake: Your username is hard to remember.

Usernames are probably not high on your list of things to improve on Twitter, but it’s important to choose a username that people can remember easily. If your username is too difficult, your followers will have to go and look you up every single time they want to tweet to you.

Who wants to do that regularly?

Additionally, choosing a username that’s easy to remember (preferably close to your real name) also shows people that you’re an authentic account.

Here’s a few extra tips to keep in mind when choosing a username:

  • Keep it short. It’s easier to mention you if people don’t have to be worried your username is going to eat up their character count.
  • Avoid using numbers. Numbers at the end of usernames are often associated with spam accounts. Similarly, you’ll also be hard to find if you’re just adding a number to the end of a popular name.
  • Be unique. Choosing a unique username can help your account standout on Twitter. The more unique your username is the easier it will be to find.

What are the most common Twitter mistakes you see people and brands making? 

We’d love to hear from you in the comments! You can also find us on Facebook or @flow_reader.