Do you hear a loud, banging noise?  That’s Q4 knocking on your door – ready to come in.  In preparation for the busiest quarter of the year, spend a little time housecleaning and updating your Twitter account!  You’re not on Twitter?  Then we need to talk.  Seriously.  With 310,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors – second only to Facebook, not taking advantage of this marketing gold mine is a crime.  Equally offensive?  Opening an account and not keeping it current.  Here are 5 Twitter behaviors to avoid – jailbreak away from them and improve your page’s effectiveness immensely.

1. Not putting in egg-stra effort.

If you don’t know what a Twitter egg is – it’s the default profile picture that’s given to every new account.  Not changing your profile picture from the default egg definitely gives off the message that you don’t care about your Twitter presence. Nameless, faceless, and not trustworthy.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sending out the most buzz-worthy tweets in the world!  It will do you no good if your profile picture is still showing up as an egg.  Your followers will assume you are a luddite, you’re too lazy, or you just don’t care.  In addition, most spammers create accounts and don’t change their avatar from the egg.  Don’t let potential followers think you’re just another fraudster or bot account!

To upload a profile picture:  Find the ‘edit profile’ button on the right hand side, just below the header photo.  Click it, and the option to change your photo to appear. By the way, the graphic will look best if it measures 400 x 400 pixels.

2. Not taking advantage of your Twitter header’s real estate.
Much like having a spiffy profile picture, the header photo should be top notch as well.  Especially since it’s so large!  What a great place to advertise your promotions, products or people.  Avoid uploading images that look pixelated or blurry.  The header photo should measure 1500 x 500 px, with 389 px of the height visible.  Don’t have the best graphic design skills?  Sites like Pagemodo can help you generate a professional looking header.  To get your creative juices going, here are some really great examples.

To upload a header photo:  Click the ‘edit profile’ button.  An option to edit will appear.

3. Not making your description/bio work for YOU.
Although this section is limited to 160 characters (yikes) don’t underestimate it’s marketing potential.  Avoid boring corporate speak!  Since you’re able to include a hyper-link, this is the perfect place to prompt your followers to take action.  Link to an item, page, or post that you’re trying to promote.  Change your description frequently to dovetail with your current marketing message.  Sell, sell, sell!

4. Not including #hashtags.
Think of hashtags as a way to index or categorize your tweet…and a very important way for others in the Twitter-sphere to FIND you.  Now we’re not saying load up your tweet with a gazillion hashtags – not only is that irritating to readers, it will also make the level of engagement with your tweet drop!

Rather, think strategically about what you’re posting and determine which #’s to include.  What tags will drive engagement?  Are you trying to promote a certain campaign?  Create a narrative?  Appeal to a certain audience?  The proper use of hashtags can be a seriously powerful marketing tool.  Not only do they help followers/customers find you, they enable YOU to find others to follow. Additionally, tweets that include 1 or 2 hashtags get 2 times more engagement than tweets without.  Not sure which #’s you should be using?  Spend a little time on Hashtagify – a great tool for analyzing and choosing hashtags.

5. Not taking advantage of your competitors’ followers.
It’s not illegal to follow people who currently follow your competitors!  In fact, it’s a brilliant way to market yourself to potential followers.  Make a list of those in your space with a Twitter page – then get to work!  Click the ‘followers’ button on their pages, then follow people you think might be interested in your page.  You’d be surprised at how quickly and effectively this technique generates new followers!