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How to Succeed on Twitter for Beginners – And How To Fail

The great thing about Twitter is that it’s easy to jump right in and start using, for business or personal reasons.

The worst thing about Twitter is that it’s easy to jump right in and start using, for business or personal reasons.

Yes, I’m saying that one of Twitter’s biggest assets is also one of its greatest flaws. The most common mistake I see is what’s called “mention spam“. If you don’t know what that is, here’s an example.

A stranger tweets you, usually with an ask or a link. They’ve never had a conversation with you, and if you look at their account, they are making the same request of every single person they’ve targeted.

This may seem innocuous if you aren’t sending malware, but you have to look at it in terms of (a) effectiveness and (b) putting your account in jeopardy.

Why Mention Spam Doesn’t Work

The first issue is that this technique just doesn’t work.

Whether you waste your money on software to do this or you waste your time doing it manually, sending @ messages to 1500 people will likely result in only a few clicks by people who don’t know any better. People who don’t know any better probably don’t have sizeable audiences.

Therefore,  even if this “succeeded” to reach three people who have about 100 followers each, since only at maximum 15% – 25% of their followers see this message, if you’re really truly lucky, 75 – 100 people will see your message. And since typically around 3 – 10% of those people will take action, you’ve reached a maximum of 13 people, including those who retweeted you.

Now if you’re thinking “oh wow, that’s great, I only need 39 leads so I can just do this three times“- remember that when you get low quality leads, they are quite difficult to convert.

What if there’s a better way that takes the same, or even less, amount of effort? That will give you high quality, targeted leads?

Especially since mention spam can get your account muted or blocked by other users, or worse yet, banned by Twitter?

Why do something that will kill your future efforts when you can do something more effective with the same or a little extra effort?

Get 100 or 1000 or 10,000 Leads from Twitter With a Few Small Changes


and you’ve taken care of any other marketing trouble spots, then you should be able to take the same energy you used to spam people and create a few key relationships instead.

I’ll write more in-depth about this in coming days, but here are the basic four steps. (If you’re impatient, you can learn what you need to know in the free guides listed below).

  1. Identify how many people you need to reach in order to meet your goal.
  2. Multiply that number by 100. That’s approximately how many people you need to reach even if your conversion rate is as low as 1%.
  3. Make a list of 30 people who, when added together, can reach that large of an audience in your topic, knowing that perhaps only 1 in 3 will accept your offer.
  4. Once a day for a week, make yourself useful to those people during prime sharing hours. Take note of who responds positively.
  5. Double check that your offer is uniquely beneficial to the audience those people have.
  6. Create content that would absolutely delight the people you are trying to reach, not you, your CEO or the sales department. (If you don’t know, do the research.)
  7. Make sure there’s a clear path from that content to your offer.
  8. Politely and privately ask the people you’ve targeted for their feedback on your content. Use their critique to improve your offer.
  9. Credit them with improvements to your content.
  10. Make it SUPER easy for them to share (for example, it’s better to not have share buttons than to have them work without your referring information such as your Twitter handle). Then ask them to share.
  11. Thank them individually and find out how you can help them in return. If nothing else, share their creations too.

Using this method, your offer can get in front of hundreds, potentially even tens of thousands of people, for the same amount of energy (or money in the case of software) that it takes to individually spam 1500 people. If you don’t want to do the whole thing yourself, there are parts of this that are outsourceable.

Maybe someone else can create the content, or you can use tools from Topsy, Cision or Trackur to find out who to target.

This plan also doesn’t risk your Twitter account.

Here’s a list of Twitter HOWTO Guides

The following guides cover all the bases for beginners, from how to use Twitter, tactics for promoting yourself, all the way to simple social media strategy for free. There’s also some information on what you should not to do as a Twitter newbie. If you find other good, free guides, feel free to add yours to the moderated list.