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Solution provider social media: Twitter mistakes to avoid

Do you (or does your company) have a Twitter account? Here at SearchITChannel.com, I've been following many VARs, MSPs and systems integrators on Twitter for months. (And I'm always looking for more. Email me at

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stroy@techtarget.com if you'd like to be followed on Twitter.) I regularly scan through the Tweets, looking for ones that I'd like to share with SearchITChannel.com’s Twitter following.

Sometimes I have no problem finding the types of Tweets worth sharing. There's plenty of advice out there for how businesses should use Twitter, and it looks like a good percentage of you are following that advice and building a Twitter following. 

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Successfully using Twitter for business: Mistakes to avoid

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Social media for business begs for more listening, less marketing

But other times, the pickings are slim, with outright self-serving Tweets littering my feed. In particular, some solution providers seem to approach Twitter strictly as a marketing outlet. Those providers have trouble crafting Tweets that lead to greater site click-through, a higher profile among customers and more followers.

For those of you who just might be guilty of a self-serving Tweet or two (I count myself in that camp), I'd like to help. While I'm not a Twitter expert, I have been on the receiving end of Tweets from many VARs, MSPs and systems integrators; you might find my perspective valuable.

So in the interest of improving the quality of your Tweets, becoming more engaging to your customers and prospects, and getting more out of the time and resources spent maintaining a Twitter account, I've come up with a brief and simple list of Tweeting dos and don'ts for solution providers.

Dos:

  • Do Tweet links to IT-related content (news, advice, case studies, survey reports, and the like) on IT media websites that your customers and prospects might be interested in. This is not self-serving advice from SearchITChannel.com. Editorial content from media outlets is considered more trustworthy than vendor-created content. Your followers are more likely to click through to that page and to remember you as someone who shares interesting information.
  • Do Tweet links to blog posts or other resources on your own website that give advice or explain how to do something. This link from Forsythe Technology is a good example of a blog post that gives advice and does not push a product or a service.
  • Do let your followers know when you'll be at trade shows or conferences. If they're attending the same show, they might welcome the chance to meet you in person.
  • Do retweet Tweets you think your followers would be interested in.
  • Do engage in conversations with your customers, colleagues and peers at other solution providers.

Don'ts:

  • Don't clobber your followers over the head with frequent Tweets about what your business offers. (Do you do that? Have you looked at how many followers you have? You'd have many more if you didn't do that.) Experts say that about 10% to 20% of Tweets can be about you, while the rest should be about other things.
  • Don't Tweet links to resources on your own website that require registration to access.
  • Don't Tweet links to blog posts or other resources on your own website that overtly promote your business. Even covert promotions can wear thin, if done too frequently.

That about covers my basic rules for solution provider Tweeting. Here's hoping I'll see you on Twitter!

Do you have any pet peeves about Twitter? Seen a lot of Twitter mistakes? Seen a return on your Twitter time and resource investments? Let me know at stroy@techtarget.com.

This was first published in April 2013

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