With the power of twitter in full swing I'm still seeing a lot of people make simple mistakes and overlooking the obvious. Below I will cover some of the easy and obvious things you can do now to leverage the power of twitter.
Automation is not spam and anyone who tells you different doesn't know what they're talking about. The key to automation is scheduling tasks that are repetitive, save you time and provide value to your customer.
For example if I know I am having a product launch I can schedule a twitter message to be sent out a specific time and day. If I have a new blog post I can update twitter with a small description and link to my new blog post.
Automate tasks that provide value to your customers. Leverage automation to grow your empire and help you work smarter not harder.
If you're using the default icon on twitter or one of the default backgrounds in my opinion you're not looking professional. For many people this will be the first impression they get of who you are and what your business is about.
Treat your twitter page as a micro-site and brand it. Make sure you're using your logo or your picture if people recognize who you are. Also have a custom background developed as they are inexpensive for the value they provide. A custom background enables you to include a description about your business, phone number and other contact information that is vital to generating a lead.
Here are some examples of great branding using custom background images:
Michael Gray - http://twitter.com/graywolf
Darren Rowse - http://twitter.com/problogger
Tony Adam - http://twitter.com/tonyadam
Jeremy Schoemaker - http://twitter.com/shoemoney
There two ways you can spam on twitter actively and passively. Don't be fooled both are your fault and you will lose valuable credibility and potential leads.
Actively spamming on twitter means sending the same messages every minute, every hour, every day. There may be tremendous value in the message but after a few hours I'm sure the value in the message is lost or ignored. If this is consistent for long enough all messages regarding about you will eventually be ignored. If you care about your account, have some restraint and try not to barrage your followers with the exact same information and links over and over.
Passively spamming is still your fault but can be explained and forgiven. With twitter applications and twitter games being introduced, assuming that the application creators will have high integrity and not use your account to spam is foolish.
Two such applications have already come out and spread virally because twitter account users allowed these applications to post messages on their behalf. Twitter account users became aware of this only after followers were blocking, unfollowing or complaining of excessive irrelevant messages. Don't be fooled by allowing applications to have write access to your account, most will use it and send automated messages. It's highly probable that this was the reason they created the applications on the twitter platform to begin with!