There is nothing more gut-wrenching than watching one of your favorite Twitter accounts take a nose dive right into crazy. I follow a wide variety of professionals and brands on Twitter and for the most part they keep their feeds in check. But every so often, usually when a company or business hires a new social media manager, Twitter feeds may go awry. The company’s tweets become erratic, and the brand’s voice becomes skewed which turns followers away. It is sad to see a company’s account go on a downward spiral. Here are some of the ways good Twitter accounts go bad:

Mixing business with pleasure

It is a problem when whoever is managing the company’s feed starts to tweet personal information from the company Twitter account. Your company’s Twitter account can have a personality, but shouldn’t be sharing personal information. It would be a little odd if all of the sudden the person running the Coca-Cola Twitter account started tweeting about the birth of their cousin’s baby, or sharing what they had for breakfast. Make sure you are tweeting content relevant to your business, your brand and your audience.

I like to think the Roundpeg Twitter account shares a good mix of silly and informative content. We share links to articles about what’s hot in our industry, but we also tweet funny quotes from around the office and links to cat videos. We do it that way because it’s our brand. What we decide to post or not post is by design, not by accident.  @roundpeg was once Lorraine’s Twitter account. She used it for both business and personal conversations. I’m not joking, read her blog post here about how she made the split and decided what belonged @roundpeg and what belonged @lorraineball.

Using the wrong voice

When you establish your business on social media, especially Twitter, you need to decide what your voice is going to be. Are you going to tweet all about your business and the products you offer like Caterpillar Inc.? Or do you want your Twitter account to be peppered with funny photos and jokes along with informative content like Mashable? There is no one right answer.  It’s up to you to decide, but once you have chosen, you have chosen for good. JCPenney’s Twitter account often shifts from serious to silly and has become notorious for being crazy and not the good, fun kind of crazy. You never want someone who is reading your tweets to think, “Is this person drunk or just mentally unstable?”

Not sure how to create your brand’s voice? Click here.

Tweeting in the first person

Your business is a group of people, no? Even if  you are a one-woman/one-man show, you still should not tweet in the first person from your business account. Roundpeg is a team of people who work together for the greater good. Wouldn’t it be weird if you started reading tweets from Roundpeg that read, “@roundpeg I’m really into this new WordPress plugin, click here to see why.” Wait, what? Roundpeg is now one person? That’s absurd! This is a common mistake company Twitter accounts make. When it comes to pronouns and Twitter, one of the best ways to avoid confusion is to just leave them out.  Given the abbreviated nature of tweets where every character counts it is perfectly ok to start a tweet with a verb or adverb.  “Really into this new plugin” or “Love the new logo”

Don’t let your Twitter account cause people to second guess the sanity of you or your business. Avoid these mistakes and focus on effectively communicating with your customers, business professionals and fans. And if you are ever second guessing sending a tweet, refer back to this article.