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I created a really fun game the other day on accident, and I recommend you try playing it yourself sometime!

It all started when I tried posting a tweet linking to Melanie’s great blog post about Net Neutrality. Obviously being a hot-button topic, I wanted to include the Net Neutrality hashtag in my post. The only problem was in my typing haste I misspelled Neutrality.

I immediately saw my error and went to delete the tweet and start over. But, before I did, I thought I would have a little fun and see just how many people had tried tweeting #NetNeutrality, but made the same mistake I had without fixing it. So, I punched #NetNeutrailty into Twitter and my new game was born.

The answer, as you can see, was a lot of people.

I had a good laugh at all the… we’ll call them “interesting” tweets on the subject and began to move on with my day. However, it wasn’t long until this encounter really got me thinking about Twitter in a larger sense. What was funny to me in this instance, really epitomized some of the major pitfalls and issues people and businesses run into when they try to make a home on Twitter.

Wrong hashtags hurt more than just your pride

Using a popular or trending hashtag in a tweet is a good way to insert yourself into a larger conversation and expose yourself to a new audience. However, the oversight of sending out an incorrect hashtag, funny as it was to me, is truly no laughing matter.

There’s a reason they are labeled “trending hashtags,” because trends can be here and gone in an instant. With the nano-second attention span that Twitter has, a hashtag that is trending on Monday can be completely forgotten by Tuesday afternoon. If your goal is to capitalize on hashtags, you have to strike while the iron is hot. The failure to do so likely means you will miss the conversation entirely. An opportunity to reach new eyes and minds wasted.

Credibility is another issue that faces many Twitter users. Anyone can say anything, so you need to weed out the mountains of gossip, spam, and straight bad information on the platform – so credibility is at an ultra-premium. Misspelling or otherwise misusing a hashtag is a good way to get yourself immediately lumped into that group.

Not trying to knock anyone, but look through the people using the misspelled hashtag I showed earlier. Would you really trust any of those people as an authority on the topic?

At the end of the day, the secret to success on Twitter hangs on paying attention to the details. Here’s a couple examples.

You get out what you put in

The classic management style of some social media managers of doing a bulk upload and letting social media handle itself doesn’t usually work. However, it definitely doesn’t work on Twitter. Regularly monitoring, interacting, and posting is the only way you are going to find success on Twitter.

Twitter is far more social and interactive than Facebook and LinkedIn. Spark a conversation by responding to a comment left on one of your tweets or by you responding to someone else’s tweet. The passive approach to managing Twitter makes this impossible. If you want to commit to Twitter, you have to be all-in, dedicate someone on your team to manage your account full-time, or outsource to someone who can.

Successful Twitter interaction also entails patience. Don’t get fed up if a couple of your posts don’t get any traction. Take the time to look at your posts. What worked in the past? What didn’t? Take the time to fine-tune and optimize your tweets to find a formula for consistent engagement and success.

Don’t just look at your tweets either. Pay attention to peers, competitors, and other successful brands. What are they doing that is working? Is it something that could work for you? Never stop looking and never stop learning.

Details, details, details.

Oh, and of course spelling all your words and hashtags right is always a good start.

Want to see more ways to fail at social media?

Lessons from Huge Social Media Fails