Twitter is starting to slowly grow up. Now that Fortune 500 companies are starting to recruit on Twitter and social networking sites like LinkedIn and search engines like Google and Bing are partnering with them, it was only a matter of time before Twitter took steps to root out spam as well as those who are using their real-time communication platform to broadcast instead of share. And it fundamentally changes the way in which many in marketing will be using Twitter going forward. If you haven’t searched for yourself or your company on it recently, you may want to confirm that your tweets are being shown in the search results. If not, here are the reasons why your Twitter account may currently be temporarily “restricted” without your knowing it:
6 Reasons Why Your Twitter Account May Be Restricted
1) Repeatedly posting duplicate or near-duplicate content (links or tweets)
As a micro-blogging platform, why would you ever need to repeat yourself in your tweets? You’d be surprised: you may want to introduce everyone to your company or product or blog and want to do so more than once. For instance, I often retweeted a new blog post the day after I originally tweeted about it because not everyone may have caught it the first time. Guy Kawasaki posted a famous blog post about this just three months ago entitled “How to Drive Traffic with Repeat Tweets.” In this fantastic analytical article, Guy shows how repeating a tweet can get significant additional traffic. The analysis is simple: not everyone is looking at Twitter all of the time, so by repeating your tweet you are increasing your chances of getting noticed. Twitter thinks otherwise: Post repeat tweets or repeat links and your tweets will no longer show up in search results. You won’t even notice that this has happened until you try searching for your own tweets.
2) Abusing trending topics or hashtags (topic words with a # sign)
HabitatUK comes to mind as the famous story of a company abusing the trending topics hashtags. You shouldn’t either. Every time you place a hashtag at the end of your tweet, be forewarned that Twitter is watching to ensure that you are properly classifying your tweet. Don’t try to cheat the system to be found…otherwise you won’t be found anymore!
3) Sending automated tweets or replies
If you are using a 3rd party software application or service to send automated tweets or replies, beware, you are being watched! If social media is about being authentic and transparent, it leaves no room for automation, no matter how bad you want to get the message out. And if you are thinking of doing some guerilla marketing by sending out automated replies, your days are numbered…
4) Using bots or applications to post similar messages based on keywords
There are sophisticated services that allow you to post messages based on keywords that show up in the Twitter timeline. As sophisticated and attractive as these services might be to some Internet marketers, Twitter is even more sophisticated at finding you!
5) Posting similar messages over multiple accounts
If you have multiple accounts and are trying to market or broadcast the same message from multiple angles, please stop. If you don’t stop, you will be forced to stop!
6) Aggressively following and un-following people
I am assuming that this is the reason why most people have their Twitter account restricted. I don’t think an explanation is needed here, but Twitter has its limitations on how many people you can follow in a day. In addition, if you “aggressively” unfollow people in order to follow more people, Twitter will restrict your account. “Aggressively” is an abstract term, so as long as you are doing periodic follows and unfollows I assume you will not have any issues here.
The above 6 reasons why your account may be restricted aren’t issues that I made up: they actually come straight from the Twitter support article on Best Practices. Twitter is definitely getting serious about the “quality” of Tweets, and if you aren’t equally serious, you will be removed from search results and lose the benefits of being able to use the real-time service.
The common point for all of the above is just to be “natural.” If you use Twitter in a real and authentic way without over-relying on 3rd party applications or tools you should be O.K. Should you use any programs to completely automate your activities, use with caution!
Have any of you faced these restrictions before? Did your Tweets come up when you searched for your name?