Twitter celebrates its 8th birthday this year and yet someone people are still getting it all wrong.

With only 140 characters to play with, it should be the easiest thing in the world to use, but it would appear that it’s not judging by some of the tweets I’ve seen.

To give you a hand, I’ve put together 10 reasons why you’re getting Twitter wrong and what you can do to put it right.

1. Batch tweets

How often should you tweet? When should you tweet?

A lot of people send out a batch of tweets all in one go so they can get on with other stuff. The problem with that approach is:

  1. You’ll hack off your followers because you’ll swamp their timeline
  2. You’re only likely to reach a small number of followers

Not everyone uses Twitter at the same time, so the key is to spread your tweets out over the day to reach as many people as possible.

2. RT etiquette

If you read a tweet you like, you’ll want to re-tweet it to your followers. But how many times have you had to edit the tweet because it’s already at the 140 character limit?

Make it easy for your followers to re-tweet your stuff by keeping your updates short.

3. Engage

Twitter isn’t a one way street. If you want people to interact with you, you have to interact with them. A conversation may not spring up immediately, but by actively engaging other tweeters, you’ll increase your chances of interactions.

4. RT again

We’ve already mentioned the leave enough room to RT thing, but it’s also important to remember that RTs work both ways. If you want people to RT your stuff, you need to be seen as someone that RTs regularly.

5. Protection

Should you protect your tweets?

No – the whole point of Twitter is to be able to chat to anyone. If you protect your tweets it would be like going to a networking event surrounded by an impenetrable wall of body guards.

Make yourself open to interaction. If someone really annoys you or sends abusive tweets you can always block and report them.

6. Follow me

One of the main headaches for anyone who is new to Twitter is how to get followers. Many people seem to have a hang up about following way more people than they have followers – well that’s where everyone starts.

The only way you can get your name out there is by following other people. Then if they like your stuff and RT it, their followers will see it, think ‘he/she’s great’ and will then follow you…and so it goes on.

So don’t get hung up by numbers.

7. Vague

Cryptic tweets are really annoying. If you have something to say, say it.

8. @ and .@

If you tweet about an article, blog or website and just use @, only the people who follow you and the site/person/article mention will see it. But if you use .@ everyone can follow it.

9. Think

Once you’ve hit send your tweet is out there for all your followers to see, so make sure you think carefully before you tweet.

10. Talk don’t sell

There’s nothing worse than having your twitter feed filled with spam tweets trying to sell stuff to you.

Tweet as though you were at a networking event. If all you do is tweet about your business with constant sales messages, you have become that person at the networking event everyone tries to avoid.

You’ve seen him, before he’s finished shaking your hand he’s thrust his business card and brochure in your other hand and told you all about his business and why you must buy from him. Then, without even asking you anything he wanders off to accost another victim.

But if you chat and engage with other tweeters, you’re the person who is naturally charismatic and draws people to them. The person who is more interested in who they’re speak to than themselves and who helps others and offers advice rather than sells.

I know who I’d rather be.

So there you go. That was a quick run through of what you’re doing wrong on Twitter and how you can make things right.