Small Business Owners, Please Don’t Do This on Twitter

Twitter mistakes small businesses make

After a years-long Twitter hiatus, I’m back on board. And I’m loving it — it’s a different kind of interaction than I’d become used to on Facebook. Yup, Twitter’s been great. Except for one thing: TrueTwit Validation.

If you haven’t seen this, or you’re not on Twitter, basically, what happens is you follow someone, then you get an automated response that says “So and so uses TrueTwit validation”, and it prompts you to click on a link to ‘prove’ you’re a real person. The idea, I guess, is to show that the follower is a real person.

The first few times I saw it, I immediately deleted it. You know that game where someone says one word and then you say the first word that pops into your mind? The use of the word ‘validation’ made me immediately think of ‘scam.’

Not sure why they’d need to validate ME, after all. I just want to see their tweets. Not worth the time, or the risk.

But, then I followed someone I met at a conference, (Let’s connect on Twitter, I said) and got the TrueTwit validation request. So, hesitantly, I… clicked…

I honestly can’t tell you what was on the rest of the screen because all I saw was a flashing ad. And with every flash, my brain screamed, “Beware! Beware!” So I got out of there as fast as I could. And ‘unfollowed.’

I guess the irony here is that my immediate impression when I see a TrueTwit validation request is that THEY, the person I followed, is a bot or a spammer. It seems a bit sleazy even, and like I said, I was questioning why they were making me click on a suspicious outside link just to follow them.

Half a year later, I’m still seeing lots of TrueTwits. The last one just a few minutes ago from a local business. I just wanted to know what they’re up to. And now I feel a bit offended..

I can’t help but wonder, why would someone make me jump through hoops when I just want to see their tweets? Aren’t I doing them a favor by following them?

Now, I’m just one person, but I can’t be the only person to have this reaction. It bothered me enough that I’m writing about it here, after all. And I can’t imagine that any benefit someone would get from it would outweigh turning off people who had actually made an effort (ever so small, but still an effort) to follow you on Twitter.

So I’m just throwing this out into the universe: If you’re a small business owner, or someone who’s trying to communicate with your audience, just say no to TrueTwit. And if you're using it, and want to remove it from your account, just google 'remove TrueTwit' and directions will pop right up.

What are your thoughts when you see TrueTwit? And I’m curious, have you ever clicked on the validation link? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you know anyone who’s still using TrueTwit, please share to help spread the word.

About the Author Melanie Downey

I'm Melanie Downey, small business brand innovator and public relations expert. I like to teach and write about what I've learned in 20 years working in brand development, PR, and marketing. And when I'm not doing that, I cook, drive my kids around, hang out with my hairless dog, Penny, and practice playing my ukulele.

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