Yesterday while doing some research on Twitter I was alerted to an article that made me stop and think.

The writer was commenting on how airlines were harnessing the power of Twitter and using this tool as an information-sharing platform. This allowed them to share information with customers as it was happening to keep them informed of delays, issues with flights, etc.

However, he noticed that one particular airline had set their Twitter account to private, requiring people to physically make a request and wait until their account was approved before they could access any information.

This was of concern to the writer, and rightly so, considering we are in the information age and are often time poor. We haven’t got the time to go through an approval process just to be able to access their tweets.

I had the exact experience just two days prior. I noticed one of my Twitter buddies was following a business, which had set their Twitter profile to private.

I remember being quite puzzled as to why they would do that?

Why would any business have their Twitter account set to private so that none of their posts could be viewed unless you were connected to them? To me, it didn’t make sense, especially considering that your posts and conversations provide you with an opportunity to build brand awareness as well as being able to connect, engage and have a conversation with prospects.

As the writer of the article so aptly said: “[your tweets] won’t appear on your timeline and it won’t appear on the Twitter search engine. Literally, you don’t exist at all unless someone requested to follow you.”

It got me thinking.

How many businesses are practically non-existent because of what they’re doing (or not doing) in their marketing and communications strategies?

And, while we’re speaking on the topic brand awareness and engaging with people, how many businesses are tarnishing their brands, reputations and relationships because of what they’re doing (and not doing).

Here are three things that I’ve seen business owners do that isn’t going to help them build a strong brand. Nor will these things enable them to build a relationship with people who could quite possibly be a potential customer.

1. Off-brand comments and interactions
Everything you do, say, write – your online and your offline interactions and communications, reflects on your brand. Positive or negative – your interactions will impact the perception others have about you and your business.

Complaining and being negative about something that has happened to you; alerting people to the ‘wild’ weekend you’re going to have; or informing us that ‘you’ve just gotten off the phone with ‘your client from h%ll’ – is not really appropriate and can turn off a potential client.

Other things that can impact your reputation and your relationships are the groups you join; the videos and articles you share; as well as people you are connected with.
Wouldn’t want your mother or a prospective client/JV partner to read something? Or even if you’re not sure – don’t hit enter!

2. An unprofessional (or non-existent) photo
A picture paints a thousand words. What does your current photo say about you? Would a potential prospect be inspired to connect with you, let alone invest in your services?

And, just like an unprofessional photo can tarnish your brand, so can not having any picture at all. If you’ve been meaning to get a professional photo taken to use in your profiles – make sure you do this as soon as possible. Feedback that I’ve received about people who don’t have a picture (but just the standard icon provided with the technology – such as the Twitter) leaves the impression that you may be trying to hide something. This is certainly not the impression you want to make.

3. An unprofessional (or non-existent) bio
One of the first things people do if they’re interested in what you have said is to check out your bio to find out a little more about you.

With only a few seconds to make an impression make sure you have an up-to-date profile with a link to your website so that anyone who wants to find out more information about you can do so easily.

Make sure everything you do and say both online and offline continues to portray you as the professional you are so that any prospective customer can see the value of connecting with you and investing in you!

Author's Bio: 

Annemarie Cross is a Brand Communication Specialist helping ambitious women business owners to get noticed, hired and paid what they're worth! Want to learn simple yet powerful ways that you can build your brand, your credibility and your income? Visit to access free inspiring 'how-to' articles and to sign up for our free audio mini-series ‘7 Easy Steps to Build Your Brand, Your Biz, and Your Income.’