Although it’s only a few years on the scene, Twitter is a massive social media network that practically everyone with a mobile device uses. From famous celebrities and politicians to the average plumber and stay-at-home mom, sending out a tweet has become as addictive as cigarettes in some circles. With so many active users, of course, Twitter is a marketing metropolis that any skilled individual can take full advantage of.

However, playing with Twitter can be like playing with fire. Unless you’re careful, you’re going to get burned. Once your Twitter credibility is tarnished, there may be no coming back from that. It’s not only your Twitter account name that has stink on it, but also your site and/or business name – your brand.

Here are five of the most common mistakes businesspeople make when using Twitter to promote their brands. If you can avoid these common pitfalls, you should have no trouble using Twitter to gain some new business.

1. Personal Usage

Your business and your personal cannot cross on Twitter. There may come a time when you’re used to sending out tweets and you find yourself lost in the moment, tweeting about personal issues, going on a profanity-laced tirade, or straying off of message. This will ruin the credibility you worked hard to obtain.

2. Unsolicited Messaging

This is just a dressed up way to call you a spammer. That’s all. And a spammer is the last thing you want to be. It should be common sense, but it’s not. Because of Twitter’s format and the fact that some people send a tweet for every single activity, there are marketers out there who feel they can bombard folks with messages all day because it’s in the site’s description. This is not something you want to do.

3. Controversial Topics

Some topics are incredibly controversial and can start a Twitter war. Just stick to your business and stay out of popular events; i.e. politics, religion, sports, etc. Stay on topic with your business and never try to sneak in any news or pop culture references simply to promote your messages.

4. Lack of Devotion

Once you stop tweeting and give up on trying to build followers and following others, you’re going to lose the steam you created. Worse than that, though, you will be seen as the proverbial Twitter abuser who only used the site to gain some traffic.

5. Fake Messages

If you have a bevy of preformed messages that really get the point across in only around 150 characters, go ahead and throw them out of the window right now. People on Twitter don’t take kindly to fake, robotic messages. It’s just another way to spam.

Twitter is remarkably easy to use, and that’s undoubtedly why so many screw the pooch when attempting to market with the site. The five abovementioned mistakes will certainly ruin your Twitter cred, but there are many more mistakes you have to watch out for. Remember to market smart with your Twitter account at all times.