As Twitter increasingly becomes an important tool for brands and their social media strategy it is also increasingly clear that many brands don’t "get" how to optimize their Twitter time.

Seven years after Twitter launched and more than two years since it started to become widely used by businesses and organizations it is still not uncommon to see these Twitter accounts making mistakes. These errors cost them followers, poor reputations and, ultimately, business.

So what are brands doing wrong? Let me count the ways ….

5 Ways Brands are Tone-Deaf on Twitter (and ways they could do things better)

1. Talk too much about themselves: Seems obvious, right? But some brands seem to think that talking about themselves and their products and services is somehow helpful. Even brands who limit this kind of talk to 25 percent of the time are taking a risk and likely getting fewer followers than they could. Better idea: Do a daily or weekly check to see if brand messages are 10 percent or less of the conversation. If not, make it so.

2. Inviting people to connect: The word connection implies a two-way activity and yet most brands that invite people to connect really mean "follow us" because they won’t follow back. Better idea: Say "Follow us" and give people an idea what might be in it for them.

3. Using auto-respond DMs: A direct message (DM) back from a brand implies a form of engagement. And yet more often than not responding to that DM is impossible because the brand has not yet (or may never) follow back. Better idea: Never use auto DMs and go out of your way to follow back many of your followers and get to know them.

4. Not responding to @ messages: If your brand is on Twitter and people talk to you with an @ message you need to respond. Would your brand ignore a phone call or an email from a customer? Better idea: Have whoever manages social set aside time each day to do nothing but respond on various social networks including Twitter (even a simple "thank you" is better than nothing).

5. Allowing anyone to follow the brand account: In their hunger to have more followers some brands allow just about anyone to follow them. If you want to assess a brand’s attitude to Twitter look at who follows the brand. Find too many spammy, porn, "take-this-deal" or incomplete accounts and you know they care more about numbers than people. Better idea: Have your account manager block inappropriate followers.

So, what do you think? Are there other things you've seen brands do on Twitter that make you wonder why they're really there?