To Follow Or Not On Twitter?

Social Media SerendipityTwitter Follow or not

Talk about fabulous timing.

 

I had a blog post in draft form centered on one reason not to unfollow people (more on that later) on Twitter, when Mike Sansone (founder of Small Biz Tracks and Converstations) published his METHOD: Before Following on Twitter post.

 

I once saw someone, somewhere make a statement to the effect of, “When you follow everyone, you follow no one.”

 

That’s true. When you follow all the people and businesses you encounter on Twitter, you’ll have difficulty actively engaging and building relationships with any of them effectively.

 

That’s why it’s important to at some point become more selective about whom you follow. A method like Mike describes for evaluating accounts before you follow them can nip that problem in the bud.

 

A Twitter Tip To Help Stop The Bleeding

If you’re like me though, some of the damage is already done and you’re following a fair share people and companies that don’t tweet updates that align with the topics you’re interested in or that you’d want to share with your following.

 

Regardless of the reasons you followed them (they’re local peeps, friends of friends, or you simply wanted to be nice), you can get around letting them crowd your feed by using Twitter lists. Put all your important contact and quality content creators onto meaningful lists and using a tool with a dashboard that lets you easily monitor your VIPs’ activity. I use Hootsuite for that purpose and it has worked quite well. I’ve written in more detail about this technique in this past post, so have a look.

 

Following Mike’s advice from the get-go is ideal, and using the trick I just explained after you’ve carefully selected who to follow can empower you even more.

 

Back To “Following” My Original Thought About Unfollowing On Twitter

As Mike explained how to choose whom to follow, I’m going to touch on one reason why you shouldn’t unfollow someone.

 

Don’t unfollow people simply because they haven’t followed you back.

 

Tools like Just UnFollow, Manage Flitter, Tweepi, and others make it easy to identify those people and unfollow them, but by doing that you could be missing out on some really great content and insight

 

I’ve learned a lot and have discovered stellar blog posts to share with my audience from folks whom I follow but who don’t follow me.

 

Before you unfollow people, put your ego and hurt feelings aside and use the same review process that Mike described when deciding about following folks in the first place. If they pass that test, they’re keepers even if you’ve either slid under their radar or they’re not interested in following you at this time.

 

And keep your chin up. Although they might not follow you now, the more you share and engage with their content, the better your chances are of getting that follow in the future.

 

What methods do you use when deciding whom to follow—or not follow—on Twitter?

 

 

4 Sure-Fire Ways To Push Your Social Media Followers Away From Your Brand

Jeff Bullas recently wrote a blog post suggesting twenty things you should share on social media to strengthen the connection between your brand and your Woman with thumbs downaudience.

Without a doubt, that’s info businesses can use to boost their engagement and build a positive social presence.

But don’t forget that just as there’s social media sharing that can benefit your business, there’s sharing that can work against it, too.

One Key Thing All Self-Employed Professionals Need To Remember About Social Media

As solopreneurs and small business owners, our personal social media accounts and our business accounts are entwined and associated with each other in the minds of our clients, vendors, colleagues, employees, and competitors. What we say and share as our personal selves reflects on our businesses.

You’ve probably noticed that some people don’t know where to draw the line. They over share or share things that potentially anger or alienate their followers. They seem clueless, not taking the time to think through the consequences, or they simply don’t care because, after all, they have a right to say whatever they want.

Want to risk turning people away from your business instead of drawing them to it? I’ve listed some ideas about what you can do on social media to accomplish that. These are things that make me cringe as I scan my feeds.

4 Things To Share On Social Media If You Want To Push Away Your Audience

“Woe Is Me”

Constant complainers are downers. We all have bad days, but venting on every little grievance can make you look like a whiner. It gets old. Fast.

Political Soapboxing

We’ll be seeing a good deal more of this soon as the 2016 presidential election approaches. While you don’t need to keep your affiliation a secret, blasting out politically biased posts won’t endear you to your entire audience. According to Gallup’s poll numbers from Feb. 8 to Feb.11, 2015, the split between the percentage of Republicans (43%) and Democrats (44%) in the U.S. (including independents leaning one way or the other) is rather even. So while nearly half of your followers might agree with your views, you can figure the other half don’t. And you’re not likely to change their minds.

Indirect Cowardly Call-Outs

They go something like this: “If you were my friend, you wouldn’t talk behind my back. I won’t name names, but you know who you are.” These often have a “woe is me” tone and seem to exist for the purpose of launching a pity party. If you—and you know who you are—have a problem with someone, go talk with them directly rather than initiate a public shaming.

Griping About Clients And Vendors

While it might feel good to vent, making statements that air issues you have with clients or vendors (even when you don’t single anyone out) can kill your credibility. Late payers, bad communicators, and disorganized project partners happen. Social media isn’t the place to address those things. Existing clients and vendors will wonder if you’re referring to them, and you’ll make prospects think twice about doing business with you.

What you choose to share on social media is your call. But when you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, realize expressing yourself can affect how people think about your business. Before you share on social media sites, and before you react to posts by others, take a second to ask yourself, “What’s my motivation?”

 

Hey! Are we connected on social media yet? Let’s fix that! Follow me via clicking on the social icons on my site that link to my profiles, and let me know if you’ve got business social media profiles. I’ll be happy to reciprocate! All my best—Dawn

 

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are You on the Right Track with your Social Media Efforts? A 3-Point Checklist

There’s no arguing that the many social media platforms out there have both subtle nuances and in-your-face differences. But regardless of which ones you’ve tapped into for your small business, there are attitudes and approaches that are universally helpful in moving your brand forward.

Fail to embrace these practices as a solopreneur, and you could find yourself spinning your wheels…

  • Be about “them” not you

In spite of the multitude of articles and posts that have preached about NOT using social media as a one-way advertising tool, many small brands continue to push their sales messages to their audiences. That’s OK now and then, but people will tune you out if that’s all you do. Nobody likes a “Me, me, me” kind of person…and they don’t appreciate that in a business either! Instead, focus on providing info that will help, inform or entertain your followers. Tips on this or that, hot news that’s relevant to your industry and your clients, local events, etc. Give them something of value and interest, and they’ll keep coming back.

  • Respond

Ever leave a well-thought comment on someone’s blog post or a question on a Facebook page, only to be ignored? It sucks. If someone takes the time to read your post and even more time to provide input and feedback, the least you should do is acknowledge that you received it – and that you appreciate it. Yes, I know, you’re busy and it can be a challenge to keep up. If finding time to check for commentary is a problem, adjust your account settings so you receive notification of interactions via either email or your mobile device. Not only is it good manners to respond, it’s also important for projecting that you care. I know you do!

  • Reciprocate

When you’ve got fellow business fans, followers, G plussers, connections or pinners who regularly like, share, and comment on your posts, return the favor. Social media gives us a wonderful opportunity to generate good will in that way – and that can be exceptional for business. By simply reciprocating on a consistent basis, I’ve garnered new project opportunities and gained referrals. That said, be genuine and put some thought into it. Select to acknowledge and pass along content that you truly do find interesting or informative.

Social media is absolutely a two-way street, so don’t miss the mark by ignoring these ever-important ways to move your online presence in the right direction.

What do you think? Are there any other best practices that apply across all social media platforms? 

 

Could Your Business Make It Without A Website or Social Media?

 Having a kick-a$# web presence can do a lot for solopreneurs and small businesses. There’s no shortage of compelling reasons to have a killer website and actively interact on social media. But competitively critical as they may be, there’s one thing that serves as the ultimate factor for success: Quality service that makes you the talk of the town.

Example in action
While researching and writing content for a web app focused on directing business travelers to local hot spots in particular communities, I happened upon Yelp reviews of a little bakery in Hazleton, PA. Aside from its limited business-specific info on Yelp, Senape’s Bakery has no other online presence. No website. No Facebook page. No Twitter. No blog. No Google+. No Pinterest. Just 12 reviews on Yelp that got me interested enough to give the owners a call to find out if they have any other real estate online.

Senape’s has been around for a long time, and has become a favorite of both locals and visitors alike. Why? Not because of its well-thought business development strategy and prowess in the digital marketing realm. Senape’s has a stellar reputation because it has consistently produced quality products at reasonable prices throughout the years. Apparently people go ga ga over its house specialty, “pitza” (cold pizza bread of all things), and will travel miles and miles to buy it fresh.

Senape’s doesn’t run Pay Per Click ads on Google. They don’t tweet daily specials. They just do what they set out to do exceptionally well – bake for people who like to eat.

Simple. Effective.

Take-away

Although most of us in our businesses – for a variety of reasons – do require more of an online presence than does Senape’s Bakery, we can still learn from their example.

Deliver excellence in all that you do for your clients, and your business reputation – on- and off-line – will keep them coming back for more.

Your turn! Know of any other businesses that have succeeded without any significant online presence? What makes them stand out from their competition?

 

Getting Found Online: 3 Behaviors Essential to DIY SEO

Being part of the small business community as not only a solopreneur, but also as a volunteer with the local chapter of SCORE and my town’s Main Street organization, I know my fair share of new business owners who have websites that aren’t ranking well in online searches and who don’t know how to otherwise draw attention to their sites.

It’s frustrating for them – to say the least. When you’re getting your business off the ground, you want and NEED to be found. But most startup entrepreneurs don’t have the cash on hand to hire an SEO/SEM expert to help them drive traffic their way.

I’m certainly no SEO expert, but I’ve learned a lot and have realized some favorable results through my own experimentation with my online presence “formula.”  And there’s no reason why you can’t economically (i.e. free) make improvements to your online situation. My advice: emulate much of what web hosting and managed services provider Dynamicnet, Inc. published its blog post, Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization

In a nutshell, blogging and social media hold the key to making others aware of your business, your offerings and your value proposition. And there are some core behavioral practices you’ll need to make part of the equation as well:

  • Be willing to do the hard time. – Setting up your blog and social media profiles takes thought and more time than you’ll want to spend, but you’ll need to suck it up and do it. The more consistent your brand is across each and every one of your points of online presence, the better your chances of being found when prospects are looking for someone who offers the services or products that you do.
  • Keep up keeping up. – Blogging and social media require discipline and ongoing attention. You need to be consistent in your efforts to engage and interact with your audience on those marketing channels. Luckily, your blog posts can serve as content for your social media posts, so you can kill multiple proverbial birds with one stone when you publish new blog articles. And there are tools (for example: Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck and others) that automate the sharing of content on – and simultaneously across – various social media.
  • Stick with it. – DIY SEO is not for the faint of heart. You may not see results the first day, or in the first week, or in the first month. Heck, you could be looking at a year or even longer before you actually get emails and phone calls from prospects who say, “I found you on Google.”  That doesn’t mean that your blogging and social media efforts won’t be driving people to your website or generating leads sooner, but getting found via organic search results can take much longer as a multitude of variables comes into play. And remember, not everyone can be on the first page. You might indeed need to hire someone to increase your chances of ranking there.

Recognize that getting noticed on the web won’t happen overnight. But with consistent effort to cross-pollinate by blogging and staying current with your social media, you’ll steadily increase the visibility of your business online.

 

 

Your turn! If you’ve done DIY SEO, what challenges and triumphs have you experienced? What strategies and tactics have worked best for you?