23 Reasons Why You Might Be Scaring People Away On Twitter

Building a targeted following on Twitter (the genuine work-hard-to-build-engagement way, not the buy-followers-from-a-shady-Boy making scary facecharacter way) doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years. Along with time, it also requires your attention, energy, and patience.

 

As difficult as building a following can be, it becomes even more difficult if your Twitter profile and tweets scare followers away.

 

As I browse my notifications regularly to view the profiles of people who have recently followed me, I always find a few that leave me wondering, “What were they thinking?”

 

Characteristics That Might Make People Less Likely To Follow You On Twitter

If your Twitter account exhibits any of the following traits, you might find it a wee bit more difficult to secure follows from the people you want to connect with.

  1. Your bio is too #hashtag happy.
  2. Your bio is salesy.
  3. Your bio is too Kumbaya in nature.
  4. You don’t have a bio.
  5. Your profile or header photo is a puppy or a kitten or a guinea pig or some other furry, not-human creature.
  6. Your profile photo is a cartoon.
  7. Your profile photo looks like a for-real mugshot.
  8. You don’t have a profile photo.
  9. You have thousands of followers but only follow a select few Twitter accounts.
  10. You follow thousands of accounts but in comparison have very few followers.
  11. Your tweets are too #hashtag happy.
  12. Your tweets are too salesy.
  13. Your tweets are too Kumbaya in nature.
  14. Ur tweets use 2 many text abbreviations.
  15. Your tweets only share your own content.
  16. All you do is retweet without sharing any commentary about why you’re doing so.
  17. You don’t tweet enough about the things your target audience is interested in.
  18. Your tweets are all work and no play.
  19. You never say “thank you” when people retweet your tweets or mention you.
  20. You curse like a sailor in your tweets. (No offense to sailors; it’s merely an idiom to illustrate a point.)
  21. Your tweets go to extremes—about religion, politics, social issues, etc.
  22. You hardly ever tweet.
  23. You tweet non-stop, like every 15 minutes, 24/7.

 

Of course, what I deem “not follow worthy” might be perfectly acceptable to the next guy. And folks who do any of the above might have very good reasons for making them a part of their Twitter M.O. “To each his own,” right?

 

The point is, when people are reviewing your profile and tweets before deciding whether or not to follow you, how you present yourself and how you use Twitter matter. You can do whatever you want, but you need to pay attention to potential turn-offs if you’re genuinely trying to grow a following.

 

What Twitter account traits are turn-offs for you?

 

Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things that Make Me Go “Hmmm…” on Twitter

I’m a big fan of Twitter. I use it primarily for business, and have met some phenomenal professionals through the Hmmm...dialogue bubbleplatform. Some of the relationships I’ve built through Twitter have carried over to mutually beneficial offline collaborations. But there are a few things some Twitter users do that don’t make much sense to me.

Twitter practices that make me go “Hmmm…”

Retweeting a retweet of your tweets – If I retweet your tweet, a reply to say “thank you” or the gesture of clicking the little star to favorite the RT works just fine. If you want to show appreciation by reciprocating with a RT, it would be nice if you checked my timeline to find a tweet that is RT worthy and is relevant to your audience. Retweeting your own tweet seems a little self-centered. I’m not saying you are. I’m just saying it might seem that way to others.

Tweeting your daily Twitter stats from justunfollow – I’m not sure what purpose this serves. Why would you want to tweet how many people followed and unfollowed you each day? More importantly, why would anyone other than you care?

People who have a gazillion followers, but who only follow back a handful of people – Really? Out of all your thousands of followers, you can only find twenty or thirty who appear interesting? I get it, you want to keep your feed under control so you can interact more purposefully. But that’s what Twitter lists are for. Generally, when I see someone who has a highly disproportionate number of followers compared to those they’re following, I write them off as egotistical and elitist. Of course, you shouldn’t follow everyone who follows you, but if someone tweets content that’s relevant to your industry or otherwise shows some merit, acknowledge their value with a follow.

“Protecting” tweets –  I get it’s a privacy thing. But I’m not sure why anyone would join a social networking platform like Twitter, and then hide the content they’re sharing. Assuming you’re on Twitter to connect with more people and extend your reach, you’ll want to share your tweets so others can decide whether or not you’re someone they want to follow. While I suppose it’s possible you could use Twitter as a way to communicate only with a select, private group of people, other platforms are better suited for that (Facebook groups, a private G+ circle, email…)

Automating Direct Messages – Why do people do this?? There’s no shortage of blog posts dedicated to the topic of how much people despise auto DMs. For example: Nobody Likes Your Auto-DM, Death to the Auto DM on Twitter, 4 Reasons to Abandon the Twitter Automated Direct Message. I’m in the camp of folks who find auto DMs annoying, impersonal, disingenuous, and typically presumptuous (many take the leap that because I followed them, I’m game for a sales pitch or would gain by liking their Facebook page). While I don’t unfollow everyone who sends an automated DM, I know people who do ax anyone who puts DMs on auto-pilot. Seems the risk outweighs the unlikely reward, so why take the chance. Put the stops on that auto DM now.

If you do any of the above, I mean you no harm or disgrace. What works for – and makes sense to – each of us on social media can be vastly different. You’re entitled to do whatever you want with the Twitter account you maintain… and there are surely things I do that make you go “Hmmm….”

Your turn! What Twitter practices are your pet peeves?

 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

Get a Grip on Google Plus and Twitter: It’s All in the Lists

(Actually, in the case of Google+, it’s in the circles, but that didn’t sound nearly as poetic in the title.)Woman with tennis racket

Google+ and Twitter have become my favorite social networks for business. Like all online social media, they require time and ongoing effort to share content and interact with others. It’s not easy. But it can be easier if you have a system in place to streamline your activities.

Finding a way to effectively organize my G+ connections and Twitter followers has helped me immensely both in keeping tabs on and interacting with important contacts and in finding really good content worthy of sharing with the people who are following me. For both Google+ and Twitter, I use a similar approach for organizing the people and brands I’m following on those networks.

Two Google+ Circles and Twitter Lists that will simplify and streamline your social media efforts

VIPs

Create this list/circle and include all the connections you consider “VIPs.” Include clients, hot prospects, sources of referrals, etc.  It’s a list where you can place anyone you want to keep close tabs on and nurture relationships with. Keep the list relatively short (I’d recommend no more than 30 people or brands at any given time). On Twitter mark the list as private, so no one but you knows who is included (why risk hurting someone’s feelings or burn bridges when people discover they’re not on it!). Your VIPs may or may not be good sources of content that’s relevant to your audience. If not, it’s OK. This list is meant to ensure you stay on top of what these individuals are posting so you can show support, offer input, and give virtual high fives  to build goodwill.

Content Masters

It’s time consuming and frustrating to scroll through random posts in your newsfeed trying to pick out those that are meaningful to you and your followers. Instead, create a “Content Masters” list/circle and include people and brands who consistently post quality content that’s relevant to your audience and that you can glean knowledge and helpful tips from.  Make this list your “go to” place when you’re deciding what to post on your networks. It cuts through the noise, saves time,  and helps you stay on top of the content that matters most to you. As with the VIPs, you might also consider making this list a private one on Twitter to avoid hurt and hard feelings.

Related tips for managing your Google+ circles and Twitter lists…

  • Whenever following anyone new, take the extra 30 seconds it takes to view their posts/tweets to see if they’ll make good VIPs or Content Masters.
  • These lists are meant to be fluid. As relationships evolve and strategies change, remove people from your lists and add different people as you see fit.
  • For people you might not need to keep quite as close to the vest as VIPs and Content Masters, but who you don’t want to lose in the noise of the general newsfeed, create other lists/circles. Do it sparingly though. Only create a list or circle if you really intend to monitor and interact with the activity there. Otherwise, why bother?

 

While there’s no right or wrong way to manage your Google+ and Twitter connections, there are tips and tricks that can help you minimize your efforts and help you get a better return on them.  It usually takes a healthy dose of trial and error before finding a good system, so don’t get discouraged or throw in the towel. Keep trying until you discover an approach that works best for you.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Small Biz Twitter Tip: Look Before You Follow!

Twitter: Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners Still Struggling to “Get It”

While I haven’t formally kept track of the number of times I’ve heard it, I can tell you that in my circles Twitter reigns as the twitter-bird-blue-on-whitesocial network least understood by solopreneurs and small business owners. “I just don’t get it,” is what I hear from professionals who have set up Twitter accounts (some of them years ago), but don’t have the foggiest idea about how to use them or know why they should use them.

I was there, too. When I set up my Twitter account in 2010, I was intimidated by the fast pace, baffled by what seemed to be an entirely different language, confused about how to build a meaningful network of connections there. And so, I ignored Twitter for a good while until I finally decided to “give it the old college try.”

As with any social network, it’s ultra-important to tweet interesting, informative, or entertaining content that the audience you want to reach will find relevant. And as you do on any other social network, you need to reciprocate and interact with others. You also need to consistently share content – only at a much higher frequency and volume than other social networks because of Twitter’s “blink and you miss it” characteristic.

But what I believe is really crucial in laying the foundation for doing all of the above is to make wise choices when following others on Twitter. When you follow the right Twitter users, it helps mold your overall following into one that will appreciate and interact with what you share.

Twitter Tip: Think before you follow!

As  you’re building your Twitter network, be choosy about who you follow.

Some folks follow EVERYONE who follows them. BAD IDEA! While it seems nice to follow everyone back, you’ll do yourself and your quality followers an injustice by not being selective. And you’ll quickly find that your Twitter feed will be filled with junk that you don’t care about and that might even be offensive. After people follow you, ALWAYS look at their profiles and review their tweets before following them back.

Some reasons to consider NOT following others on Twitter…

  • Their tweets neither touch on topics that you’re interested nor do they provide anything worth sharing with your followers.
  • They have a disproportionate number of followers vs. people they’re following.  Example: 82,542 followers, but following only 329. These individuals are generally very self-serving and don’t know the meaning of “reciprocate.” Seriously, out of tens of thousands of followers, they can’t find more than a few hundred who tweet anything worthwhile? While they might provide some good content, so do plenty of other people who don’t have an overtly “I’m better than everyone else” attitude.
  • They follow a large number of people compared to the number of people following them.  Example: 0 followers, but are following 2,122. And you’ll typically find that they have only ever tweeted a couple of times and their profile  pics are seductive and alluring.  Bot alert!!! Again, always look at people’s Twitter profiles before following them.
  • They have a very large Twitter following, but haven’t tweeted all that much. Example: 149,541 followers, but only 47 tweets to their name. There’s no way they accumulated that many legitimate followers with so few tweets…which means they likely have a boat load of fake followers. Steer clear and don’t follow!

In addition to weeding out who NOT to follow, make a concerted effort to follow folks who will bring value to your Twitter feed.

  • Tap into your Linkedin network to find who has a Twitter presence.
  • When you meet people at face-to-face networking events, ask them if they’re on Twitter.
  • Follow your favorite blogs and blog authors.
  • Pay attention to the suggestions in the “Who to Follow” window that’s in the upper left section of your Twitter home page. “
  • Follow your clients and prospects if they’re on Twitter.

Although it took some time for me to get my groove, Twitter has become one of my favorite online spaces for building and strengthening my professional network. I’ve gotten new clients through Twitter, and I have nurtured relationships with existing clients. Twitter has also made me much savvier as a solopreneur because of the breadth of quality information I’ve discovered through my network.

I believe Twitter provides the same opportunities to everyone who uses it with thought and pays attention to who they’re adding to their networks. Make smart choices as you follow others…and the rest will follow.

By Dawn Mentzer

Your turn…What successes and challenges have you had with Twitter? Please share your tips and advice to solopreneurs and small biz owners!

9 Ways Solopreneurs & Small Biz Owners Can Juice Up Their Marketing with Twitter’s Vine App

I really want it, but I can’t have it yet. – says this Android mobile user with dismay. But if you’ve got an iOS device (e.g.

As an Android user, I need to wait to harness the marketing potential of Vine.

As an Android user, I need to wait to harness the marketing potential of Vine.

iPad, iPhone), you can – and if I were you, I’d start experimenting with Vine.

What is Vine?
To bring you up to speed if you haven’t read about it yet, Vine is Twitter’s new app that gives you the capability to make short and sweet 6-second video clips (or shorter clips strung together to create a 6-second video) and share them via the Vine app, Twitter and – with some additional effort – Google Plus. (Note that in theory it should work with Facebook, but users have been experiencing some issues. No doubt they will resolved before too long.)

Though I don’t have access to it yet, it’s captured my attention because I believe it offers solopreneurs and small business owners a way to really spice up their marketing efforts. As you face the pressure to consistently create relevant content to engage – and keep the interest – of your audience, Vine offers a way to quickly generate short unedited blips of content and share them. From what I’ve read, Vine has some – what I’ll call – “technical bugaboos,” but surely those will be worked out and it will only get better.

How might you use Vine to add some pizazz to your marketing? Check out these ideas…

  • Share breaking news about your biz.
  • Show off new product packaging.
  • Announce a new client (with their OK first, of course!).
  • Announce a new project.
  • Demonstrate your [tasteful] sense of humor.
  • Generate buzz about an upcoming event.
  • Give quick tips to your audience.
  • Give a shout out to another professional or a business.
  • Make a call to action for folks to visit your blog or website.

What I’m excited most about is the down-and-dirty opportunity to mix things up. If you’ve primarily generated text content for your business and steered clear from doing video because you found it cumbersome, Vine provides a fast and easy way to do it.

Keep in mind that Vine videos are brief – the 6-second window doesn’t allow for anything very substantive – so depending on what you share, you might need to follow up with additional details via a blog post, newsletter, etc.

Want to learn more about Vine? Here are some helpful posts from various sources…

Vine for Twitter, and what it means for you on Android by Phil Nickinson via AdroidCentral – A rundown of some quirks you might encounter with Vine.

How to Share Vine Videos to Google Plus by Mark Traphagen via Virante Orange Juice – A handy step-by-step for uploading your Vine videos to Google+.

Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool by Daniel Terdiman via CNET.

Why Vine’s Going to Grow Into Something Huge by Mat Honan via Wired Gadget Lab.

Have you tried Vine yet? I’d love to hear about your experience! What ways are you using it to enhance your marketing efforts?

Twitter Quick Tip: Set Up a “VIP List” to Manage Your Feed & Build Your Business

Twitter has become one of my all-time favorite platforms for finding and sharing content, networking, and building Top 10 Buttonprofessional relationships. As my Twitter network grows, however, so does the challenge of keeping up with what many of my key connections are tweeting.

I know I’m not alone. As you follow more and more people on Twitter, the quantity of tweets in your home feed balloons exponentially. And that means tweets by “VIPs,” the individuals and companies who you want to proactively nurture relationships with, often  get lost in the shuffle.

Even if you have a variety of Twitter lists set up according to industry, business focus or geography to organize tweets in your feed, it might not be enough. In my case, it hasn’t been enough! So, I’ve created a new list specifically for a handful of people and businesses who I want to keep better tabs on. By putting them on my “VIP List,” their tweets are far easier to find and react to.

Worried that having a VIP List will seem exclusive? Don’t! Just because you don’t put someone on your VIP List doesn’t mean that they aren’t important! Every connection is valuable, but it’s natural that some are more professionally advantageous than others.

Tips for your VIP List:

  • Make the list “Private” – That way no one will know who is – and who is not – on it.
  • Add individuals and businesses who aren’t frequent tweeters – Reserve your VIP List for people who DON’T show up in your feed regularly. If you’re already catching their tweets, there’s no reason to include them. This list should be for users who either don’t tweet enough to stay on your Twitter radar, or who seem to cluster their tweets at a time that you generally aren’t perusing your stream.
  • Consider including…Prospects, clients, vendors, loyal supporters, sources of referrals.
  • Keep it short – You’ll want to keep your ability to review the feed for this list ultra-manageable. Keep it lean. I recommend 30 or fewer users, but you’ll need to gauge what works for you. And keep in mind that you’ll probably alter your list over time as your professional relationships and priorities evolve.
  • If you use Hootsuite, set up your VIP List as a stream in your dashboard. – That way it will be accessible where you’re most likely to view and use it most effectively.

I don’t recall who blogged about it, but months and months past, I recall someone saying something like, “I follow everyone, and therefore I’m finding that I follow no one.

How true that is when you’ve got a Twitter feed that flows fast and furiously with tweets by hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of users. My hope is that a VIP List will help you set a less overwhelming pace and enable you to more easily follow – really follow – the people and companies that matter most to your business.

What’s your biggest challenge in keeping tabs on key people and companies on Twitter? How do you keep your feed manageable?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do Hashtags Make a Difference? The Results of My Hashtag Experiment!

In an earlier post, I shared my thoughts about using hashtags on Twitter. Rather than completely dismiss their relevance Hashtag imageand effectiveness based on my own personal preferences and preconceived notions, I embarked on a little experiment to find out if they appear to make any difference at all in attracting Twitter followers.

The experiment

For 4 weeks, I proactively used hashtags in all of my tweets (Before the experiment, I only included them when retweeting people who used them in their original tweets).

The baseline

For the two months prior to starting the experiment, my net new twitter followers rang in at 52 and 51 (5.80% and 6.28% of my total followers at the time) in those two 4-week periods.

The results

After my 4 weeks of proactively using hashtags, I gained 61 net new Twitter followers (6.38% of my total followers).

The conclusion

Although I admit that my experiment was hardly scientific and possibly could have benefitted from some additional time, I have to conclude that hashtags don’t significantly impact the growth of your Twitter network.

I should note, however, that although the overall number of new followers may not be affected, it’s possible that engagement is. Twitter users who search for conversations based on hashtags might prove to be more relevant followers who will interact more readily and frequently with your tweets. But I’ll let you run and report on that particular experiment!

For now, I’m back to using hashtags only in retweets when they appear in the tweet before me – and sometimes not even then. With Twitter’s 140-character constraints, every space is prime real estate, you know!

What’s your take on hashtags? Have you found increased following or engagement when using them?

Do #Hashtags Make a Difference?

I’m not a big hashtag user. Yes, I have used them, but generally that’s when I’m retweeting someone else and they’ve Hashtag imageused hashtags in their original tweet.

I guess the writer in me looks at them as a bit of an annoyance:

They’re an interruption. There you are just reading along and “Blammo!” There’s a hashtag disrupting the flow of the content.

They’re blatant attempts to get noticed. They seem so ostentatious. “Hey, look at me! I’m tweeting about something REALLY important!”

Ben Rimalower’s recent post Hastags are Over pretty much echoes my sentiments, but unlike Ben, I do still see some Twitter veterans using hashtags in their tweets.

Why?

One reason that makes me scratch my head in wonder…

I get that hashtags are a way of identifying that a tweet focuses on a specific topic or brand. People interested in that subject can search by typing the hashtag into the “Search” field on Twitter.com or filter by that hashtag in Hootsuite or some other dashboard tool. But when you’re using a specific word or phrase in the tweet anyway, there really seems to be no reason to make it a hashtag. Anyone interested in that keyword will find you regardless of whether or not you use a # in front of it.

One reason that makes sense…

Then there’s using hashtags for Tweet Chats. That one still makes sense. If you’re holding or participating in a live Twitter group discussion, a hashtag (like #smallbizchat for example) enables people to filter out everything else and only see tweets that are a part of the conversation. And by adding that hashtag to the questions or responses that you tweet during Tweet Chats, other participants will be sure to see your tweets.

Hashtag use: Necessary or not?

So it seems hashtags are both obsolete and highly relevant at the same time. Although I currently use them sparingly, I’m curious to see if they would in any way make a difference in how quickly or how slowly my base of Twitter followers grows. I’ve been tracking my weekly followers for some time so I’ve got a good baseline metric for comparison purposes.

Starting Sunday, I’m going to make an effort to add at least one hashtag to every tweet for the next 4 weeks. At the end of my little experiment, I’ll report back on how the new approach affected the growth of my network.

#Staytuned!

What about you? Do you use hashtags and are they helping you grow your Twitter following?

To “MT” or “RT” on Twitter? That is the Question.

When I first took notice of “MT”s (Modified Tweets) in my Twitter feed, I commented on someone’s blog post on the topic that I really didn’t see the point in it. Why complicate things? “RT” (Retweet) covers it.

I take that back.

Though I originally objected to yet another Tweetism that would make Twitter an even more mysterious and scary platform for those who so want to dip their toes in the water but can’t muster the courage, I now find myself using MT in most of my retweets.

Why MT vs. RT?

MT indicates openly that you’ve in some way changed the content of the tweet you’re retweeting.

When should you use it?  MT when…

  • you eliminate words from a tweet to make it shorter to fit the confines of Twitter’s 140-character limit. To facilitate retweeting, you might consider cutting a tweet so it provides room for “RT @” plus your Twitter handle.
  • you change or eliminate a portion of a tweet that might not be appropriate for your audience. Maybe it’s too niche focused or perhaps it has strong language. Either way, MT!
MT Example:

MT (Modified Tweet)

Rules of thumb:
  • MT when you’ve done more than just add or remove punctuation or spaces in a retweet.
  • Don’t MT or RT if you’ve changed a tweet’s content and/or intent beyond recognition. In that case, create your own intro, share the link and mention (@) the Twitter user who brought it to your stream.

Although I don’t view tweets as works of art that should be protected as creative property, I do believe it is common courtesy to acknowledge that a retweet no longer reflects verbatim the words of its source. I predict lots more MTs in your Twitter Home Feed’s future!

Using MTs yet? What unspoken rules do you have for MTing and RTing?

Keeping Up With Connections: Looking for Best Practices!

The Ultimate Challenge

It’s what I find most challenging to stay on top of on social media (especially on Twitter andSocial media followers Google+)…reviewing the profiles of people who have just followed me, to see if their content, industry, or affiliations make following them back the right thing to do. I know that there are probably a hundred or so people among my Twitter followers and Google+ circles who I should be following, but I can’t keep up! And so, I’m begging. I’m pleading for you to share your thoughts, ideas and best practices on efficiently and effectively checking out profiles/posts to decide who to follow back.

What I Don’t Want

I don’t want to follow everyone. And I don’t expect everyone who I follow to follow me. If you don’t enforce some level of selectivity, picking out relevant content in your news feeds becomes a nightmare. I forget where I read it, but someone, somewhere wrote something to the effect of “When I follow everyone; I follow no one.” Truth! If you have to ferret through too many posts/tweets that are completely unrelated to anything that’s within your frame of interest, you’re distracting yourself from the content that really matters. That means the folks who should be getting your attention won’t be getting nearly as much as they deserve, and you could be missing out on some really good stuff.

Help!

How do you manage it?

Do you set aside a certain time of day/week/month to review and organize connections?

Do you put new connections into lists/specific circles as soon as you add them, or do you go back later and classify/categorize?

Do any of you follow everyone back, and then go back later to remove them if their content isn’t relevant?

Please comment here, send me an email or share your suggestions on my Facebook page, via Twitter or on Google+. I’m looking forward to learning from you and sharing your ideas with others in a future post! Thanks in advance for your help!!


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