Friday, September 11, 2009

More Twitter Tips

Are you following me on Twitter?

A few months ago, I posted a ton of Twitter tips on this blog. That post represented a small fraction of what I know about how to use Twitter most efficiently & effectively. I thought it was time to give up more of my secrets ;) I hope you learn something new!

Color Counts

Take a few minutes to make sure that the color of your tweets and the background for them is easy to read on both desktops & via mobile web access. I look at every new person I follow back and see that maybe 1 in 50 are using a color combination that make it unreadable to read the tweets. It's best to use contrast - i.e. use a dark color on a light background or a light color on a dark background.

Why is this important? Most Twitter users manually follow people back. They want to have a look at the tweets of those they follow. If people have difficulty reading your tweets, it might reduce the likelihood they will return the follow (if that is important to you). There's another reason: often people will go to a user's profile page to catch up with them or because they want to see exchanges they have with other users. Again, why make it more difficult for people to read your tweets than it needs to be?

Your Avatar

Try and avoid changing your avatar unless it is necessary. If you do change it, try and keep a similar look. I made a major change in April with my avatar from a glam-style photo to the one I use now. Six weeks after the change, I was still getting tweets from people who hadn't recognized me. People reading their stream look at avatars more often than names. A major change in your avatar can make it difficult for people to realize it is you.

If you do want to make a major change, make sure it is to something you can be consistent with from that point on or that at least you can be recognizable.

DM Hygiene

If you delete a DM from your sent folder, it will also delete it from the recipient's inbox. Since many Twitter users do not receive text messages or emails of DMs, this means if you delete an unread DM, the recipient will never know you sent it.

Every few weeks I will tweet this as a tip & there are always many long-term Twitter users that aren't aware of this so I thought it was worth adding to my blog :)

Getting Behind In Mentions

If you are away from Twitter for an extended period - let's say vacation or you've been too busy with other things - be aware that if you are using tools that access Twitter via API, there is a limit of 200 mentions that can be retrieved per API call. If you know you were up-to-date with replies the last time you logged on, retrieve your mentions and check the date of the oldest one that shows. If the date/time doesn't coincide with your last tweet, then what you may want to do is use Twitter search. Twitter search also has limits on how many tweets it will show per request. However, if you go to advanced search, you can specify a date range. (This was partially covered in my previous post but I neglected to mention the API limitation.)

Using Twitter Search

Be aware if you are using Twitter search on your own mentions or for some other reason, many tweets do not show up in search. Aside from those that have protected tweets, the tweets of those people who are not appearing in search will not show up. I estimate that in my own case around 1 in 15 mentions do not appear in search.


I strongly recommend you do not use a URL shortener in your bio. If people do not know what they are clicking on, they will often not click. I did a short test with this and found that my click through from bio with a URL shortener vs domain name resulted in less than 50% of the clicks.

Follower Hygiene

For personal reasons, I choose to follow back everyone that follows me. (Although I may start to change this policy soon with new followers.)

I am awful with removing those that unfollow me. I did a few batches of 100-200 a few months ago and have done nothing since. Part of the reason is because with the number of people I follow it is tedious to consider doing manually via the Twitter pages. Also before Twitter changed the page numbers for following/followers, I had blank pages so none of the tools would work on my list. There were many inaccuracies.

Last week, I went to, entered my username and then exported a list of "following" - ie people I was following and who were not following me back. There were almost 2,000. This was way too many to get rid of manually at one time so what I did was this: I added an extra column in that divided the following into followers and then sorted on that column. This let me see right away who was "pumping and dumping" - ie building a following proactively only to dump many/most of them once they were happy with their numbers or for some other reason. I've unfollowed around 500 since then. The rest I'll eventually get to :)

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Don't include a personal url when sending someone an @ reply. It's perceived as spamming. By this I mean tacking on your domain name to a tweet that has nothing to do with your business.
  • Don't tweet everyone new that follows you or that you follow. It's really annoying for your existing followers and you'll likely lose people.
  • If you want to greet new followers, take a minute to look at their bio and tweets to use "something" to start a conversation with. Too much effort? Then why follow people unless you intend on building some kind of relationship or network with them?
  • Create goodwill - if you share something someone else has tweeted, make sure to give attribution to it by using either RT or via. :) See my last tips post for more on retweeting.
  • If you will be away from Twitter from an extended period - whether it is 12 hours, a day or a week, try and make sure your last tweet or two is representative of you. I've noticed huge fluctuations in how many new followers I get based on the tweets I leave up when I am not around.
See you on Twitter!

P.S. If you feel you could benefit from some professional Twitter training, check out my Twitter landing page for what I am currently offering :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

New Twitter Landing Page + Training

Until now, I've always linked my Twitter profile to this blog. However, with the growth in the number of followers I have, I'm finding that I get a lot of the same questions over and over again and I thought it was time for a change. I set up a page at that answers many of the most common questions I receive from followers. Hopefully it will allow me to avoid being repetitive and to focus on providing new, fresh content on a continual basis. :)

This page is a definite work in progress. I have tons more to add and will soon be offering an inexpensive consult on a by question basis for SMBs that may need help. This will be provided in conjunction with a live show I'll be starting very soon :)

On a daily basis, I have anywhere from a few to a dozen people ask if I provide any kind of Twitter training. For the most part, this is from small business owners who want to learn how to use Twitter more effectively. Until now, the training I've done has been primarily high-end - and out of the reach of the "little guy." I'm currently working with Joshua Denney and Josh "Shua" Peters on a comprehensive group Twitter training program we'll be rolling out very soon.

In the meantime, I am making myself available to take on a very limited number of clients for 1 or 3 hour one-on-one training sessions. This is at a fraction of the rate I have performed any work at in years. I've generated 7 figures of income from Twitter this year - without openly promoting any business. I do it by following rule #1 of social media: being authentic. If you find yourself struggling with Twitter in any way... if you want to grow your follower base..if you're having a hard time translating Twitter into $... if you're having trouble positioning... or just learning how to use Twitter effectively... this may be just what you need. This is NOT an out-of-the-box program but will be customized training based on the responses you provide to a questionnaire. I have been helping clients for 2 decades make more money and have fun doing it.

My schedule right now is very tight and I can only offer approximately 20 hours of training over the next 4 weeks. I suggest if you are remotely interested in this, don't delay. I will never offer one-on-one Twitter training again at this price.

Sessions will be conducted by Skype and can be coordinated to meet any schedule/time zone. Here's how it works: choose one of the 2 payment options below. Payment can be remitted easily via Paypal. If you cannot use Paypal, contact my staff via email asking to be invoiced for either the 1 or 3 hour Twitter training via Google Checkout. Within 12 hours of when payment has been received, you will receive an initial client questionnaire. This will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete. When you have finished it, you will return it via email and we'll then schedule your training session(s). If you order the 1 hour training, you'll receive a 45 minute session and then one follow-up 15 minute session. The 3 hour training is comprised of 2 x 1 hour sessions and 2 x 15 minute follow-ups. If you order the 1 hour training, you'll be able to receive a credit against the cost of the group training should you feel you need more assistance. If you order the 3 hour training, you'll receive the group training for free which will also include your additional 30 minutes of one-on-one assistance.

Monday, September 07, 2009

New personal blog

I just set up a new personal blog at The blog will tackle some emotional issues I am dealing with right now. The first post is "Putting up Walls." In the few short hours since it has been up, I've received several comments publicly and a few dozen privately. Many people have commended me for being honest and open. Most people seemed to be able to relate to it in some way. Read it and let me know what you think. It's a huge move for me to go public with this given that I'm generally a very private person.