What message are you (unconsciously) sending on Twitter?

Hoo, Boy, am I getting Twitter follows lately. The holiday season has arrived, and seemingly thousands of people and companies have suddenly decided it’s time to sign up for Twitter and start marketing.

Now actually, it’s a bit late to start a Twitter marketing campaign for this year, but let’s set that aside for the moment. What amazes me is how many of these new Twitter accounts look much spammier than they realize.

I think that often, we get so focused on what we want to say to people on Twitter, that we completely forget to look at what they’re actually hearing. Have you ever looked at your Twitter profile and thought about what messages it’s sending? Have you ever considered whether you look like someone people will want to follow back?

What do your Twitter name and profile say?

When someone new follows me on Twitter, the first thing I do is look at his or her Twitter profile.

The thing is, Twitter is first and foremost a conversation tool. So your Twitter name and profile image tell me something about what kind of conversation you want to have with me.

Are you using your business name as your Twitter name? Is your profile picture a picture of your product, or your logo? Well, then the message you’re sending is: “Hi, I’m a business, and I’d like to market something to you.”

Raise your hand if you want more marketing messages in your life. It’s not that you can’t ever market on Twitter. Twitter is, in fact, a great marketing tool. But you have to use some finesse, and you really need to inject some human warmth into your presence there, or people won’t be inclined to listen to you.

Compare the two Twitter profiles above. Which one seems more interesting? Which one would you be more inclined to follow back?

See, your Twitter bio can mention that you have a business, and it should definitely contain a link to your website or online shop. But if you look like you’re all-business, all the time, you’re costing yourself valuable connections.

…Which brings me to my last point: make sure your Twitter bio is well-rounded. As a potential follower, I want to see some quirky human details. I want to know that you have more to talk about than your business. Be sure to mention your other hobbies and outside interests. They really help you stand out from the marketing pack, and they’ll attract way more followers. (And once I’m interested in you, I’ll be way more interested in your business.)

What do your last five tweets say?

Once I’ve decided I like a new follower’s Twitter profile enough to investigate further, I’ll click over and look at the recent tweets. What are they saying?

If they’re saying anything like what you see above, then I won’t be following back. Who wants to read a series of blank-faced advertisements every day? Forgive me, I’m about to be blunt: there is simply no personality in a Twitter stream like this. Nor is there any value for me as a reader. And again, the message it’s sending is, “I’m interested in you only as a potential target of my marketing.” So I’ll pass.

Now, if a new follower’s Twitter stream has lots of replies to other people in it, the whole perception changes. Now it’s clear that this tweeter is interested in connection with other human beings – and that makes me much more interested in following her. And again, once I’ve gotten to know her a little bit, I’ll be much more interested in hearing about her business.

…And when I see someone who tweets lots of links to stuff I might be interested in, my perception is that this is an interesting person who’ll point me to information and inspiration that will enhance my life. I feel like my investment of time to read his tweets will likely pay off. (I should say, though, there’s an extra shade of finesse to tweeting links. Try to add a little of your own commentary about why a link is worth checking out. What can I expect when I visit there?)

Lastly, when I see someone who retweets other people regularly, I see her as interested in helping other people out, and participating in the community. This tweeter might point me to some good resources, and also to some cool new people to follow. So again, my investment of time to follow her will probably pay off.

It’s in the mix…

Ideally, your Twitter stream will include a little of all of these elements – in your last ten tweets, we should see some replies, some retweets, a good link or two, maybe a personal update or two. (And we can see a marketing message mixed in there, as long as it’s surrounded with other good stuff.) Again, the more you look like a well-rounded person, the more interesting you become.

…So how can you improve the way you look on Twitter?

~Diane Gilleland

See more of Diane’s posts and podcasts here.

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  • http://www.thezenofmaking.com/ thezenofmaking

    Very helpful. You definitely pinpointed the things that can really rub me the wrong way where twitter is concerned–thanks for taking the time to think it through so thoroughly!

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  • http://twitter.com/PrairieWindDsgn Misti Krause

    Fabulous tips! My twitter page is in need of a makeover!

  • http://twitter.com/Joystreetonetsy Marilyn R

    thanks, good info!