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://jorpins.tumblr.com/ ejorpin

    Oh man this is such a GREAT post! The examples you give are perfect illustrations of how to engage, entertain and entice (and how not to be just another spammer). Like any social media Twitter takes time, but you can get so much out of it with the right approach (and not just brand exposure – I mean things like friends! and support! and answers to questions you always wanted to know!)

  • http://twitter.com/ByTheWay2 Jaci Wollenberg

    Lots of great insights and suggestions! Thanks! Gotta go update my profile :)

  • http://www.julieriis.etsy.com Julie Riisnaes

    Thanks for this – I get quite confused about how best to tweet!

  • http://www.fatdogbeads.com Bobbi Helms/fatdogbeads

    Really good post. I often confuse what message I want to send with what message I am actually sending. I will rethink what I tweet in future.
    I think it’s important to get some of your personality into what you are saying.

    thanks again

  • Mike

    A lot of good info! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/debthepotter debbabcock

    Very good points, and something to think about. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/old_world_prims Old World Primitives

    Great advice! I check the same things that you do before deciding who to follow on Twitter. If someone is all marketing, all the time – I don’t follow back.

  • Anonymous

    Great advice! I’ve been deleting people who are only posting links to their products. It clogged up my twitter and was annoying. I don’t mind links here and there, but if that’s it, no thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree – I’m open to the occasional marketing tweet, as long as it’s blended in with lots of conversation and sharing of valuable info. But all marketing, all the time? I don’t follow back. It’s too bad, because that’s a potential connection lost (for both sides).

  • katrina

    great piece. while I don’t mind occasional marketing tweets (and I know I’ve been guilty of some on my own) I always think it’s great to find someone new that has a good balance of info + quirk + personality.

  • http://eightymillion.etsy.com Jennifer Schulting

    You make a ton of valid points here Diane.

    Twitter isn’t QVC….I often get frustrated at the endless stream of tweets of products, but haven’t had the notion to delete them, I would feel guilty. Silly, I know.

    I do check others out before following them also, good advise! Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://modpodgerocks.blogspot.com Mod Podge Amy

    GREAT advice Diane – I love this post. I’ve been Tweeting forever and just learned a lot :D

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  • http://filmspack.com/page/sitemap/ Movie catalog

    movie film – catalog. New DVD

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  • http://twitter.com/BluKatDesign BluKatDesign

    Good ideas here; I will work on my profile now!

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  • http://twitter.com/WriterCrafter Kimberly Chapman

    Yup, as a crafter, I automatically ignore people who are only trying to sell me crafts. But amusing people with craft tips…that’s someone I’ll follow.

    Also, I actually tried typing in the link in your graphic for the perfect googly eye because I want to know about that! So sad that it’s not real!

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  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Kimberly! I, too, would love to find the perfect googly eye. :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/shopdomestica Domestica

    I use my business logo as my avatar, but I rarely talk much about what I have for sale – I’m connecting with like-minded peeps, sharing cool finds, asking about people’s latest news, etc. I think a logo is fine as long as you’re not blanketing peeps with your etsy listings (hate, hate, hate). Rather be up front that I’m a biz, than try to fool tweeps by calling myself something like CraftyGirl609.

  • Rootsandwingsco

    Great ideas, Diane! I’ve had the same feelings, but you put them into words! Twitter is about the connection! You always bring up great things to think about! I think that’s what I love about you. You don’t just spew information at us but you offer ideas that make us stop and look at how we are doing something and what effect it is having. Thanks, as always!
    Rebecca@RootsAndWingsCo

  • Anonymous

    Well, we can totally agree to disagree there, Domestica. I certainly didn’t mean to give any impression that people should “try to fool” anyone by using a real name. It’s just an impression – “I’m a business” vs. “I’m a person.” Obviously, people around the world will respond to that dichotomy in many different ways.

  • Deirdre Randall

    definately informative!

  • http://twitter.com/joeschubach Joe Schubach

    Thanks for this – we’re learning how to become part of the Twitter community while still using it as a marketing tool. But bottom line: people want useful information and they want to connect.

  • http://twitter.com/LeafandInk Lisa-LeafandInk

    Oh yes! We are definitely in agreement! We don’t mind the period marketing from one. We all gotta make a liv’n right?! However, it’s all about community, relationship, information, life, research & personality. Don’t be a bore. We have enough to bore us in the world of repetition as it is! Be real!
    LeafandInk.com

  • http://twitter.com/LeafandInk Lisa-LeafandInk

    Think I’ll RT this every day at least 5 times! :-))

  • http://twitter.com/JenipherLyn Jenipher

    This was very helpful!
    thank you! :)

  • http://www.charouellette.etsy.com Charouellette

    You have opened my eyes…thanks! I think I will tweet this link ;)

  • 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!

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