I’m going to be a critic for a quick second here and steer away from my usual “come on, you can do it” tone.
I’ve even used “stupid” in the title, which would have gotten me kicked out journalism school at the University of Maryland.
Why the switch?
Well, because this is a fantastic way to show you how easy it is to weaken your brand online… especially if you’re a consultant as in the following example.
And, friends, this Twitter-er I’m about to critique is a very good business consultant who knows more about MBA-type business than I… but he made the mistake of telling me that working the web “is so easy” he could do it himself.
I applaud the DIY mentality… when it works.
But if you have been doing what I’ve been doing for nearly 15 years in the metro Washington DC/Northern Virginia area… that’d jab your jiblets, too… “easy.”
Nothing personal here, as this is just a fantastic example of what not to do if you want to be taken seriously.
Though this post is Twitter-specific, much of it can be taken into other presences such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
So, let’s dig right in. If you have trouble viewing the text I’ve added to this screenshot, just click on it and you’ll get a bigger, better view.
Social Media Credibility Killers
1 – Announcing to a teeny, tiny audience (probably 1 or 2 followers)
that you’re launching your “social media” campaign… and then dropping the ball… is worse than not starting at all.
Here, the first tweet says “xyz.com has just launched its social media campaign.”
I’m waiting… and social media is not an ad “campaign”, it’s a presence.
This presence, in turn, is about relationships, hopefully with others who have more than 1 tweet that reads “Hello Twitterers” or something to that effect.
2 – Leading us on.
Telling all 8 of your followers (me included… just for fun) to check back often for special offers and freebies, and then not having any, is a double credibility killer.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling very special right about now (sniff, sniff).
3 – 3 tweets in 5 months?
Come on, guys, this tells me you don’t have much to say… or (boo hoo) you don’t care about me… 12% of your audience!
4 – Following too few.
This says you’re selfish (in a “social media” sense).
5 – Followed by fewer.
This says you’re boring.
6 – Listed by none.
This says you’re boring as hell.
7 – “No Favorites”
This says you’re boring as hell AND afraid of commitment.
8 – Laying an egg.
Too many “egg” icons on your profile? Wondering why your icon changed to an egg?
These are the default Twitter icon for beginners.
This should be the first thing to go when you set up your profile.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re waiting for the eggs to hatch and monitoring their progress, that’s fantastic!
But I don’t see any hatching going on here.
9 – Stepping on a geek’s toes.
Telling me, or any other established web professional, that setting yourself up online is “easy.”
Want an analogy outside of tech?
My wife is an accomplished physical therapist in private practice.
Try telling her your post-op shoulder rehab treatment protocol can be explained over a cocktail at a party and you’ll see what I mean.
Love ya, honey
Got Anything Good To Say? What’s right with it?
Of course, there are positives to this profile too.
1 – It exists.
Come on, let’s give the guys a break.
According to the latest studyby the Pew Internet and American Life Project, there are millions of active Twitter users with a median age of 31.
They are “mobile, urban and engaged online.”
This, my friends, sounds like fertile ground for building relationships with affluent, or soon-to-be affluent people.
And since 59% of Twitter users are females (my offline industry’s primary customers), it only makes sense to meet them where they are.
2 – It shows that it’s linked to the Facebook presence.
One of the three tweets came from Facebook.
This implies at least a basic understanding of which button to click.
But I can’t stay positive the whole time here because this may also say the Facebook presence may be ignored as well… oops.
3 – The “Bio” is filled out and uses up the valuable 140-character real estate.
This is good.
Use it up and fill it with appropriate words relative to you and your style.
Search.Twitter.com is being used with greater frequency, and this bio can be found.
Think of it as another store front in a different section of town.
4 – The web url is in the bio.
You’d be amazed how many forget this simple step.
Check out my Twitter list of “guru’s, experts and professionals”
and see which ones don’t have a url… you’ll get the irony.
5 - The owner’s icon has been changed from the egg.
Of course, it’s a boring Sears portraity-faux-painted background, but it’s better than an egg!
See, I’m not all that bad!
NEX T STEPS
“But what do I do now?”
Let me offer up a few words of friendly advice if you have a profile that needs serious “pimping.”
1 – Start
Do like the above example and start.
But for goodness sake, don’t drop the ball.
2 – Link
Link it to your other online real estate.
It’s got to be connected to your website, Facebook presence, YouTube profile, Foursquare, etc… through a link in the bio and links woven into the tweets.
Interested parties can go through your tweet history and click on links from your past.
I see it all the time, and I do it when I come across someone interesting.
3 – Be 140 smart
Set up your profile and use all 140 characters with keywords relevant to your goal… but don’t be boring.
Include hobbies, anything that will make you interesting.
You can even include geo-specific keywords and, if appropriate, zip codes.
If you come across as a sales person in your bio, you will lose.
But slipping a little selling language in is ok, especially if it’s product- or service-specific.
4 – Change
Occasionally change your profile wording to reflect your varied interests and attract new followers.
5 – FOLLOW
Follow interesting people and retweet their good stuff.
Ask them for advice, too, and they may follow you back.
Remember, this is social
And, you may be the one to introduce your followers to someone interesting like @Loic
of Apple-now-Alltop fame), @Scobleizer
(Robert Scoble, a well-connected smart guy)or @Lockergnome
of CNN and etc web note)… all of whom you follow, right?
I’ve gotten to know these web superstars over the years and their online worlds are full of valuable information.
6 – FOLLOW BACK
Follow those who follow you, and do not over-think this.
You can always unfollow and block them if they’re trolls or porn star wannabe’s, but that’s another story.
7 – Hyperlink your tweets
Include links in your tweets often.
I said it in #2, but it’s worth repeating
8 – A picture is worth a thousand words
Include pics intermittently in your tweets.
If you don’t know how, email
9 – Say something
Seriously, though, offer some value.
In my opinion, you should also occasionaly serve up some humor.
10 – List and be listed
Build lists and list people you admire and want to follow you.
This shows you are savvy.
Don’t give up.
Here is an example of someone who seems as though they gave up (in my geeky opinion):
This one is tragic, but one day, good old Bob may give me a call (although I prefer email, Skype video, FaceTime, Meebo…) and I’ll lend a hand.
You can always ask me for advice… hopefully before I give it “unsolicited.ly” as in the above examples.
If you’d like to learn more about social media and real business, even if it’s just to check on your brand, check out the book The Social Media Equation. One tip from it could save you embarrassment or make you thousands!
Click the image to order and you will be able to download it immediately.
All the best,
@WebMindSet @ 14,000 ft
PS – this post got Alltop-ed 11 hours after I posted it.
If you don’t know, that’s a good sign.
Thanks Guy Kawasaki!