Just because you have 20,000+ followers doesn’t mean your Twitter feed is successful. Rebecca Lieb, Li Evans and Jennifer Slegg– the lovely and intelligent panel of SES San Jose’s “Extreme Makeover: Live Twitter & Blogging Clinic” session took audience volunteers’ Twitter and blogs and ever so kindly tore them to shreds. Warning: bad Twitter practices below (and some awesome advice).
The first mal-practitioner of Twitter was @jonestshirts which sells blank t-shirts in bulk and uses twitter to drive traffic to their website jonestshirts.com and encourage repeat customers.
Evans– You have 150 followers and are only following 12- why not your followers? Create that relationship and don’t just use it as a RSS feed.
Lieb– When you acknowledge someone with links and pictures that person will RT as a “hey- look at me!”
Slegg– You need more info on your bio and customize your background. Using a customized background is SO important. Don’t just use as a promo feed- engage.
Evans– In terms of the blog: vary, include “funniest t-shirt” post. You may not be selling it or trying to promote it but it’s in the same category and may be of interst to your visitor. Also, add categories.
Slegg– If you’re having problems with spammers on your blog, Akismet– is awesome at stopping SPAM in WordPress
Evans– You can also use CAPTCHA to make sure the commenter is a person.
The next brave volunteer was @WebGuild, which organizes information about stuff that happens in the webspace and writes a feed which goes to Twitter. @WebGuild uses Twitter to drive traffic to the website, they get about 10,000 unique visitors on a good day-12% coming from Twitter. Not bad.
Evans– Do you tweet yourself as YOU?
Evans– You need to.
Slegg– It looks just like an RSS feed threw up in Twitter. You need to re-write to create interest.
Evans– Follow these people back to see if they RT and thank them for it. When you start to put conversation in Twitter you’ll get better feedback.
Question: Corporate Tweeters- should they tweet under the company twitter profile or personal accounts and names?
Evans– It depends. For example, @Zappos- it’s Zappo and a name or initials, but it depends on the company.
The next account up for critique was@BCTravelGuide an account attempting to drive traffic to BCtravelguide.ca and its blog. Wait, where’s the blog? Unfortunately, Lieb had to squint and scroll and squint again to find the tiny blog link in the footer. But it didn’t end there- clicking on the footer link brought Lieb to a page which then had yet another step- three links within two sentences pointing to the same place with “Blog” “here” and “come on in” as anchor text. Not kidding. Ouch.
Slegg– Again, Twitter feed same RSS
Evans– It looks sporadic, but the Bio looks pretty good.
Slegg– This doesn’t look engaging at all.
Evans– It doesn’t look like you understand who your customers are and it looks like you just heard about SEO and just threw it at the wall to see what sticks.
On to the blog critique:
Slegg– The other blog (jonestshirts) didn’t have categories- you have WAY too many categories
Lieb– And organic food? Why is that there?
Evans– It looks like SEO “tricks” and looking at it- it looks like spam.
Lieb– Yeah, it looks like keyword stuffing (Yikes)
Audience Question:I know people are using a lot of automating (Panel groans) but I want to become a thought leader and get a qualified audience @MedicalMktg.
Look at hash tags and friend people who are talking about trending topics in your industry.
RT people’s stuff.
Find a good link on a blog? Tweet it.
Slegg– Follow thought leaders, they have a big audience and RT their stuff, they may follow you back.
Lieb– It could be visually more stunning and use hashtags, makes it easy to follow you.
Evans– Fix you bio.
Lieb– As an author, on Twitter I’m flattered when people recognize me. When you Tweet a good article look them up to see if they’re on Twitter.
Evans– Your company is Health Care Success but the account is @MedicalMktg change that to HCSucces. You need to brand your Twitter handle.
Slegg– Looking at this, I would be sure it’s a spam account.
The next patient at the clinic was @WyoTech, the official auto mechanic tech school of the NHRA with multiple campuses across the States. They are using Twitter to connect with students and hopefully attract new ones.
Evans– I see you do a lot of links. What exactly do you do?
@WyoTech– We’re a trade school.
Evans– You need to hold a real conversation.
Lieb– Your bio needs a little copy-editing, there’s random capitalization of words.
Evans– Go out and look at hashtags where your campus is at and tweet about the city too.
Social media is not easy it takes time to develop conversation and find valuable people to engage.
Lieb– Campuses and schools are really socially oriented, you may want to have different accounts for different campuses. Tell them where to find good pizza in your area or what’s going on in the area.
@WyoTech– We’re one of the official schools for NHRA
Evans– YOU SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT THAT! Not about the drivers but about pit crew- “look at how fast the pit crew changed that tire!”
@WyoTech– Where do I find hashtags?
Lieb– People make them up.
Evans– There is an argument about not needing hashtags but if you want to follow them- they’re being used in Flickr and Facebook, so it’s a good idea.
An automation abuser @MarvinTowler is passionate about motivation and kickboxing as well as the personal assistant to Jack Canfield, author of the famous Chicken Soup books. He wasn’t actually present (good thing too…) but he asked his friend to have his account critiqued.
Evans– Hmm- from API… looks like spam. Get rid of that.
Slegg– And all these quotes? How is this applicable to your followers?
@MarvinTowler Rep– He replies in DM
Lieb– DMs don’t count as engagement
Lieb– What’s he getting out of this?
@MarvinTowler Rep– He’s about motivating people, passionate about kickboxing and personal assistant to Jack Canfield.
Slegg– But how can he follow 20,000+ people? This isn’t useful.
Lieb– It’s like getting a phone and wanting everyone in the phone book to call you.
Evans– Change his bio.
Slegg– Unfollow all these people and go out and find people that interest him.
Evans– Looks like he read a lot of SEO stuff and tried to implement all of it. There is no strategy.
Be real, tweet and engage.
Don’t be too discouraged in tweeters, the next three are on the right track.
@fairchildsemi from engineeringconnections.com
Evans– I do like your background, but I don’t see a lot of conversation
Slegg– You have a fair amount of followers and that’s good. Start engaging them.
Lieb– You’re not using a shortening service. That’s suicide on Twitter because it will cut off URLs that won’t fit.
Evans– You should be tracking how many clicks the tiny urls get- Bit.ly allows you to look at this
Stay away from URLs that put bars up and doesn’t change it back to regular URL
Cli.gs (in seesmic desktop) filters out the bots that click links (the first 25-50 clicks are bots)
Lieb– Last post was august 3rd- that was a little while ago.
But I do like you have other executives and employees blogging about things are more pertinent to your business.
Slegg– I did see you posted the B2B opportunity- you missed the opportunity to say “hey come visit us at…!”
@FairChildSemi– So we should tweet before and during not just after?
Slegg– You’re missing a great opportunity.
Evans– I would use more pictures on your blog.
Lieb– Blog entries with pictures get higher readership.
Slegg– Set up basic categories.
Evans– When you give people too many options to share- they don’t. Choose a few and choose the ones where you’re community is involved. Engineers aren’t sharing industry links on MySpace.
Slegg– Looking at your Twitter feed- It looks like Bit.ly threw up on your page.
Evans– It’s about branding!
Look at your background in different screen resolutions so people aren’t missing out on information.
It looks like this is being typed, but every one has a link and that looks like promotion.
Lieb– The teasers can be a little more “teasey”
Slegg– You are engaging with your audience which is really good.
Lieb– You have a low number of followers and following how long have you been doing this?
@WhitePags– We just started a couple months ago.
Lieb– Well, slow and steady DOES win the race.
Evans– On your bio you have a bit.ly for the url, change that.
Slegg– Don’t just have it publish the headline, it’ll get cut off and it looks spammy.
@Savings and savings.com
Evans– I see you have the Facebook page and website- do you want them to go to your website or Facebook page?
Slegg– You’d be better off tweeting every once in awhile saying, “hey, we’re on Facebook, too!” But this is actually a really good Twitter feed.
Lieb– I’m liking the writing, it’s really engaging. I like the call to action, you’re asking users to submit deals.
Evans– The name could indicate spam, but if you look at the feed there IS real engagement.
On savings.com/blog/blog.html: (yes, the panel commented on the URL too)
Slegg– I like the use of photos.
Evans– Include “recent comments” it shows visitors that people engage.
Slegg– Have “blog” be one of the tabs.
Lieb– Don’t let the “tech guys” push you around.