Your Twitter Feed Sucks – Here’s How To Fix It

It is apparent to me that most Twitter users using the network for business don’t have a clue what they are doing. It is sad to see how many Twitter feeds that simply Tweet out content for the sake of it and miss out on the opportunity this tool provides. I suppose it has to be expected, many users come from a traditional marketing background and in the old days communication was a one way street.

Twitter is fantastic for making connections, building relationships and nurturing community. When using the tool for marketing and business development you are wasting your time if all you are doing is posting links to content (especially if that content isn’t even yours).

75% of Tweets go unnoticed and fewer than 5% get retweeted. If this resonates then perhaps you should get off Twitter and start doing something more productive. Or, you could consider the following list of tips to make better use of Twitter for business development.

Listen and Respond

If someone retweets one of your posts, have the decency to thank them or at least acknowledge the Tweet. Your community can become a powerful advocate for you and a great way to grow your following but only if you stroke it and respect it. If someone retweets your content regularly and you don’t even notice it shows how little you care and sends a negative message and they will soon stop, or worse start dissing you.  Don’t create trolls!

Be Community Minded

A community relies on the interaction between members. Don’t forget to offer value to your community and you’ll receive value in turn. Engage with as many relevant people as you can – it’ll pay dividends and enhance your Twitter experience. Remember, your social network (on Twitter and elsewhere) is part of your business capital. Make sure it gives you best value, and protect it.

Don’t Over Tweet

It is important to consider your followers and not to be in their face too much.  If you post Tweets every minute of the day it can get annoying for those on the receiving end unless your content is hot (and you will be perceived as having no other work to do!).  Another terrible habit some Twits have is to use a tool that allows you to automatically posts several Tweets at once.  I use the 3 strikes and you’re out formula and unfollow when this happens.

Don’t sell or spam

Overt selling on Twitter is bad.  If we wanted to be sold to we would be watching the ads on prime time TV instead.  If you use your Twitter presence as a blatant sales tool people won’t want to follow you.  Be subtle with your sales pitch.  Try to follow the 80-20 rule and add value 80% of the time then promote 20%.

Don’t Cheat

Don’t plagiarise other peoples Tweets without acknowledgement (remember the “RT”). Retweeting can be a strong tool to make a direct connection so use this as an opportunity to build rapport rather than annoy.  All it takes is a little @.

Don’t be greedy

Watch your follow to follower ratio.  If you are following way more people than you have following you then it looks like you are desperate.  People are less likely to follow you if you have few followers.  You should always have more followers than you are following.

 Be strategic

Get smart with your Twitter time.  Focus on following the companies and people on Twitter that you want to do business with.  Follow them and then look for ways to interact with them, to add value and to get their attention.  When posting content, think strategically about your audience – posts shouldn’t be all about you but all about how you can add value for them.

No one cares what you had for lunch

Lots of Twits still insist on posting inane drivel on their feeds.  You can get away with this if your feed is simply personal but if you are using Twitter for business, this doesn’t cut it.   Here’s a tip – try speaking your Tweet, if it sounds boring and banal then spare us all and don’t post it.

Employ Tools to Help

Your Twitter strategy can be made easier using the right tools. You might want to manage multiple accounts, or deal with multiple timelines – there are tools to help. We use Hootsuite in all of its forms to help us manage our multiple feeds across our team.  You should check it out.

Create Your Follow Policy

Don’t waste time dithering about whether to Follow someone or not. Decide on your Follow Policy from the outset and don’t stray from that – it’ll save you lots of valuable time.

Measure, Measure, Measure

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.  Set goals for your Twitter presence in terms of follows counts, interactions and traffic to your website and make sure you have the tools in place to help you measure your success.  That way you will know whether your time is well spent.

Get with the Program

Too many businesses get on Twitter without having a clue how to use it properly and then have the audacity to turn around and say that Twitter doesn’t work.  Reality check: it isn’t Twitter that doesn’t work, it’s they way you are using it.

Want it done right?  We manage and maintain Twitter feeds for our clients and would love to add you to our roster so give us a shout.


How to Promote Your Blog

A blog is a great way to make your website dynamic (Google loves that), to keep your content fresh for visitors, to establish your expertise and to drive traffic. But there are more than 180 million blogs out there on practically every topic (according to Technorati), so how do you get blog attention? There are many ways to publicize your blog: some are common sense and some more involved.

1. Connections

Connections are vital to establishing your blog: connections both on-line and the physical world. The more connections you have the more people will see your blog, the more you will build awareness of your organisation and what you do.

Start with the easy stuff – make it easy for people to connect with you and make them aware that your company is blogging – add the url of your blog to your employee e-mail signatures, business cards and promotional materials

Connect with your network – tell people you meet about your blog (include friends, family, business associates, partners and clients and anyone else who will listen) – ask them to check it out and tell them their feedback is invaluable. Mention your blog as a resource during speaking engagements.

2. Links

If you’ve done your research, you already know of many appropriate blogs that talk about your industry or area of expertise so start placing meaningful and appropriate comments on other blog posts that are relevant to your business. This will begin to establish your page (not to mention your credibility).

3. Respect

When someone comments on your blog, acknowledge, reply in the comments or e-mail them back to establish a connection with them.  Same goes for posts that mention you – it’s good etiquette to comment with thanks just like Rob did on our last post.

4. Search Engines

Make sure to list your blog with the main Search Engines such as Google and Bing so that people find your posts on the Internet. You might find the following “10 Most Useful Search Engines” article useful.

Next list it with the main blog engines so that readers can locate your pieces there too. There are numerous blog engines (I found over 50) but the main one is Technorati. I found some of these easier to maneuver my way around than others but once you find the right place on the web sites you can often set up them up to update your listing automatically so that your new articles are listed as they are posted.

4. Social

One of the best ways to promote your blog content is through your social presence.  Link to your posts from your Twitter account, Facebook et al and remember to make the precursor stimulating enough that it will make people want to click.  There’s a brand new Facebook plugin for WordPress that will help.

5. Share

Let your visitors do the sharing for you.  Use Share This or Add Me to allow your readers to share your content in the social network of their choice.

6. RSS

Make it easy for people to subscribe to your content via email or a reader using RSS.

7. Content

All of the above are really great methods to promote your blog but perhaps the single most important aspect to consider is your content.  If your posts contain great content that is relevant and stimulating for your intended audience your blog will promote itself, people will want to keep coming back and they will share with their own networks.

Out-Smarts provides blog set up, maintenance and management services.  Contact us for more information.

Protect Yourself & Your Site With Strong Passwords

A few months ago we posted a blog post by Christine Rondeau of Blue Lime Media that discussed how to deal with hackers and spammers.  After a few more months of dealing with hacked sites and researching best practices Christine has written a follow up that emphasises the importance of strong passwords and outlines a few simple rules that, if applied, will help keep you safe online.  Enjoy!

Protect Yourself & Your Site With Strong Passwords

The biggest “Ah Ah” moment for me has been looking into password strength. For the longest time, I used pretty easy to remember passwords, but with the use of 1 password, I no longer have to and can use incredibly long and difficult password. If using such a tool is simply not an option for you, you might want to keep these rules in mind:

  • Use at least half a dozen letters. Mixed-case is good.
  • Use random letters or uncommon acronyms only. Do not use words. If it’s in a dictionary… DON’T USE IT!
  • Use Numbers. At least a few integers (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). More is better.
  • Use Punctuation. Punctuation is essential in a strong password. WordPress and other websites will let you use pretty much any punctuation mark that you see on your keyboard.
  • Change your passwords a few times of year.
  • Do not use the same password as your username or part of the username.
  • Do not use your name, family members or pet names.
  • Take advantage of on-line password generator tools such as Strong Password Generator.

Avoid using these types of passwords at all times:


Finally if you’re more of a visual person, here’s a comic strip that explains password strength.

strong passwords - comic strip