A couple of months ago, a friend of mine, Jason Stoddard, told me that he was pulling together a conference here in Austin. Based on the description and the group of people he was pulling together (see below for list), I couldn’t help but agree to speak. To that end, I’ve been a bad partner in letting people that follow my blog know about the Ubiguity Marketing UnSummit.
The title of this post asks, “can you judge a book by its cover?” You can when the “cover” is the front page of someone’s Twitter account and you’re judging whether to follow them. That page contains an avatar image (usually the person’s photo), a short biography (no more than 160 characters long), a link to the person’s home page (or company, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.), and — crucially — the most recent 20 tweets that the person has sent. You can click through to see more tweets in batches of 20, but if you follow many people on Twitter, doing that often takes more time than it’s worth.
And there’s the rub: if you want more people to follow you on Twitter, you have very little time to make a good first impression on them . . . but many ways that you could string landmines of the “Don’t Follow Me” variety across their path.
Recently four heavy Twitter users — Meg Fowler, Jim Storer, Aaron Strout, and Tim Walker — got to talking (on Twitter, of course) about the poisoned words, phrases, and other cues that automatically signal “Don’t Follow” for them. The end result was that the four decided to bang out a joint blog post that talked about best practices in not following based on not liking the proverbial “cover” put forth by fellow tweeters. Here’s what we came up with:
- “MLM” (multi-level marketing). I’m sure that somewhere, some nice person who does MLM could explain to me how it’s not a veiled Ponzi scheme. Until then . . . you’ll pardon me if I continue to think of it as “a veiled Ponzi scheme.” No thanks.
- Tweets that include “buy followers” or “hundreds of followers” or anything else in the “get lotsa followers!” genre. I try hard to earn new followers by being relevant, interesting, funny, and personable. The idea that you would buy yours in bulk — much less promote that process — disgusts me.
- Political ig’nance. I follow people of all political stripes, from all over the world. But if you have to wear your politics on your sleeve, and if your politics are of the knee-jerk type (again, regardless of your leanings), I just can’t stand to follow you.
- Calling yourself a “visionary” or “expert” or (shudder) “guru.” It’s much better to say you’re a “marketing veteran” or “experienced sales leader” or whatever. Let *others* call you a visionary.
- For me, it’s more about “who do I need to block around here?” Because no one likes to be spammed. So if I see any of this in your bio and/or first 20 tweets…
- Requests to “follow me back!”
- Promotion of affiliate programs
- Actual affiliate links as the link in your bio
- Any mention of followers (“I can get you followers!” “Get thousands of followers!” “5,000 followers and growing!” “This program will get you followers overnight!”)
- “Make money online (from home, easily, doing practically nothing, overnight, with my system, etc.)”
- Promises to “generate” anything: money, cash, followers, success, creeping rashes…
- Promotion of tooth whitening programs (Seriously?)
- A mention of your Twitter Grader Rank
- Mention of “Sponsored Tweets”
- Mention of your “Twitter eBook FREE JUST CLICK HERE”
- Presence of “69” in name (or “Shelly Ryan” as your name… poor, poor real @ShellyRyan)
- Rockstar/Maven/diva/coach/thought leader/guru/expert/pro/maverick
- Porn-star-like attributes in avatar or links (Nudity, actual sexual acts, clear intent to seduce me with something other than words)
- Requests to click through to “see your profile”
- Googly-eyed “Twitter Basic” avatar (upload a photo, PLEASE)
- @ing people the same link OVER AND OVER
Jim Storer’s“not follow” strategy
I’ve never auto-followed anyone, which at this point means I’ve vetted (to varying degrees) nearly 3,500 people. Until recently you had to click through to a person’s/bots profile page to get the skinny on who they are. Now some of that info is available in the new follower email, but what I look for is the same.
- Following to Follower % (you’re following dramatically more people than follow you) – If this is too imbalanced there’s something fishy and I’m not biting.
- # of Updates to Followers/Following #’s – In the last six months I’ve started to see a lot of people with 5k+ followers/following and less than 100 updates. That suggests you’re just using a program to rack up followers and that just wrong (IMHO). I’m not interested in being another notch on your bedpost.
- If your bio includes any of the following I’m not interested: “more followers”, “make money”, “expert” (at anything), “MLM” and everything else Tim, Meg and Aaron came up with. I trust them.
- If the words you chose to describe your pursuits in your biography are overly loquacious I will not be inclined to follow you back. Get real… use real words and tell me who you are.
- If you haven’t written anything in your bio and/or you haven’t added a photo, I’m not following you.
- If you have zero updates how am I supposed to know what you’re going to talk about? I’m not listening until you start talking.
- If your last few updates are repetitive and too self-promoting, I’m not interested in seeing that day to day. I already saw what you have to say when I was checking out your profile.
- In most cases (not all), I like seeing a picture. If someone is obviously a n00b who looks to be figuring things out, I’ll cut ’em some slack. Otherwise, they don’t make the cut.
- I need a bio. Is it too much to tell me what you do?
- I also need a tweet or two (unless they are a friend of mine and then of course they get the free hall pass)
- No “get rich fast, affiliate or “let me sell you some shit” in the bio or last few tweets.”
- One I get stuck on a lot is the news feed/blog title posts. These really depend on follow ratio and quality of the tweets. It also is up to my mood. If I’m hand following 40-50 people, these folks usually make it in. If it’s 4-5, not so much.
- I will follow ANYONE from Austin (pornos excepted)
- Oh yeah, I don’t follow webcam girls or known pornos.
The Quick’n’Dirty Social Media Podcast kicks off today at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, this project is a joint one withAaron Strout, and it came about after a dinner debate in San Francisco. We’ll be doing all kinds of fun stuff — point / counterpoint, case studies, highlighting lesser known social networks, spotlighting cool members of the social media community, and we’ll even have regular guests. Our first show is going to be a little less formal since we want a chance to play with the format and get some feedback, so we won’t have a guest this week. But we will have other fun stuff.
Speaking of fun stuff, we’d also hosted a two-week long logo design contest. Well, you see the logo above. We love it! Big thanks to Kenneth Lim who designed the winning logo. He went above and beyond and gave us several options, and the design was so clean and fun that we had to go with it. Kenneth has won the following:
- Seagate: Free Agent Go portable hard drive
- Intel: A coveted Ajay Bhatt t-shirt
- Scate Ignite: Copy of Scate Ignite 4 multi-media presentation and e-learning software
- EuSecWest: Conference ticket -OR- MIMO UM710 mini monitor
I am sure we will do other giveaways and prize incentives in the future, so be sure to listen to the podcast. The BlogTalkRadio link is here. Will you join us?
Cross-posted from http://mediaphyter.com
Aaron is the head of location based marketing at WCG, a global agency offering integrated creative, interactive and marketing communications services to clients in healthcare, consumer products and technology. At WCG, Aaron not only focuses on helping customers with mobile marketing and location based marketing but also helps provide social voice for the company. In this role, Aaron continues with his speaking, blogging (syndicated on socialmediainformer.com), podcasting and social networking activities with an eye toward creating awareness and lead generation for WCG. Prior to joining WCG, Aaron spent time as the CMO of social media agency, Powered Inc., VP of social media at Mzinga and director of interactive at Fidelity Investments.
In addition to his knowledge of the interactive and social media landscape, Aaron has more than 17 years of online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong background in integrated and online marketing. Aaron is a founding member and former president of (BIMA) and a member and former board member of the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX). Aaron is also on the advisory board of the prestigious Social Media Club.
You can reach Aaron at stroutmeister AT gmail DOT com or on Twitter.
- PubCon – March 8, Austin, TX – Social Business panel
- SXSW – March 13, Austin, TX – Road Rules for Mentorship
- ITSG Conference – April 28, Scottsdale, AZ – Geolocation-Based Services (Mobile) panel
- Location Based Innovations to Enhance Social Media Marketing Conference – May 2-3, Las Vegas, NV – Insights from the Authors Who “Wrote the Book” on Location-Based Marketing!
- WOMMA’s School of WOM Conference, May 9-11, Chicago, IL (Swissotel) – Joint panel w/ Location Based Marketing for Dummies co-author, Mike Schneider
- Measure Up Conference – June 6-8, Boston, MA – LBM: How Can We Use the Data Here to Optimize Offers and Drive Incremental Revenue
- MarketingProfs Digital Forum, February 2-4, 2011, Austin, TX
Why Facebook Should Be and Essential Ingredient in Your Marketing Mix
- Location-based Marketing Summit: September 29-30, 2010, New York, NY
Location Based Marketing Consumer Behaviors and The Evolution of Social Networking – How to Plan for it.
- GeoM: October 4, 2010, Boston, MA
Making Money from LBS
- BlogWorld Expo: October 14, 2010, Las Vegas, NV
Location! Location! Location!
- Mass Comm Week, October 25, 2010, San Marcos, TX
Location Based Services Panel
- Innotech: October 28, 2010, Austin, TX
Social Media: 12 Months from Today
- Corporate Social Media Summit: June 15, 2010, New York, NYIntegrate social media into your marketing mix – and fully leverage social’s power
- Wine Industry Technology Symposium, July 13-14, Napa, CAAchieving ROI through SMO and Location Based Marketing
- Boston Social Media Breakfast, May 6, 2010, Boston, MA
- Social Media Strategies and Community 2.0 Conference, May 3-5, Boston, MA
- SXSW: March 12, 2010 Austin, TX
- AMA CMO Panel: February 17, 2010 Austin, TX
- Social Media Club: February 18, 2010 Dallas, TX
- DMA’s NCDM Conference: December 9, 2009 Las Vegas, NV
- IHAF Conference: October 8, 2009 Norwood, MA
- Driving Sales: October 14, 2009, Las Vegas, NV
- Social Media: Where it Works in Business and Does it Fit in Automotive?
- Blog World Expo: October 16, 2009, Las Vegas, NV
- The Twitter Game – How to “Play” Social Networking and Why it’s a Bad Idea
- AMA New Jersey – September 17, 2009Climbing the Social Ladder
- 140 Character Conference – June 16-17, 2009Twitter as the GPS for the Greater Social Media Mesh
- New Marketing Summit, Dallas – May 27-28 2009I’m Your Customer and I Can’t Hear You!
- The Conference Board: Marketing & Technology Summit – May 15, 2009Shaping Perceptions of Your Organization Using Web 2.0
- AV Marketing Roundtable – April 30, 2009Creative Ideas to Stretch Your Marketing Budget, Austin, TX
- New Marketing Summit, San Francisco – April 28-29, 2009I’m Your Customer and I Can’t Hear You!
- AMA’s M-planet Conference – January 27, 2009Competing in a World of Networked Organizations: Implications for Marketing.
- Gilbane Conference – December 4, 2008Collaboration and Social Computing for Publishing Professionals
- MITX Event – July 15, 2008 (video)Social Media: Lead Generation: The Business of Using Blogs, Podcasts, Message Boards and Facebook
- Enterprise 2.0 Conference – June 11, 2008Social Network Shootout
- IMC USA – May 22, 2008Social Networking and Web 2.0
- ACORD/LOMA – May 14, 2008 (video – click on “Social Media Panel Discussion)We are Smarter Than Me: How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business
- Community 2.0 Conference – May 13, 2008Marketing of, to, and through Online Communities
- Social Media Breakfast, Boston – May 1, 2008 (video)Hiring in a 2.0 World
- Milken Institute Global Conference, April 29, 2008Social Networking for Companies: A Hands On Guide (Conducted w/ Mzinga Chairman, Barry Libert)
- ForumOne Communications Online Business Community Forum – April 15, 2008Community Value and Revenue Techniques
- United Nations Meets Web 2.0 – March 24, 2008Social Networks and ICT Entrepreneurs
- MarketingProfs B2B Virtual Conference – March, 2007What data can we now collect on customers, and what does that mean for evolving security and privacy issues?
- Web Guild Web 2.0 Conference – January 29, 2008– Understanding the Social Graph
– The Power of Crowdsourcing
- June 21, 2007Making the Business Case for Social Media – Measuring the ROI of Social Media Programs
- NetFinance Forum – May, 2006E-mail best practices roundtable
- Forrester Finance Forum – June, 2005Designing a Great Web Experience
Aaron’s Areas of Expertise
- Location-based Services/Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- The New Agency: Picking the Right Partner to Support your Social Media Efforts
- Social Media for Business
- Enterprise Twitter Strategies
- Location-based Services for Business
- Building Business Communities
- Blogging/podcasting Best Practices