Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

How to get a Twitter Snob to Pay Attention

Monday, July 27th, 2009

A few months ago, I hinted that Twitter snobs won’t follow you for certain reasons – and can you really blame them, what with all of the spammers out there these days. So here are some tips and tricks for getting those industry leaders, Twitter gods and goddesses, and self-proclaimed snobs to follow you. (And, for the record, a lot of them have a strict “no following” policy.)

The Basics (or getting someone to at least consider following you)

  • Build out your profile. I can’t say it enough..I refuse to follow people who are still O_o, with no name, and no bio. (Oh, and if your website is one that has a video below a 72 font “I make $3,939 a day and here’s how; don’t expect a follow by me.)
  • Please don’t wink at me. I don’t know if this is a trend, but lately I’ve been seeing animated gif avatars. One in particular winked, another danced around in an awkward robotic way. All I need is a picture of your pretty smile. Leave it at that.
  • Don’t have more following than followers. At least exponentially. It’s something people look at when they get the “so-and-so is following you” email. If you’re following 1,328 and 4 are following you back…then I’m sorry, but I’m not going to follow you either. Which brings us to..
  • Don’t sign up for those bogus following sites. Sometimes I’ll see people tweet tools to “Get 400 followers a day”. Don’t do it…that’s not how you should be using Twitter. You should slowly (and organically) gain a following.

The hard part: Keeping followers

  • Please…for all that is holy…DO NOT send me an auto DM. I think I’ve seen one or maybe two people pull off a witty auto DM. Other than that, directing me to your bogus article about making $3,939 per day will result in an auto unfollow.
  • Engage your following. Twitter is a social networking tool – it should be used as such. So, make sure you reply, DM, and Retweet often – especially to someone you may have followed but isn’t following you. Obvious self promotion is a sure fire way to get unfollowed.
  • Don’t overwhelm your followers. I put this question out to the Twitter community, and one response I’d forgotten was the obnoxious-every-five-minute-tweeter. Yeah, don’t do that.

What about you?…what drives you crazy enough to get in touch with your Twitter snob within?

Nicki Hicks
Follow me on Twitter

Maine Tweetups: Bringing Twitter Networking to Real Life #metweetup

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

maine tweetupSince January, Maine has been celebrating tweetups like no other state. Originally started by @therichbrooks and @ccmaine, folks in the Portland region have been putting aside their iPhones and BlackBerrys (for the most part) in order to enjoy each others’ company in a physical capacity.

What’s so great about a Maine Tweetup? Well, one of the criticisms of social media is by using it, you lose the personal connection: with a voice or a face. This way, we’re getting the best of both worlds: the massive power of social media with face-to-face interaction (and perhaps a cocktail or two ;) ).

Furthermore, it’s great to get out in Portland and enjoy the company of so many great people.

Live in Maine? On Twitter? Well, join us!

Nicki Hicks
Follow me on Twitter (or come to a #metweetup and meet me in person)

How to Become A Twitter Pro in No Time: A Guide for Twitter Newbies

Friday, May 15th, 2009

No time…also known as the time it takes to read this post.

Starting out: Create your personality and/or brand.

default twitterGet rid of this picture. That is, unless you happen to look like o_O. Post a picture of yourself.

If you’re representing your company, then be your brand. If you’re representing yourself, then be yourself. Simple as that.

People often hint at the question: Should I have a different persona on Twitter? I give a resounding NO. As in real life, be yourself and if someone doesn’t like it, then chances are you probably don’t want to be working with them anyway.

Offer something valuable.

Before you start following 2934 people, put up some interesting content. Allow me to let you in on the “Am I going to follow this person?” process:

  1. Receive “So-and-so is now following you on Twitter” email. If name incorporates a lot of numbers, strange characters, or extremely risque verbiage, might possibly delete email. If not, continue to Step 2.
  2. See so-and-so’s picture (refer to “starting out”). If it’s o_O or a risque girl, delete email. If not, continue to Step 3.
  3. Look at number of following and followers. If the number of following far exceeds followers (I’m talking 3987 following and 34 followers), delete email. If not, continue to Step 4.
  4. Check out the number of updates. If the number is very low and followers/following are high, I tend to question this person. If all looks normal, continue to Step 5.
  5. Check out the Twitter page. (This is the one and only reason to have a really great background.)
  6. Look at recent posts. If there’s only a tweet or two and one is Trying to figure out Twitter, consider yourself not followed.

That may look like Twitter snobbery, but hey, I’m just looking out for you.

At the same time, creating interesting content is an ongoing process – just like blogging or creating web copy. There’s no harm in pushing your business or tweeting about your latest article, but give more than that too.

Find people in your niche.

There are a ton of great tools to search for people talking about what you’re interested in. The best and easiest is probably Twitter Search.

Once you start following a few people, you’ll quickly find out who they’re talking to – and become apart of that community in no time.

Know the lingo.

A year ago, there wasn’t much more to Twitter than RT or DM or @. Now there are a whole slew of Twitter slang that tends to throw newcomers off – sometimes enough to give up altogether. But here’s what you need to know:

  • @ – Reply: when you want to (publicly) reply to someone. As in, @davecousins congratulations on getting the house under contract!!!
  • RT – Retweet: when you want to repeat what someone else says (and give them props). As in, RT @flytenewmedia The best–and most difficult–thing you can do for your company is listen to customer complaints.
  • DM – Direct Message: For tweets better sent privately.
  • # – Hashtag: Typically used for events, popular topics, and often for silly mentions. These will tend to become trending topics for Twitter. For example, yesterday #gfail or #googlefail was a big one.
  • #followfriday – Follow Friday: Possibly the most popular hastag. In order to continuously expand Twitter networks, Follow Friday is used to suggest others to follow. Here’s a great Mashable post on the anatomy of Follow Fridays.

ReTweet, Reply, Repeat

Basically, don’t start ignoring your Twitter account. Keep the conversation going by constantly adding something insightful – and here are some ways to do that.

If you ever hit a rough patch in your tweeting, think of it like running. If you run, you know you hit a wall – that point where your legs seize up and your lungs scream for you to just stop already. You also know that if you run through the wall, you’ll come out the other side being just fine and suprisingly able to run for quite a while further.

I think Twitter has a wall. There’s the point where you think Is this really worth my time? And then BAM! You’re addicted, networking up a storm, and even making your next sale.

Nicki Hicks
Welcoming Newbies to the Twittersphere

What Happens When Google Encounters a Fail Whale

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

google failsThe end of the world, as we know it.

Apparently, only a small subset of us are being affected. However, it seems the masses are having issues with everything from Gmail, to Google Talk, to Google Search.


Our saga begins when Twitter shows signs of trending, distressed Tweeps, and of course the ever popular hashtag (#gfail and #googlefail in this case).

Not to worry, I think to myself, I can live without Google for a little bit while they fix the problem.

Thinking I’m high and mighty in such a catastrophe, I soon remember I’ve been patiently awaiting an email from a client whom, I happen to know, exclusively uses only Gmail. I had to wait a solid hour for that blessed email.

still working

The ego continues to slowly chips away as I realize just how much I use my Google Docs.  Not only that, but I actually do use my Gmail, and even a basic Image search to find a picture of Earth imploding becomes utterly impossible.

transfer from gaI decided I could forget my own egotistical Google issues for long enough to pleasantly watch the most recent blogpost I’d written be tweeted and retweeted. But to add insult to injury, I found Google’s issues went deeper: to Google Analytics.  I saw that as my blog loaded and transferred traffic data, it got stuck and timed out.

Since then, the problems have been fix, per Google’s official Twitter account,

The issue affecting some Google services has been resolved. We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and we’ll share more details soon.

And here it is explained via the Official Blog.

It is amazing though, and got me to thinking: what would we do without Google? @JackLeblond jokes we might actually switch to Yahoo:

Perhaps the google servers on ebay were failed attempt to raise $$ and now they are shutting down….quick everyone optimize for Yahoo now!

At least yesterday, when Twitter shut down for maintenance, we had something to do while we waited.

Nicki Hicks
I blog while Gmail is down

Photo credit

How the Swine Flu is Affecting Search

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

It’s funny how something like a flu strain can cause such a ruckus in search.

Google Search

Google Insights for search gives some really helpful data – including the recent trends in the “flu” category. Below the graph, you’ll find “rising searches”, which is great for brainstorming hot keywords for copy or blogging.

google insights swine flu


Twitter search gives real time hot topics – whether it’s an epidemic or hashtag glorification.

twitter search swine flu


Facebook groups and fan clubs are the perfect spot to find out what’s hot now.

facebook swine flu


You don’t have to go searching far for that latest videos and newscasts on the swine flu from YouTube.

youtube swine flu


Even iPhone apps are getting a new addition via IntuApps.

iphone app swine flu

Nicki Hicks
The bacon phenomenon has finally caught up with us

Twitter Tips for Better Search Engine Visibility…and Better Business

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Twitter is a useful resource that can be used for nearly every business in nearly any industry.  One of the most common questions I get is “How do I use Twitter?”

For starters…

Have a personality. People love knowing there is a real live person behind the face of a company – which is one of the reasons why Twitter is so successful. You can be sarcastic, witty, and funny or serious, helpful, and professional or thought provoking and conversational…whatever you are!

maine today twitter

Share what you’re doing – and why not incorporate other media like video or images? Engaging followers via video is just another cool way to create a conversation.

maine windjammer twitter

Create special Twitter contests - using coupons, codes, or whatever pertains to your line of business. Customers will be happy to save money simply by paying attention to their Twitter feeds!

whole foods twitter contest

Pose a question. Not only will you get answers faster than searching for them, questions help engage your followers!

migis lodge twitter

Provide quick and effective customer service. Twips will love the fact that they can get a quick question answered by you – especially in a large corporation like LL Bean:

ll bean pr twitter

Give advice. Everyone appreciates a free tip from the experts.

flyte new media advice twitter

Watch what people are saying about you with Twitter Search.

flyte new media twitter search

How Twitter Helps Search

Create links back to blogposts, articles, or your website!

google twitter

Rank in Google for your Twitter account.

press herald google search results

Create buzz with retweets (RT) and more tweets.

nicki retweet

The reality is Twitter can be effective for nearly every business owner.  The idea is to engage your customers with your personality, business, and what you offer that differentiates you.

Nicki Hicks
Maine Tweeting for Business

The Power of Twitter, For Better or Worse

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

This afternoon around 3:30pm EST, US Airways Flight 1529 from NYC to Charlotte made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after the plane hit a flock of birds.  Thankfully, everyone is safe.

But that’s not the story I’d like to cover.  (For like @streko points out, we’re all tweeting reporters.)

I saw, just seconds after the crash landing, my TweetDeck light up with plane crash tweets faster than I could possibly read.  One of the links posted was to MSNBC streaming their live broadcast which, as I watched, showed a photo (which ended up being a twitpic) and the photographer and now famous Tweeter being interviewed (@jkrums).

Even though bad news typically spreads faster than good, the implication is huge for driving traffic to your website.  For the question “What are you doing?” often turns into “What are you reading?”  While Twitter links pass no link juice, you can see from this instance alone, that posting links for the buzz alone is well worth the effort.

Nicki Hicks
I find things out faster from Twitter than from CNN

Twitter, Search, and the Presidential Race

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Social media has a thing or two to say about politics and the two major presidential candidates’ stake in the race.  Putting aside Facebook, MySpace, and other indicators of who is winning the internet war, Twitter has proven to be an interesting gauge of this race.

Obviously Obama’s staff stays far more up-to-date on his Twitter profile.  Not only that, but take a look at the difference in followers.  Needless to say, I think this proves a fundamental difference between Democrats, Republicans, and their web use (or maybe just Twitter use).

Nevertheless, a cool tool called twInfluence shows exactly how much influence a Twitterer (or is it Tweeter?) has on fellow Twits/Tweetees (sorry, getting carried away with all of the names I can make).  BarackObama is #1 on this list, while JohnMcCain doesn’t show up in the top 50.

At first, this doesn’t seem all that fantastic or interesting.  You may be thinking: “So what, Obama supporters like Twitter more. Big deal.”  The interesting part comes in when Googling both of their names (and by the way, I turned off my personalized settings when I made these searches).

Barack’s profile turns up #10:

McCain’s profile took a little longer to find, down on the 5th page, #58:

Oh wait a second.  That’s not John McCain’s official Twitter account.  Guess I have to keep looking…oh here it is! 8th page, #82:

Whether Twitter has a significant role in this race, I highly doubt it.  However, search may very well have a large part in it:

Nicki Hicks
Vote for Twitter

Google Chrome – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Well, it’s official.  As of September 2, 2008 at 2pm EST, Google released its very own web browser: Google Chrome.

Yes, another Chrome post.  I know there’s a million out there.  But I noticed that many of them are very one-sided: either Chrome rocks or it stinks. (Strange I know, who’d have thought…opinionated bloggers?!)  I’d like to take a look at all sides though, especially what I’ve seen.

The Bad

(For when asked “I have good news and bad news, what do you want first?” I always reply, “the bad”.)

  • I’m still waiting on the Mac (and Linux, if we want to get technical about it) version.  Being on a Mac OS, I’m obviously partial.  So running IE on my Parallels program is really not ideal.  Though, from what I’ve been able to play around with, it is pretty neat.
  • Is it any better than Firefox 3? I think that’s one of the bigger questions.  Even in the short time FF3 has been available, I’ve become a huge fan.  Chrome has many of the cool gadgets that FF3 has.  So the argument remains: Why should I switch over?
  • Where are the plug-ins? I have so many plug-ins in my FF browser that I have to turn some of them off so I actually have a large enough window to be able to view something!  I’m sure Chrome won’t take long, but when I go for my Gmail icon, I have to remember that I have applications now!
  • It’s just plain hard to switch browsers. (Yes, now I’m whining.)  More than anything, how am I supposed to remember the dozens (if not hundreds) of passwords and logins that Firefox has saved for me?  (Obviously the important ones I have written down.)  But it’s going to take a while to get all those passwords automatic again!

The Good

  • Increased Security (aka The Sandbox)
  • Enhanced Search Options. And no, they do not MAKE you search in Google.  You can select whatever default search engine you’d like.
  • Individual Tabs. Each tab runs as its own process, so if the application fails for any reason, ONLY that page and tab will close.  Pretty handy when you have a lot going on.
  • Thumbnails of your most visited sites on the homepage.  This is just plain cool and helpful.
  • Not tied to any other Google application. Man oh man, has there been an uproar about this one! Just check out any of Matt Cutts’ recent posts on the matter!

The Ugly

  • “Google is taking over the world.” Or at least the Web.  There will always be negative rumors and connotations flying around a large, successful organization.  Take a little Google-Twitter situation that took place Wednesday!

All in all, I think Google Chrome will do well.  I can definitely see how users going from Internet Explorer to Chrome will be amazed by the switch.  But again, for FF3 users, the wow factor really just isn’t there..yet.  I’m just waiting for a Google OS now!!

Nicki Hicks
Committed to Firefox (for now)

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