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The Dissection of a Twitter Account

May 18, 2011
Twitter

A few weeks ago I learned that I was chosen as one of the "Top 25 Online Marketers to Follow on Twitter" by David Vogelpohl over at Marketing Pilgrim. (I'd like to thank my family, my 2nd grade teacher...)

While it was cool to be chosen, more interesting to me was how David characterized my Twitter account: "...an engaging Twitter feed where she makes the most of interacting with other Twitter users...With enough quips to make her feed personal and interesting, she maintains a mostly serious and professional Twitter persona."

That does seem to sum up my Twitter existence, although I had to laugh at the serious and professional description, since I sometimes tweet some crazy stuff! On the other hand, I agree that the mix of personal and professional is a large part of the appeal of my Twitter account. In fact I think it's key to nearly any good Twitter account. For more on that, Lisa Barone (also on the top 25 list) just wrote a great article: "The Myth of 'Professional' Twitter Accounts," with which I agree 100% (see my comments over there).

I thought it would be interesting to look at and dissect both the professional and perhaps not so professional ways that I have used Twitter this month to see what exactly makes up a top-25 account. With that, I give you:

10 Ways I've Used Twitter This Month:

  1. Expressing Extreme Emotions: This is one of my most common uses of Twitter, and it really just amounts to venting. I find that if something pops into my head that I really love or hate, it makes me feel good to mention it on Twitter.

    So far this month I have expressed love for Pandora adding comedy channels , my iPad, a spammy site I reported being nuked, and clients who no longer need me because they're doing so well.
    Panera Tweet
    And I've expressed dislike for SEO getting blamed for malware, irrelevant blog and forum comments, Panera messing up my order (twice in a row), and email spam via my website's contact form.


  2. Creating Content: This is an obvious one to anyone who reads the HRA newsletter regularly since I've been doing my "Twitter Question of the Week" (for a few years now). Asking my Twitter followers questions relating to the main newsletter topic is a great way to provide additional newsletter content, while also making them part of the newsletter.

  3. Crowdsourcing to Help Clients: Having more than 10,000 Twitter followers is a great way to get quick help when you need it. This month I was doing a review of a restaurant guide website and was able to ask my followers a few questions regarding restaurant sites in general. Their responses helped me, and ultimately my client. I had another client whose new website developer decided to blow them off, so they were in dire need of a new one. I took it to Twitter and found that a few of my Twitter friends whom I already knew and trusted online might be a perfect fit, so I passed along their info to the client.

  4. Promotion of Myself and Others: Other than this newsletter, I know of no better way to quickly get hundreds of eyeballs on any new article I write. It seems almost magical when you tweet a link to a new article and and within minutes see all the visitors, and often comments.

    I don't just tweet my own articles, however. When I read other great articles , I tweet them as well. This provides my followers with more interesting information than just I can give them, and also endears me to those whom I am promoting. I honestly don't do it to get anything in return -- it's just good networking and a win-win all around.

  5. Catching Up With Family and Friends: I have a fairly tech-savvy family -- my oldest daughter @coriewhalen, my cousins @acarvin and @ericcarvin, and my sister @bncarvin are all fairly prolific on Twitter. You may even have heard of my cousin Andy -- he has made national news lately with his tweeting of the unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    Aside from getting the international news from my family, I can also keep tabs on the fact that Corie was thinking of getting a new dog or let my cousins know I was having dinner with their mom and dad!  Also, many of the friends I've met through events and conferences are on Twitter, and it's a great way to keep up with what they're doing. In fact, I'm having lunch with one such friend this week that stemmed from a Twitter chat.

  6. Answering Questions: Sometimes people just randomly ask me SEO or other questions on Twitter that I'm usually happy to answer if I can.

  7. General Chatting: When I first started using Twitter, I thought of it as a newfangled chatroom. I still use it for that purpose today because it's comforting to have other people "around" during the day as I'm working. I'll often see someone tweet something interesting that I
  8. reply to, and we can have a nice little conversation.

    News and Information Gathering: This is where who you follow on Twitter is important (as opposed to who follows you). I follow those who will not only entertain me, but who will post interesting and newsworthy links, especially those related to the search marketing industry. I get a good portion of my news from Twitter.

    And now that I have my iPad, I use the Flipboard app each morning to see a magazine-like view of all the articles posted by my followers. This catches me up on anything interesting going on and also provides me with potential stories to submit to Sphinn to fulfill my editorial duties there.

  9. Ranting and Raving About Boston Sports: If you're a Boston sports fan, you'll understand this one. The gist is that all of our teams can be the best and the worst all in one night. It helps to cheer or scream with with others on Twitter!

  10. Fun and Silliness: In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words: Me wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo.
Whether you've never understood how to use Twitter or are an old Twitter pro, I hope the ways I've used it inspire you to find new ways of expressing yourself online. I should also note that the mix of humor, authenticity and professionalism shouldn't be limited to just Twitter. I am certain that it's that same combination that has made the High Rankings Advisor Newsletter so popular for nearly 10 years.

The bottom line is that people prefer to do business with those whom they feel connected with. Twitter and other online communities provide us all with unique ways to make those connections – we just have to be willing to put a little bit of ourselves out there!

Jill
 
Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, an SEO Company in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen

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Post Comment

 Ros said:
Hi Jill,
Isn't all the above done on Facebook? This is why I'm confused with Twitter benefits. Say you do use Facebook, why would anyone repeat it on Twitter? Should one use both but for different things? Or use both for the same thing (duplicate content?). It's still very confusing.
 Jill Whalen said:
@Ros, that's a great question, and they can be very much the same. For me, I use FB more for personal stuff, with less SEO stuff. But we do have a High Rankings page where I promote the articles I write.

It maybe because I have fewer followers on FB, but my Tweets get much more play than FB statuses when it comes to promoting my content.
 Alex said:
Hi Jill, I've recently been employed as a trainee web assistant for a financial advice company. One of the things I suggested was creating a compay Twitter account for many of the reasons you suggested in this article. Now that I'm in control of this Twitter account I've been posting up links to all the new articles and news stories that we post on our website. My main question is, how did you set the ball rolling on followers? Posting the links feels redundant when nobody is paying attention to them.
 Jill Whalen said:
Hi Alex,

For that, please read Jim Spencer's great article:

Is Twitter For the Birds?