My Top Five Twitter Tips (with a Healthy Dose of Skepticism)

My good friend Vickie Sullivan recently asked for my favourite Twitter tips so that she could share them with her audience of high-fee experts.

I’ve been meaning to put the tips out on my blog, especially as I haven’t posted for a while ;-( Here they are – bear in mind that I’m writing for business professionals, so I’m not talking about using Twitter to follow celebrities, politicians or sports . . .

Three Do’s:

  1. Do Use it for Research, not just Marketing
    You’re probably already using Google News Alerts to keep up with the latest on your clients and areas of expertise (if you’re not, you should be!)

    Twitter is great for tapping into the chatter on these things too. Apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to set up search columns which automatically display the most recent tweets on any subject of your choice. See the latest buzz, and keep an eye on the competition!

  2. Do Time your Tweets
    92% of retweets occur within the first hour. So the time when your tweets go out is important.

    Think about the “peak viewing time” of your target audience(s) – are they business people or busy moms? Which time zones are they in?

    Use an application such as Hootsuite to send out your pre-written tweets at optimal times. You can send out the same tweet more than once to hit different markets, but don’t continuously recycle the same message – you’ll get flagged for spam.

  3. Do Track your Results
    Any tweet that you want to bring traffic to your website, generate sales or leads, etc. must contain a clickable link (too many folks forget to include this call to action and lose out on opportunities).

    It’s really important to track what you’re doing to evaluate results – you want to know what types of tweets work for you, and what times of day are best to send them.

    So, you also want to keep an eye on your Web traffic reports to evaluate your Twitter success. Do visitors from Twitter leave your site immediately, or do they produce the outcomes that you want?

    Since you’re restricted to 140 characters, using a free URL shortening service like Bit.ly is very helpful – and it also gives you automatic click-through tracking for every link.

And two Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Be Seduced by Big Numbers
    It’s a wonderful ego boost to have hundreds or thousands of followers. In fact, Peter Shankman recently referred to this as “the new penis envy!”

    But bear in mind that lots of people follow you because they expect you to follow them back as the accepted convention. So they don’t necessarily care that much about what you write . . .

    Notice who does respond or retweet your postings and celebrate your loyal followers. Just remember that quantity doesn’t guarantee quality on Twitter.

  2. Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations
    A recent survey found that over 70% of tweets get no response at all, and an average of only 6% are retweeted.

    Think about it – how many people are you following? How many tweets do you actively read every day, let alone click on any links, retweet or reply . . .

    Of course, it only takes one response that’s exactly the right one to make a huge impact. But don’t expect every tweet that you send to be life (or business) changing!

As with everything that I teach, the key to a successful investment of time and resources in Twitter is having a well-thought out strategy, carefully tracking results and tweaking what you do as you learn more about what works for you.

As Peter Shankman says, just don’t get carried away by all the hype!

2 Responses to “My Top Five Twitter Tips (with a Healthy Dose of Skepticism)”


  • Philippa,

    I remember when I first heard you talk at a WebGuild meeting back in the 1990s. I’ve “followed” your work thru the years and really appreciate the recent work you did for me for PacificChess. I just want to say thanks for your clean, honest, and thorough business advice. You are a role model for the rest of us. All the best… G

  • It is the future. There is no denying it, but Tumblogs on Tumblr are also a thing I could see taking off soon enough. More flexibleness in comparison with Twitter, but only the perfect level!

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