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October 22, 2008


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Ron Miller

I'm relieved. When I read your tease on Twitter, I thought for sure must be doing something wrong, but your advice is all solid and I'm happy to report I have already done everything you recommend. Whew! I feel better. :-)

Ron Miller
By Ron Miller


Great tips! I think when people ask "how often should I tweet", "what should I tweet about", "is it cool to DM people" - the answer should be "be yourself." The greatest thing I find with twitter is the ability to connect with multiple people on a more personal level. I don't think there is a science to "being yourself" yet. The personal branding tips are great since they are aggregates to what you tweet and help build an online persona. Thanks for sharing!


Breathing a sigh of relief. My Twitter page is just as you advertised, except on a lark I put the FAIL WHALE up as my background. Will change that in a few minutes.

Follow me if you want to hear about journalism, Boston, Jeff Cutler, new media, corporate blogging, scooters, Red Sox or just random tea talk.


Good post. Am clipping it to Social Median too.


Simon Salt

Good post. Its definitely the early steps that trip people up and make them wonder why Twitter isnt working for them. Paying attention to these details is a sure way to make Twitter work for you as either a personal or business user.

Grant Griffiths

One item I might add is to consider doing a special twitter landing page. For my visitors from twitter, I have developed a page you can only access from my twitter link. It is on my blog as a page, so they can navigate to other parts of my blog from there. Here is is the link to my "welcome from my twitter" page.


Daria Steigman

Hi David,

Good, common-sense advice (and, yes, I'm still one photo short of getting it right). I think people also need to think about how what they post reflects their brand. Being self-serving or giving out too much personal information are fast tracks to online solitude.


Alan Nielsen


Great post. I made a point to update my twitter right away once I signed up. However, you pointed out a few good things to change as well (background).

They'll be updated tonight when I'm not blocked from the site!

Lou Bortone

Great point, and so easy to overlook. In fact, I'm going to have to jump over to my Twitter page and make some changes.

If I may add another tip: I grabbed the domain http://www.TwitterLou.com and pointed it to my Twitter page. For ten bucks, why not grab your "TwitterName" if it's available...

I think it's easier for folks to find me if I just tell them to go to "TwitterLou."

Pierre Fregeau

I'm a newbie at Twitter and you just confirmed that what I'm doing is OK.

Mihaela V

Very good advice for starting up, but there's more to "personal branding" - or self-presentation, as it's called in my (academic) circle.

There are 2 important aspects to self-presentation on twitter:

1) fitting in; this requires getting a hang of twitter culture, of social norms about what's acceptable or not. This is what the questions you mention are about, and they're valid questions. My students, who are used to facebook, are having a hard time adjusting to twitter culture where it's OK to follow people you haven't met in tangible space.

2) deciding how to twitter and what to twitter about. Silly tweets, inspirational quotes, interesting links, breaking news, complaining about first-class seats on airplanes, bragging about finishing a book chapter, etc. ... these all help people project images of who they want to be, and they're more important than the background photo, IMO. Most people use a twitter client, and most photos get tiled unpleasantly in the background, anyway.


I saw this posted on Twitter and came over to check it out!

Thanks for the great tips, I already went to my Twitter page and spruced it up a bit.



Great write up David.

I'm with you on all your points here. What does annoy me on Twitter are users that protect their tweets. I don't get why you would be on Twitter if you didn't want to participate in a conversation. I know I like to see what people are saying sometimes before I begin to follow them; I want to see if they are saying anything of value to me.

Dan Schawbel

This is a much refreshing post, especially because I've noticed similar mistakes (it's my job to help people with their brand).

What makes Twitter unique is that you can have more control over your page, than other networks. You can upload your own background and customize it to you, as David points out. It's also important to note that you can build brand by the way you communicate through Twitter.

Cindy Kim

This is great David. I follow you on Twitter... and read your posts. I'm careful about the folks I follow because it can get overwhelming with all the updates. I think if you're using this for personal use to connect with friends (only) and want to share every little detail that's great. But if you have a mixture of business and personal where you're trying to build that personal brand, it's important to make the updates as useful as possible to others who are following you. In this day and age of overcommunicating everything, it's important we dissect and communicate the details that would be of value to others. I think before people jump on twitter to connect (which I think is very important), they understand why they're on Twitter and what their goals are.

Thanks again for this insightful blog.

CindyKimPR - Twitter

Andy - twitAD.com

Great post David! I think what bugs people is the fact that when you interact on twitter your not sure if they are genuinely interested in you, or marketing to you. With twitAD, we want to make sure people know when people are interacting and not just advertising.


Hi David,

Those are really good and common-sense advises and I see that I need to improve parts of my profile on Twitter (I already knew that but lack of nice pictures prevent me from doing it - I just look ugly:)). However I think there is more on Twitter than the profile. People can do all that but still not able to establish good brand if their posts are not catching and if they cannot establish their identity. And they can judge that only by seeing their followers increasing (or shrinking). Also they need to be consistent and patient - very often people think they will join Twitter and have 1000s of followers in a day; when after a week they have only their closest friend and a random newcomer they decide that it is stupid and just abandon it.

Dianna Huff


Excellent tips. I still have to change my background photo.

I would also add two more tips:

1. Think about what you're posting and how it affects your personal brand. Also think about how personal information might look to prospective clients or people who can refer you.

2. Add a link to your Twitter profile on your blog, Website, and Linked/Facebook profile.

I actually got this tip from you. You have a "follow me on Twitter" box on this blog. It's how I knew where to find you when I first signed up for Twitter.

Laura Bergells

Love what you wrote about comparing a default Twitter background to the staleness of using a default PowerPoint template. That's apt: using templates in design can quickly lead to visual cliche.

However, I use PowerPoint to create my unique Twitter background. After creating my Twitter background in PowerPoint, I "Saved As" a graphic file... and uploaded to Twitter.

And wouldn't you know -- my Twitter background is unique.

So, if you own PowerPoint, you can create a unique, brand-you background for Twitter. If you use your imagination and creative, it can be unique and eye-pleasing.

Dianna Huff

That should be "LinkedIn/Facebook."

Beth from Avenue Z

Someone on Twitter pointed me to this post. I appreciate your common-sense approach. I've been struggling with how to use Twitter to my advantage. Nice tips.

David Meerman Scott

Wow. 15 terrific comments in less than an hour. Thank you all.

Most of you came from Twitter which is very interesting indeed.

I really like the idea of a twitter landing page. Great idea!

The ideas on the content of tweets as an aspect of personal branding are all good. Thanks for that. I didn't try to tackle that aspect in my original post because I wanted to focus on the page setup aspects.

Keli Whidden

I was relieved to see that I had already implemented your suggestions! Now, I think a bit of tweeking is in order.
While I think that tweets should be reflective of the tweeters personality, they should also be mindful of the tweeters personal brand unless they are DM's.

Bernie Borges

I agree with all your tips. Another consideration is personal branding vs. company branding. We have many friends on Twitter effectively branding their company. All your tips still apply but I think the company should have a Twitter profile with their logo as the photo. Some companies do a good job of this. Hubspot and Apple come to mind.

Another related consideration is how to build your Twitter following. Branding value on Twitter is affected by the size and influence of your following. And, that's a process that takes a little time and effort.

BTW, I found this blog post on your Twitter feed today. Nice...



Another great post. I am new to Twitter, and I can use all the advice I can get! Thanks for the helpful tips!

The Botanist

Im happy to see people concerned with personal branding power, a lot of people are not aware of the power available at their finger tips. It never really occurred to me until I read a blog on http://web.illish.us/. They have a great breakdown called "You are a Brand."

Dave Peck

Great post. You nailed it regarding personal branding.

Scott Lansing

Nice post. Great information about Twitter. I just got into it over a month ago and can't stop (in a good way). Being a recent graduate, social media was included in a large part of my PR studies. I'm excited to incorporate it into my current internship, so much in fact I'm even working on a Twitter project.

Twitter has great B2B and B2C potential, but it's important to know the dos and don'ts of using the interface for marketing purposes. Your blog seems like an excellent resource for PR and social media, and I'm glad I found it.


Sim Garner

Very good suggestions on twitter if you want people to trust and follow you. Personal branding, whether you are a marketer or not, is important.

David A. Porter

I am a first time reader of your blog.

This was a good assignment which I immediately implemented.


Brandon Chesnutt

Great post David. Just as you stated, leveraging the basic attributes/features of Twitter can work heavily in your favor.

One thing I would add to my own personal list of "Twitter mistakes" is a lack of engagement. If I get a new follower, I like to check out their page and see if they are posting replies or sharing content. If all I see is "doing this" and "doing that" status updates, I may think twice about following them back. This is rare, but it stuck out enough in my mind after reading this post that I thought I should share.

While users have every right to use Twitter as they see fit, I would like to imagine that most Tweeters are looking for followers who converse and share instead of those who just use Twitter as a podium.



Done deal - thanks for the good advice!



I was really happy with myself until I read your suggestion for the 160 word bio. I was guilty of that one. Darn!

Warren Sukernek


Great points about the opportunity for personal branding with Twitter. Twitter does provide much more flexibility for customization than other social nets, but unfortunately many of us fail to take advantage of that. You can certainly tell who gets it by looking at their page. Thanks for pointing that out and offering advice on how to add personality and customization to your Twitter page.

Dave Onkels

David, you're spot on here with your recommendations. Assuming your readers are using Twitter for more than casual communications, it's essential to polish your Twitter profile page just as you would do for LinkedIn or Facebook pages.

One additional point I'll recommend is to look for opportunities to tie your various web properties together. For example, use a standard profile image across all social network sites, try to obtain the same user ID (nickname) for all sites, and use a common color scheme. Consistency and repetition are key factors in branding success.

You can read an interesting post about consistency from my colleague at our company blog: http://tastynectar.com/blog/2008/10/your-brand-becomes-your-name/

Richard Spencer Davies

Some great tips here, at the moment I am using a Manga style photo, but might change that.

I find Twitter very good for communicating within a niche, and seems to have cornered the micro-blogging market. FriendFeed was making movements for a while, but all I hear now is Twitter!


Thanks David, I'm new to Twitter and slowly learning how to go about it's practices and interact with people. This is my personal account. Would it be possible if you could have a follow-up post on Twitter practices and tips for a business account?

I Twitter about pop culture and all about Penn State football, NY giants, Mets

Twitter- CKessler

Linda Hampton RN, MSN

Thanks for the great info. I am still having trouble with changing my background but I know I'll figure it out. Your info is solid and and very valuable. Printed it out for reference in my tweet page.


Joe Pulizzi

Hi David...you hit all the basics.

A big mistake (or bother) that I see a lot of people making is using their company logo for their personal twitter account picture. Are you a company or a person?

And I honestly can't figure out how some people (like @chrisbrogan or @guykawasaki) consistently tweet about 100 times a day. Hey, I give them credit, but would need an personal twitter assistant.


Justin Levy

Great post David!

The bio information is so much more important than people think. I typically get a handful of new followers per day. I look at every profile before I follow back. When scanning a profile quickly, that bio information is important for making quick decisions.

A lot of people ask how often they should tweet and what they should tweet about. I have never worried about that. I find that some days I tweet a lot and share a lot of what's going on and other days, not so much. As you become more comfortable with Twitter, or any social network, you find your "voice" there which will include how often you post, what you post about and the way in which you share that information.


thanks for this informative article! I just joined twitter and was trying to make sense of it all for branding purposes.

I love your idea of a background photo. I'm going to go work on that now!


Heather K. Margolis

Hi David,
What are your thoughts about commenting on personal updates? Nothing too personal of course. I usually update on conferences I'm attending or blogs I've read of interest but every once in awhile there will be a "off to the gym, can't believe how dark and cold it is out". Is that diminishing my brand? Should I stick to more professional tweets?
Thanks so much, Heather

David Meerman Scott

Heather, it all depends on why you're using Twitter. If you are keeping a handful of people updated on your whereabouts, then "I'm off to Starbucks" is OK. It is also OK if a bunch of your followers are local who just might drop what they are doing to join you.

However, if you are using Twitter in some professional capacity, then you should think carefully about telling followers about your lunch each day.

You'll notice that about twice as many people follow me as I follow. And probably 95% or more of the people who follow me I have never met.

To decide if I will follow someone, I scan someone's profile quickly and if they say "It's cold." I'm off to a meeting." and "I'm going to Starbucks" too often, I just don't follow them. I also don't follow them if they don't care enough to get at update at least some of the personal branding basics I wrote about in the post.

Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using Twitter in different ways. That's why it is so powerful.



All very good advice, although I do wish you'd touched upon who/when to follow (which varies from person to person, but I think there are some general guidelines) and what/when to tweet. I think you've discussed putting the gears in motion well, but it's the actual motion that's got a lot of people confused about Twitter.

Jared Young

David, thanks for the tips.

I started using Twitter after finishing "The New Rules of Marketing & PR." I've now found widgets and plugins for just about all the small business marketing I do (Aweber, Word Press, etc.) and am using them religiously. It really takes the extra work out of using Twitter when you can write your idea once and have it broadcast in multiple places.

My advice to anyone using Twitter for your business: Try to find a plugin for your other marketing methods and combine them with Twitter... it's a great way to keep the content flowing!


Glenn Fannick

Good solid simple advice, David. I think Twitter is finally going to start taking off as people find more "real" ways to use it. (Not the waste-of-time "I'm going to the gym now to do my thang", which was a real post of a colleague of mine recently.) Check out the WSJ article on it this week: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122461906719455335.html


Hi there,
Great post...I agree that personalizing your page is key to building relationships on Twitter.

I do disagree about the bio, though. I have a bio that is easily searchable, which leads to a lot of connections with people who are interested in the same things I am.

Another reason to have a bio that contains quite a bit of info is that once someone reaches a large number of followers, they have to use something to determine if they will follow you. Your bio should give them an idea of what you will be tweeting about... helps people make content choices.

I enjoy following you on twitter... look forward to seeing more great info.


Fabulous post. Although I have used Twitter as an informal social site, I recently created a new account for my professional life. Your post reminded me to upload my photo. Also, I would never have thought to use the cover of my novel as a Twitter background. As soon as I figure out how to do that...I'll be all over it! Thanks so much.

Charlene Engeron

Stacey Pfeifer

Good advice. I wish I had considered my Twitter ID more carefully back when... I didn't even check to see if the domain for TwoChairs.com was available [it's not]. And it's tied in with my work in customer service which may not be where I find myself in another year or so...


Ah well, there's so much we didn't know when we leapt into Twitter airspace.

Thanks for your posts and books and tweets!

Barbara Rozgonyi

Good to see a post that wraps up all of the important points we heard you make in your presentation last week, David.

Agree that using your real name is preferred. I went with wiredprworks, the name of my blog, because I thought my Hungarian name [Rozgonyi] was too tough to remember and spell. So, I set up two accounts, but only update from one.

Coming up with a catchy bio takes some creativity. The list approach is the easy out, but doesn't support your brand as well or stand out as much.

Thanks to Laura for the custom graphic in PowerPoint background suggestion - going to test that out today!

@wiredprworks on twitter.com

June Sockol

Great article. I have only been using Tweeter for a short period of time. I appreciated the advice on how to get the most out of it.

Thank you for letting us know how to change the background. I didn't know you could upload a picture. I am going to go back and make some changes to my page.


Personal branding and the use of Twitter along with other social networking websites has become the key to internet success. Once again, another great article about this subject!


I reluctantly signed up to twitter, but can now see its benefits.
Many thanks for your very useful tips which I will now use to make my page more appealing.
best of luck in all you do.



In response to Mihaela's comments, I read recently that most people do NOT use Twitter clients. This surprised me; many people still use the web interface. Also, be aware that your Twitter client may have an option of sending you to someone's Twitter page, so I would still take the appearance of your Twitter page seriously.

Another thing: Mihaela suggests silly comments, quotes, etc. as tweets that let people know who you are. Be careful! I have checked out people's Twitter pages to look at their history of tweets in an attempt to get to know them, and when I see racist or misogynist jokes, "four-letter words" and off-color commentary, I don't follow them. These kinds of comments are not good if you are trying to attract a wide variety of people to your page for business purposes. Unless you are marketing to a specific niche that loves immature language and childish behavior, mind your tweets!

Jenna Papakalos

Great advice! I believe this will help many Tweeples out there.

Thanks for the post and I look forward to more!

Robin Tramble

This is great information. I do have one thing to update (my background).


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