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Heather Villa http://hireheathervilla.com Business Coach, Consultant and Advisor Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:55:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Tweets in 10 – #Great #Idea #for #Twitter http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/03/11/tips-in-10-great-idea-for-twitter/ Fri, 11 Mar 2011 22:18:25 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4058 No related posts. ]]> In this eleventh post of the TweetsIn10 series, I’m going to talk about hashtags. Hashtags are those things you see in tweets with a number sign in front of them:
#coffee
#bookkeeping
#TigerWoods
#BusinessLunchClub
#dogs
#NYC
#NASCAR
#WSJ
#Apple
(etc., etc.)

These tags are ways for people to label their tweets to give them some context, to help make them searchable, and to help make them trackable.
Context: Let’s say that you see a tweet that says: “I love Sumatra!” You might wonder if your friend has suddenly traveled to one of the largest islands in Indonesia. But if their tweet says: “I love Sumatra #starbucks #coffee” then the context of the tweet is much clearer. Your friend hasn’t journeyed to the other side of the world, they just happened to be in Starbucks around the corner. Now you can tweet with something like “Bring me a mocha latte” instead of “Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving the country?”

Okay, obviously that’s a silly example but it does illustrate my point: hashtags help to explain your tweet in a fast, efficient way. Since you only have 140 characters, why bother saying something excessive like “I’m at Starbucks drinking a Sumatra coffee and I really like it” when “I love Sumtra #starbucks #coffee” says exactly the same thing?

Searchable: As well, hashtags help to make your tweets searchable. By adding the “#” in front of keywords in your tweet (either inside a sentence or before or after the main content in your tweet) you can highlight the important words for Twitter Search (and other search apps). The truth is, search functions do look through all of the words in your tweet but the hashtag helps to make it clearer for people once the search pulls up the tweet.

Trackable: There are sites set up that watch specifically for hashtags and can provide a variety of metrics and additional information about that hashtag activity on Twitter.

So, this context + searchable + trackable feature of hashtags make them very much like labels or tags in your blog. They are a way to indicate the subject matter and help people to find what you are talking about.

The great thing about hashtags is that you can make them about anything you want. You’re not stuck with a pre-set list of hashtags that other people have decided. All you have to do is tweet and add the # in front of keywords.

So, a tweet like “Enjoying the weather in Orlando” can become something like “Enjoying the #weather in #orlando”. Or “having a coffee with a friend” can become something like “having a #coffee with a friend at #starbucks”.

So, how can you use hashtags?

  • Use them on references to your industry – #dentist, #consulting, #freelance
  • Use them on references to your products and services – #coffee, #bookkeeping
  • Use them on references to your city or town – #miami, #nyc, #la, #denver
  • Use them on references to your favorite past times – #movies, #music, #MLB
  • Use them on references to conferences, seminars, or Twitter-based groups – #followfriday, #businesslunchclub

These are the most common uses, but what about some of these less common uses that can help you build your business or your brand?

  • Use them on references to your own name. Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer adds his own name at the end of every tweet (without the hashtag but in a similar way to hashtags). So I might use one like #HeatherVilla. In general, use these when you are quoting yourself or using your name as your business brand. For example, I might tweet a quote like “‘Project management is the heart of entrepreneurship’ #HeatherVilla”.
  • Use them on references to your business name. A company might do this if they happen to be tweeting about themselves. For example, you might see “Mention the phrase ‘tweets for eats’ next time you’re at #mcdonalds and get 10% off your meal”.
  • Use them on references to your product brands or other thought-leadership that you develop. If you created a blue widget, then add #bluewidget at the end of a tweet.

Next, you’ll want to register these hashtags at wthashtag.com. WTHashtag is a user-editable site (like a wiki) so registering your hashtag there doesn’t give you any specific rights over it, and others could come in and edit it. However, registering does help to “lock it in” so that it is defined and trackable. You can click to a hashtag at WTHashtag and see more information about it, see who tweets about that hashtag the most, and you can see usage trends.
Hashtags are useful tools to help other people understand you better and to help you brand yourself and search important information.

Bonus Tip:  My Favorite Hash Tags

Here are some Hashtags I love to follow on Twitter:

#VATip:  These are tips for Virtual Assistants and working with a Virtual Assistant.

#smbiz:  These are tweets related to small businesses.

#smallbizchat:  This is a chat that exists every Wednesday from 8-9pm EST relating to succeeding as your own boss.

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Tweets in 10 – Say Hello with Twellow http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/03/02/tweets-in-10-say-hello-with-twellow/ Wed, 02 Mar 2011 20:36:44 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4054 No related posts. ]]>
In this tenth post of the TweetsIn10 series, I want to talk about the solution to a problem I first encountered when I started on Twitter a few years ago. The problem still persists today and this solution is as relevant now as it ever was.
The Problem

When you sign up, Twitter automatically recommends a handful of people to follow. Celebrities, sports teams, businesses, stuff like that. I followed a few of them but I wasn’t that interested in the ones offered. I prefer to follow people whose posts I want to read. No offense to Ashton Kutcher, but gossip about Demi Moore is not really what I care about reading.
So, I picked through Twitter recommendations and followed a couple but I wanted to follow more people. I followed my friends. I followed my clients. I followed my vendors. I followed some businesses that I was interested in. I followed some business gurus who came to mind.
Although I like to think that I’m a charming and magnetic individual, I’m realistic enough to know that there are lots of people who I can learn from and connect with who are simply not in my immediate circle of awareness – in other words, there are people I should be following who don’t leap to mind.
There are different ways to find these people but it’s not always easy: You might spot a Twitter icon on a website you’re reading. Or, you might click on someone you’re following and see who they are following. Both of these work, and should be part of your occasional workflow on Twitter, but neither one is a very effective use of your time.
The Solution

That’s where Twellow comes in. Twellow is “the Twitter Yellow Pages”. Everyone on Twitter has an account on Twellow automatically (as long as your Twitter account is public). It’s a pretty standard listing pulled from your public profile on Twitter, basically. However, when you sign in to Twellow and “claim ownership” of your Twitter account, you use Twellow to find other people… and to be found by the right people who you want following what you have to say.
Finding others: This is so easy! Sign in and click to the “All Categories” tab. You’ll see page after page of categories that Twitter users have been categorized under. Click on a category and you’ll see lists of Twitter users with a “follow” button under their profile picture. Click the button and you’re following them. It’s that easy. You can unfollow them by clicking the same button.
Just schedule time to revisit this site periodically and click through categories that are relevant to things in your life. It’s worth spending 5 to 10 minutes a day on Twellow, finding people who you are interested in following. And, Twellow gives you a few different ways to find them – using a browsing function or by clicking through various categories. And their “suggested users” function is fairly new and a great way to find really relevant people fast.
Getting found: Adding followers is interesting, of course, but you will also want other people to find you! So, be sure to go to the “Profile Editor” in the tabs at the top of the site and edit your profile and build it out so that it is searchable and so that it appears in the relevant categories. Upload a bio of yourself and an extended bio, and, most importantly, be sure to list yourself in all the categories that apply to you (Twellow gives you up to ten “verified” categories). Make sure you select categories that will allow your customers and prospects to find you! For example, if you’re a copywriter, don’t select “authors”; instead, select “small business” and “marketing”.
Be sure to fill out all of your profile (including your other social media) so that people who find you on Twellow can also find you in other places as well.
Other Solutions
Although I’m really happy with Twellow, there are other Twitter directories out there that you should be aware of. They might be better for your situation, so check them out and sign up to as many as you want:
The longer Twitter is around, and the more its user base grows, the more directories we’ll see springing up. There might even be an industry-specific user directory that you can join.
No matter what directory you join, you’ll find that it will save you time on Twitter while helping you to generate a list of followers and people to follow.
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Tweets in 10 – Twitter Search and Why It’s Important http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/02/23/tweets-in-10-twitter-search-and-why-its-important/ Wed, 23 Feb 2011 15:23:33 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4048 No related posts. ]]>

When a non-Twitter user asks me why I have embraced Twitter as a communication method, I’m quick to point out that I think there are two reasons Twitter is MORE than a communication method; that it’s an entirely new way of engagement.

To say that Twitter is just another communication method is to suggest that it is equivalent to writing a letter or writing an email or picking up the phone – as if Twitter might be a fourth alternative. But I disagree (and I’m not the only one who thinks this, by the way).

The two reasons that I’ve embraced Twitter are because:

  1. I enjoy real time person-to-person engagement.
  2. I can search the real time web for up-to-the-minute information.

In these newsletters, I’ve generally been focusing on how you can more successfully connect with people in a real time, person-to-person engagement.

But in this ninth TweetsIn10 post, I would like to talk about Twitter search.
Go to http://search.twitter.com and search for something. Anything. Whatever you want. Your city or town. Your favorite movie. Your favorite hobbies. Your industry. Your big-name competitors. The results you get from that search is real time… and not just a real-time dry repeating of the facts, but a real-time discussion of the facts with thought and context.

These results are what people are talking about right now. If there’s a big news story happening, it’s being tweeted about from a thousand different viewpoints. If there’s a major playoff game taking place, every good play and every bad call is being announced, discussed, and analyzed… as it is happening.

That is a transformational way of thinking about our connection through technology to the rest of the world.

  • Once, we waited for the daily paper to come out to read about events of the day.
  • Once, we tuned in to the 11 o’clock news to watch thirty second sound bytes of the events of the day.
  • Once, we waited until Google performed an update to find the latest and most relevant website on a subject.
  • Once, we clicked to news sites and viewed the content they gave us when they chose to report on a topic.

But now, we get the information as it is happening. We see topics as they are trending. And, we see it through the unfiltered lens of the common person and not some news agency.

Now, just to clarify, I’m not against the news industry, they definitely have a role to play in delivering insight and in clarifying the facts. But the real-time aspect is huge. Sure, lots of people are quick to point out that this news isn’t necessarily accurate. On the other hand, I’d counter that content created through the traditional news industry may be more accurate but isn’t necessarily timely. There is some give and take and neither option is perfect. But I’d rather have a thousand different viewpoints of right-this-minute news – and rely on my own ability to discern which viewpoints are most likely to be trusted – than to wait until someone else reports the news later. That is very cool.

Lest you think I’m just ranting about the value of real time news, let me now talk about why this is important to you:

Real time connects you to your audience in a way that is unlike anything your business has ever experienced:

  • You can change your website copy to be the most relevant based on current events based on trending topics and the latest news.
  • You can shift supply lines when you read about the bad weather that is blocking your vendors from delivering raw materials to your factory. Just search for information about weather and road conditions in areas where that is critical to the operation of your business.
  • You can immediately address any concerns that your customers might express as soon as they express them. Just search for your business’ name.
  • You can modify what you sell and how you sell it based on what’s going on in the world and, specifically, in your clients’ lives. Just keep an eye on the news and search for problems and issues that your clients face.

Twitter search should be a regular part of your business research and you should be consistently viewing trending topics in Twitter so you can react immediately.

Bonus Tip:  Monitor Your Brand

Make sure that at the very least you monitor your brand or product via search. This assures that if anything is said negative or a customer or client needs help that you can respond right away using real-time search tools.

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Tweets in 10 – “I Don’t have the Twime to Tweet Twegularly” http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/02/15/tweets-in-10-i-dont-have-the-twime-to-tweet-twegularly/ Wed, 16 Feb 2011 00:28:38 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4042 No related posts. ]]> Twitter is a powerful tool that allows users to connect with each other and to engage an audience. However, it’s not always possible to tweet. We lead busy lives and we can only tweet so much. Presumably, you’re reading this post for exactly this reason – you wanted to be a proficient Twitter user but you didn’t want to waste all day on Twitter. Perfectly understandable.

If you want to tweet in only ten minutes, you can do so successfully and I’ve outlined ways to do that in my Tweets In 10 blog posts. It is possible, but sometimes it’s not practical, to limit your Twitter effort to a small ten minute window. For example, maybe you want to limit the amount of time you’re on Twitter but still want to speak to your audience throughout the day. Or, maybe you want to spend ten minutes on Twitter but don’t want to look like you’re ONLY spending ten minutes on Twitter. Or maybe you want to spend ten minutes on Twitter but you have an appointment the next day during the time that you would normally tweet. Or maybe you want to roll out a great new promotion at a very specific time. For these reasons, or for many other reasons, the ability to schedule your tweets is very helpful.

So, scheduling prewritten tweets for later publication is a good idea. It’s very convenient, it extends your engagement beyond the time when you’re sitting in front of your computer, and can still save you time (by batching all of your tweeting at once even if you’re scheduling it for publication later).

There are tools you can use to write tweets and schedule them for later but the tool I use and recommend for this is HootSuite. However, it’s not the only one out there. If scheduling tweets is important to you now (or you think it might be important to you in the future) make sure that whatever application you use gives you the ability to schedule tweets.

Scheduled tweet best practices

  • If you’re going to schedule retweets, keep them scheduled for the same day. There’s no rule that says you have to but it’s a weak use of retweeting if you retweet something a day or week later.
  • Don’t use scheduling as the ONLY way you use Twitter. Either use Twitter with in-the-moment tweets and scheduled tweets, or use Twitter only with in-the-moment tweets. If the only way you are using Twitter is to schedule tweets, you are missing out on the value of Twitter. Unlike a blog, which is a medium that can handle content that is all scheduled, Twitter is a real time medium of engagement so scheduling won’t always be an effective use of your time.
  • Schedule tweets that are informative or motivational. For example, schedule a tweet containing a famous quote that you find inspiring or schedule a tweet that says you like kittens. Don’t schedule tweets where you are engaging other people. For example, don’t schedule a tweet that says “Hi @IAC_Heather, how are you?” because when I respond and you turn out to be watching a movie and you don’t get my response, that’s not cool.
  • The farther out you tweet, the more timeless your tweet needs to be. Some tweetable stuff is eternally timeless (such as those inspiring quotes I mentioned earlier) but if you schedule a tweet about something not timeless, and the news turns against it prior to the tweet publication, you’ll end up looking foolish. A good example might be a tweet about your favorite stock. If you like XYZ stock and you get really productive and schedule a tweet about it for next week, that might seem great until the CEO is arrested at the end of this week for embezzlement! Then next week’s tweet is no longer relevant and you’ll waste time going in to look for it to edit it. So, scheduled tweets should be the kind of thing that won’t be impacted by news.
  • If you need to outsource some of your marketing, and you want to outsource some of your Twitter engagement, scheduled tweets are a good thing to outsource. That way, you can be a prolific tweeter while giving some of the non-engagement stuff to someone else and keeping the high-value person-to-person engagement for yourself.

Bonus Tip:  A Good Balance
I personally like to make sure I have a good mix of scheduled tweets versus live tweets versus auto tweets.

Things I auto tweet: Everytime I post a blog, using a WordPress PlugIn; Everytime an article of mine gets published on Ezine Articles, using their Twitter feature.

Things I schedule tweets for: I retweet my auto-tweets for about 12 hours after the initial tweet. This is the same tweet as the initial adding (RT) to it at the end. This assures my followers on opposite schedules each have a chance of reading my blogs. My product marketing tweets are scheduled as well, I do not market a specific product more than once a week, so for example, my Twitter Kit that you have purchased I will schedule one tweet a week promoting this. My #followfriday tweets can be scheduled and tweeted each Friday for my favorite tweeters.

Live Tweets: My day to day interaction with my follower base.

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Tweets in 10 – Let’s Hear You Hoot! http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/02/09/tweets-in-10-lets-hear-you-hoot/ Wed, 09 Feb 2011 04:52:24 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4030 No related posts. ]]>

In the last Tweets in 10 post, you read about Tweetdeck, which is an app that allows you to tweet and sort tweets from others on your desktop or on your mobile device. I wanted to talk about that one first because it set the stage for what I’m about to tell you in this article.
Today, I’m talking about HootSuite. HootSuite is a browser-based application that uses a similar “columns” approach to help users sort through tweets. Like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite gives you the power to sort your tweets into default parameters like “everyone” or “direct messages” or into customized parameters like specific people or search terms (referred to as “groups” and “search” in Tweetdeck). So, all of the ideas and sorting parameters I gave you in last week’s post (i.e. clients in one column, colleagues in another, competitors in a third) apply to Hootsuite.

And, like Tweetdeck, HootSuite gives you the ability to tweet from their interface rather than having to sign in to Twitter, there’s a HootSuite phone app, and you can manage other social media accounts, too. Very convenient.

But HootSuite gives you additional tools that, in my opinion, make HootSuite a superior application:

  • Multiple accounts: Sometimes you might have multiple Twitter accounts. Say, a personal account and an account for each of your businesses. HootSuite makes it easy to manage all of your accounts inside one single HootSuite account without having to sign out and sign back in.
  • Scheduled tweets: While Twitter is an interactive medium, not everything you tweet needs to be tweeted in real time. There might be some resources or information you want to tweet at a later time. For example, maybe you want to tweet the release of your hot new ebook at a certain time of the day. Or maybe you want to be able to engage your audience even if you are in a meeting. HootSuite lets you schedule your tweets.
  • Statistics: HootSuite gives you statistics on tweets so you can see how your tweets are doing to let you know how to tweet in a more compelling way in the future.
  • Hootlet: Hootlet is a little app you can place on your browser’s toolbar and it lets you tweet about what you are viewing in your browser.
  • More social media: You can manage your status updates for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ping.fm.

An important part of the value that Tweets in 10 offers you is the ability to maximize your Twitter engagement while minimizing your time and I believe that HootSuite is one of the top tools to do exactly that. Now, I’m giving a glowing review of HootSuite but I’ve also mentioned in the last issue that Tweetdeck is my primary Twitter interface. The reason for that is simply because I manage just one account and I want the ability to access Twitter without having to have a browser open. But I do like and use HootSuite for many of the reasons above.

You don’t have to choose one or the other to be a successful Twitter user. You can easily incorporate both Tweetdeck and HootSuite into your workflow. For example, you might want to use Tweetdeck exclusively for your tweeting and following but you might use HootSuite for scheduling your tweets and for tracking your tweets. That’s basically the workflow that I use. But if you want to use just one application instead of two, figure out what functionality you want and decide from there.

To gain access to HootSuite and its services, go to HootSuite and sign up. There’s nothing to download and you can get started right away.

In the next post, I’m going to talk more about prewriting tweets and why it might be a good idea for you.

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Tweets in 10 – All Hands on TweetDeck! http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/02/02/tweets-in-10-all-hands-on-tweetdeck/ Wed, 02 Feb 2011 07:17:08 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4023 No related posts. ]]>

In a previous post I talked about Twitter plug-ins for your browser. They are handy for when you are online and want to share something that you’ve read. In this article, I want to tell you about an application that I use as my primary Twitter interface.

It’s called Tweetdeck and it’s a Twitter interface that sits on your desktop and enables you to tweet and view the tweets of people you’re following… without having to sign in to Twitter.

When a new Twitter user first starts out, they use Twitter through the Twitter.com site. At first it’s okay because there are only so many people they are following and their sporadic tweeting is done easily enough through there. But after following more and more people, they realize that they can’t read everyone’s tweets all the time and a sense of connectedness to their Twitter network begins to fade. That’s where Tweetdeck solves the problem.

Installation is simple, just go to Tweetdeck.com then go to the download page and click “Install”. When it downloads to your computer, you’ll need to install it just like any other program and then add your Twitter information in the account settings section.

Tweetdeck lets users tweet without having to go online and sign into Twitter. They simply tweet from the textbox on Tweetdeck and click “submit”. And that’s it! As well, Tweetdeck provides really convenient automatic URL-shortening. Just write in the regular URL and Tweetdeck will auto-shorten it for you.

And, it gives users the power of columns to sort and view tweets in a way that is convenient for them. Each column displays tweets (in real time) based on the parameters of the column. For example, you might create a column of everyone (which would update all of the tweets of all of the people you are following). You can also create columns that pull specific types of tweets, or, columns of tweets from specific Twitter users. These columns allow you to see at a glance a variety of tweets that are conveniently sorted.

The columns you can create in Tweetdeck are:

  • All Friends
  • Mentions (when your @name is mentioned in a tweet)
  • Direct Messages
  • Favorites
  • Groups (A group column can be created so you can follow specific people)
  • Twitter Search (create search parameters and read tweets that mention those keywords)
  • … and more (including specific tweets about stocks or recommendations from Tweetdeck)

So, what does this mean for you? Simple: Rather than signing into Twitter and getting overwhelmed, you can create as many columns as you need, so that you can you can sort the people you’re following into far more manageable groups. Here are a few examples:

You might choose to use three default columns – one for everyone (“all friends”), one for mentions, and one for direct messages. And, you might want three customized group columns – one for clients, one colleagues and close friends, and one for competitors. And, you probably want to run a couple search columns – particularly for mentions of important keywords you’re paying attention to. When you invested in the TweetsIn10 MASTER KIT, you received a list of the top people to follow on Twitter, so that might be a good column to create in Tweetdeck, too.

Over time, you can refine these columns. You might find that your competitors aren’t worth following; maybe there’s another group of people you should be following instead. Or maybe you might find that there are additional keywords you need to add into your search column. (By the way, if you ever want to do some serious retweeting but are at a loss for what to say, consider keeping an ongoing search running of important keywords for your business and that will give you plenty of retweetable material).

Once you have all these columns, navigating between them is done simply by scrolling left and right with the scroll bar. If you have too many columns you might find it annoying (I generally have 7 or 8 but no more than that).

Tweetdeck was started to help users sort tweets for Twitter on their desktop, but Tweetdeck has even more value: You can also manage your Facebook and your MySpace account in Tweetdeck at the same time in a similar way. Just log in with your Facebook or MySpace username and password and you can post status updates. Tweetdeck also has an app you can download to your mobile device so you can tweet on the run in a familiar interface.
Watch for the next issue when I talk about a similar program that is web-based (instead of on your desktop) which gives other features you might find useful.

Bonus Tip:  Make it Eye Appealing

If you are anything like me you have a favorite color. TweetDeck lets you customize​ how your application looks. I forget exactly how it comes, but I think in a drab gray. Once installed in the upper right hand corner click the little wrench icon, then go to the colors/fonts option – you can customize the colors of your program. I have mine in an awesome blue and fuchsia – definitely easier to look at and prettier too!

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Tweets in 10 – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/01/26/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/ Wed, 26 Jan 2011 20:32:55 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4014 No related posts. ]]>

In today’s post I’m going to talk about one Twitter-enhancing site that you may find useful. I’m going to talk about the site then I’m going to talk about how businesses can use it. (So, if you don’t think it’s useful just yet, read through to the end and you might change your mind)

Twitpic is a site that allows you to upload a picture and then post a link to it on Twitter. In a way, it’s no different than if you were to upload a picture onto your server and then tweet a status with the URL. It’s just that this is pretty convenient and some of the “legwork” is done for you. And you can do it with your mobile device.

To get started, simply go to Twitpic.com and sign in with your Twitter username and password. (You don’t need to create a separate username and password for this site). Just go to Twitpic and sign in. You’ll end up at your Twitpic page and once signed in you can go to the “upload photo” page to, well, upload your photo from your computer. You’ll also be able to add some text to your tweet. It’s insanely easy.

You can also tweet pictures from your phone by emailing the picture to a unique address (which is given on the upload photos page) and including your tweet in the subject line.

There. You’re done. Yes, it really was that easy, wasn’t it?

Now, to answer the question you have: “Why would I want to upload a photo?”

Here’s my answer:  A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s like a hundred tweets or more! (#joke). By uploading a picture, you are creating another (multisensory) way to engage your audience.

Like many other social networks, Twitter is all about engagement and in today’s social web world, it’s important that you share professional aspects of yourself AND personal aspects of yourself. A bit of you – business and personal – is what people are looking for. They want a taste of your personality. When they engage with you, they will come to respect your opinion and listen to your tweets and they may eventually buy from you if you show that you are willing to share some of yourself with them. If you already let prospects and clients become your friend on Facebook then this won’t be that much of a stretch, but some of you like to keep a bit of a wall between your business and personal lives and this may be tough to figure out how to do it while still maintaining some privacy. But it can and should be done, and pictures can help you do that.

So, you may want to upload the occasional personal picture of yourself because it will make you more personable: Share a picture of your favorite cat. Share a picture of the car you are restoring. Share a picture of you and your mom on Mother’s Day. Share a picture of that huge fish you caught. I had my home-office renovated recently and I uploaded pictures to Twitpic to keep people up to date on the progress of that renovation.

You can also use Twitpic to upload pictures that can help to position you professionally. If you’ve had your photo taken with a famous industry leader, put it online! If you’ve been snapped giving a speech or accepting an award, that seems like a good thing to put online, too. Maybe you want to take pictures of the handicrafts you make and sell. Or maybe you want to upload a picture of the latest book you’ve just written. Maybe you offer every customer the opportunity to have their picture taken and posted with a link back to their website. Maybe you have images and graphics that you’ve created for your business that you periodically upload and share. Whatever. There are lots of opportunities here for businesses to post pictures that can help them grow.

When you upload your picture, be sure to use the tweet effectively to give the picture some context.
A picture says a lot and since you only have 140 characters to use, maybe a picture can say it more effectively.

Bonus Tip:  Use Twitpic off Twitter Too!

I bet you did not know but Twitpic also let’s you use their images via embed. That’s right, you can use it as your own image hosting service. Just send your image to Twitpic, go to your picture on Twitpic and on the right hand side you will see a plus sign and ‘Put this photo on your website’, click that and it will give you an HTML code that you can use to re-publish/embed your photo in a blog or website!

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Tweets in 10 – Tweet this! Plug-ins for Your Browser‏ http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/01/19/tweets-in-10-tweet-this-plug-ins-for-your-browser%e2%80%8f/ Wed, 19 Jan 2011 04:10:58 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=4007 No related posts. ]]> nlrkl5swao

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Tweets in 10 – Twitterpress: Combining Twitter and WordPress10 http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/01/12/twitterpress-combining-twitter-and-wordpress/ http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/01/12/twitterpress-combining-twitter-and-wordpress/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 05:00:03 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=3996 No related posts. ]]>

Okay, I realize that not all of you are WordPress users so this might not be as relevant for everyone. But many of you are so it was worth writing one newsletter dedicated just to WordPress users.

The reason for putting Twitter plug-ins into your WordPress site is the same reason you’d put some of last week’s tools into your blog or website: It saves time on your tweets and helps to strengthen those connections between your Twitter followers and your website visitors (encouraging connections of Twitter to also become regular blog readers, for example).

There are lots of WordPress plug-ins that use Twitter in some way. I’m going to show you the couple that I use but there might be others that work better for you.
The easiest way to get plug-ins is simply to sign in to WordPress and then to go to the Plug-ins menu from your dashboard. In this menu there’s an “Add New” link and when you click it you will see a cloud of plug-in tags. Buried within that cloud is “Twitter”. So click the “Twitter” tag and you’ll get the list of plug-ins related to Twitter. Scroll through this list (it is constantly updated so it might be worth checking it out regularly to see what kinds of apps people are developing).

WordTwit

I like the app called WordTwit. WordTwit is a powerful but simple way to turn your blog posts into tweets. With this app installed and operating, whenever you blog and click “publish”, your blog will turn into a tweet which includes the blog’s title and a link back to your blog.

What I like about this app is that you can adjust the settings in a number of different ways: You have shortcode choices that include bil.ly, ow.ly, and even shortcode based on your own domain name!

WordTwit also offers statistics so you can see what your most popular Tweets were, and there are codes that you can add for further analytics beyond the simple “most popular” number.

In addition, you can set it to only tweet certain tags (or to tweet everything BUT certain tags). For example, one colleague I know who uses his blog as his primary website, has his WordTwit set up so that only informational content is sent to Twitter but his portfolio and self promotional content (such as testimonials) aren’t tweeted.

This plug-in is about pushing content out to Twitter. But what about generating content on your site from Twitter?

You can use any of the plug-ins discussed in last week’s newsletter. Or you can use something like…

Lifestream

Lifestream is a little more advanced for users with coding experience. It creates an attractive way to display your tweets in posts, pages, or your blog’s sidebar. In the WordPress plug-ins page, search for “Lifestream” or check out the developer’s page here.

If you’re a WordPress user who wants something really easy and quick to use, refer to last week’s issue and embed one of those tools in your WordPress site.

CommentLuv

Another way to integrate Twitter into your website is with CommentLuv. CommentLuv adds a content-rich and social component to your blogs. Users who type in your comments can add their Twitter accounts.

WP Quote Tweets

One I haven’t used yet but I’ve been thinking about using is WP Quote Tweets. This turns specific tweets into quotes on your site. You can see an example from the developer here.

Bonus Tip:  Twitter and WordPress = BFF

I have only begun to touch the service of the million and one things you can do with Twitter and WordPress together. At the time of writing this newsletter WordPress has 552 plug ins that use Twitter in some fashion. Before deciding, check them out and see if one works better for you than another.

Image credit: http://www.chromaticsites.com/blog/wordpress-plugin-twitter-retweet/

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Tweets in 10 – Spread the News, Spread the Love http://hireheathervilla.com/2011/01/04/tweets-in-10-spread-the-news-spread-the-love/ Tue, 04 Jan 2011 19:42:02 +0000 http://hireheathervilla.com/?p=3983 No related posts. ]]>

Twitter is an exciting medium, not just because it provides a place to connect with others but also because it generates fresh, compelling content that can draw your audience back to your blog or website again and again. The whole TweetsIn10 concept is built around helping you save time on Twitter, but the same concept extends outward – I want to help you save time in other areas in your life, too, and Twitter can help you do that.

There are several ways that you can add Twitter content to your website or blog. I’m going to show you a couple of ways today, and these are appropriate for most platforms. In the next issue, I’m going to show you some WordPress-specific plug-ins you can use. If you run WordPress, you can use the tools I’m showing you today or the plug-ins you’ll read about in the next issue.

The first option you have is to go to http://twitter.com/goodies and then click “Widgets”. This page will be familiar to you from last week’s issue. You can choose widgets for your website, for Facebook, or for MySpace. (We covered the latter two last week).

Click the website link and you’ll have 4 widget options that you can embed on your website:

  • Profile Widget: This widget allows you to display your most recent updates on your website. This is a good widget to use if you want people reading your tweets in your site.
  • Search Widget: This allows you to create some search terms which will then appear in the widget in real time as people around the Twitter universe tweet about those topics. If you want to have rich content about a specific topic on your website, this is a good widget to use.
  • Faves Widget: If you want to show only specific tweets on your website, you can “star” them in Twitter and only those marked as favorites will show up. This is a good one to use if you want to have specific content showing up on your website from people you’re following.
  • List Widget: If you’re following people and want to show them off while still positioning yourself within your industry, this is a great widget to use. Create a list in Twitter (of thought-leaders, favorite writers, top coaches, whatever) and then put this list widget on your website so other people can see who you’re following and what they are tweeting.

These are Twitter generated tools and they’re very good. But they’re not the only ones out there. You might want to look around for other widgets and tools that will do similar things but are provided by others.

I’ve also used Tweetizen in the past and have been quite happy with it. It works in a similar way: You simply create the parameters you want to have appear and then you’ll get the code that you can then embed in your website. I’ve used Tweetizen in the past to display tweets on specific topics for clients. For example, if a client wants to position themselves in the productivity coaching space, we might embed a Tweetizen display that searches for and posts tweets about “productivity”, “time management”, “procrastination”, etc.

Just go to Tweetizen and check out their really easy-to-use How-To page. You’ll notice that the Tweetizen tool can be used like a Search Widget or as a List Widget.

In all of these cases, you’ll get to outline the parameters of the tool (such as the tool’s size and appearance) and then you’ll get a code that you can embed. Just copy and paste this code into your site’s html and you’re ready to go!

Bonus Tip:

If you’re comfortable working with code, the opportunities are even more powerful. That’s because your tweets are gathered into an RSS feed. To get this feed, just sign in to Twitter and find the RSS feed in the right-side column on your profile page. Any tool that allows you to publish RSS feeds to websites, blogs, or wherever, can be used to publish your tweets (via RSS).

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