Twitter Strategies: 3 Steps to Avoid Being Mistaken As A Spammer

ComputerShopper published this deansguide article 11-23-09
The Courier News (Chicago Sun-Times News Group) published this deansguide article 11-23-09

Twitter strategies are numerous and often confusing. The moment you think you understand the network, something new poses a challenge to your efforts. One of the first challenges new Twitter users will experience is understanding who to follow. The first and worst mistake new users make is to beginning following hundreds of people or companies immediately. The resulting lack of strategy places the new Twitter user in what is called a “upside” down position. Simply put if you follow hundreds and very few are following you, you give the appearance of a spammer, MLM hard sell marketer, or worse yet an affiliate marketer.

This is a very basic first phase description of how to screen the people and companies that follow you. Due diligence is important, unless you are a spamming hard sell MLM or affiliate marketer, to building an effective network. Let’s examine my due diligence steps with social media analyst Jerimiah Owyang:

3 Due Diligence Steps to Build Your Twitter Network

  1. Read Bio: read the bio of the person-company following you. Understand what they do and if they fit into your network of followers, if they provide information valuable to you, if they have a large network you wish to leverage, and if they are in your industry or niche.
  2. Links: click through the link provided in the bio. This link should lead to a website-blog with mission statements, purpose, goals, industry, and niche. This IS my most important step in the due diligence process.
  3. Tweet “Stream”: read the tweet stream to understand what is being written. Does the person or company provide valuable information to you and your network? Is this person providing new thought leadership like Jeremiah? Do they share techniques or new processes? Do they tweet breaking news about your industry or niche?


It is up to you how you screen your twitter followers and who you will follow in return. I utilized this process 80% of the time. The downside to this process is that it is time consuming. The upside is the fact that you will have a more targeted network that will serve your research, broadcasting, prospecting, sales, networking, announcement, crowdsourcing needs in the future

4 Ways Twitter Could Eliminate DM Spam

In our last article “Twitter Strategies: 7 Day Waiting Period on Direct Messages” we described 3 methods to curb or eliminate DM spam.  The following list are four more ways to eliminate DM spam on Twitter like the example below:

4 Ways Twitter Could Eliminate DM Spam

  • Crowdsourcing Court: Twitter users vote on the guideline of penalties awaiting a company or individual who is found guilty of spamming the Twitter network. Base it on Dell’s Ideastorm crowdsourcing site
  • Eliminate Links: disallow the use of links in any DM messages with the hope that spammers will no longer see the benefit of using a DM
  • Less than 140: cut the number of characters in half for a DM making it a 70 character messaging channel thus challenging a spammer’s ability to create spam
  • DM Limit: create a limit for the number of DMs allowed each Twitterer per month. Once you reach your limit, you have to wait until the next month to send a direct message

Twitter Strategies: 7 Day Waiting Period On Direct Messages

DM spam

Holy smokes Scott this is the lamest attempt to persuade me to do anything-  let alone what I already do in my business. Did you even look at my bio my friend? Do I really “Rock”?  Wow what an offer how can I refuse?– deansguide

The worst aspect of Twitter, the microblogging sensation with multiple benefits, is their implementation of a Direct Message feature. Known as a “DM”, this feature has morphed into the biggest spam tool and channel on the social network. Affiliate marketers, Multi Level Marketers, hard sell rip off artists, and anyone with a scam can (and WILL) deliver their messages.

The problem of DM spam is so previlant that the majority of savvy Twitter users do not monitor this channel more than once a week. What can Twitter do about this problem?

3 Twitter Ideas To Curb DM Spam

  • 7 days: require a 7 day waiting period before a DM can be sent when a follow-follower relationship has been established
  • Opt In-Out: create a opt in-out option where Twitterers can either choose to receive DMs or turn the DM channel off
  • Penalties: automatically penalize Twitter spammers who violate “content regulations” created to stem the tide of unwanted hard sell sales pitches and phishing activities

5 Blog Writing Tips To Engage Online Readers

ComputerShopper published this deansguide article 11-13-09

Blog writing is vastly different from “long” writing seen in newspapers and magazines. The idea behind blog writing is to capture a reader’s attention immediately, create succinct articles, and keep the word count under 500 words when possible.

5 Tips to Engage Online Readers

1. F Shape Theory: Jakob Nielsen, Time magazine’s King of Usability, formulated a theory describing online reading habits. Online readers, according to Nielsen, read the title first, then scan down the left side bar looking for keywords important to them. If the reader finds a keyword they scan left to right into the body of the text. If the reader does not find a keyword they scan down the left side bar and leave. The F Shape Theory

2. Bold: Utilize the Bold feature to help text stand out, pull the human readers eye to keywords and subheadings, and more readable for Google ‘bots

3. Bullets and Numbers: Online readers love bullet and numbered lists. Use these list articles as often as possible

4. Images: Pictures attract the eye and help hold the reader’s interest. Utilizing screenshots is a very effective method of teaching your readers when producing any how-to articles. Example below:


5. Video: This adds a higher level of engagement for the reader. is also a very prominent social network that can drive traffic to your site. Warning: videos should be succinct like written content. Any video over 3 minutes is usually too long unless it is a training vehicle for your audience. Example of lawyer Gary Gwilliam’s compelling video about his fight to conquer alcoholism and addiction:

Facebook Fan Widgets & Blogs: Ignored Viral Marketing Opportunities

Viral marketing strategies on social networks are often overlooked. One such instance is the opportunity to become a fan of a prominent well read Facebook page for a company or prominent blogger. The key is to find out if the company or blogger has a Facebook fan widget box on their blog. Here is an example of this opportunity.

Become a Fan of a Prominent Facebook Page:

Many blogs with massive traffic (Mashable), have Facebook fan page widgets.  These Facebook widgets, sitting in a prime area of the blog,  display pictures of each new registered fan (or logo) as well as the link to that fan’s own blog or website.

New blog readers, who come to these blogs, can simply roll their cursor over a picture, within the Facebook widget, to find the name and link back to that person or company’s blog. This becomes a pathway to  content providing instant viral marketing possibilities. Viral Marketing Dreams Are Made

See the shot below of the Mashable Facebook widget:

Mashable Viral Join Communities

With over 60,000 Facebook fans and  an Alexa ranking of 483, is one of the most well read sites in the world according to the statistical sampling done by Alexa. Likewise, Dan Schawbel is one of the most prominent social media writers in the blogosphere today.

The Results

A SusanOur CEO Inner Architect’s Susan Hanshaw was displayed in the Facebook fan page widget on the Mashable page for Dan Schwabel’s article. This placement helped bring an additional 40 readers to our blog the day the article was posted.

We also found on the Mashable widget friend and associate Pat Kitano principle of Domus Consulting Group and former workshop attendee Ellen Richman.

Twitter Strategies: 8 Reasons To Make “Following” Widget a Blogroll

A following blogrollWhat fixes or features would you implement on Twitter if you were one of the principles? If I could fix something simple it would be to give each user control over the “blogroll” aka people you follow list that shows on the right side bar. This “following” widget shows the last 36 people or companies you have followed. What if you could choose the 36 people or companies who are displayed in this widget? This widget then becomes a true blogroll and it’s functionality becomes very important. This is what I could accomplish with this new feature:

8 Reasons to Make “Following” Widget a Functional Blogroll

  • Showcase: I could provide exposure for my most influential people-companies I follow
  • Best of Class: my following widget could be populated with the best providers of information
  • Perception: the perception of me or my company suffers in the eyes of my followers if less than appropriate or different people are showing up in my following widget aka blogroll
  • Change: provide each user the ability to change their “blogroll” daily, weekly, or monthly. This would allow me to run blogroll themes. Examples would include best of social media; social media companies, best hyper local resources, best regional information, niche information
  • Hashtags: I could feature the most prominent Twitterers from hashtags
  • RT: I could feature the most prominent RTers of my information as a recognition and thank you
  • DM Abusers: I could feature companies or people who use the DM as a spam messaging channel; This would be a warning system for users
  • Unfollowing: this could be a list of people or companies I am about to unfollow