Social You: 4 Reasons No One Follows You


Weekends are all about wandering off topic, which is why I’m introducing this new weekend thread on Switch and Shift, “Social You.” And let me preface by saying that social is not currently what I do for a living, so no matter what Forbes or anyone else says, my free advice should be considered worth exactly what you pay for it.

But having said that, I’ve noticed a few things people and companies do on Twitter that they might want to rethink. Today, let’s discuss why you might find few people following you, despite all your desires to the contrary. Here are four big ones that are holding you back..

  1. You rarely tweet. I hope this one is no mystery. You can’t win if you don’t play. For instance, I’ll check Tweepi before I follow you back. If you haven’t tweeted in the last 10-20 days, I’ll just ignore you. Want more followers? Tweet!
  2. Your avatar sucks. Egg head? Unlikely folks will follow you, because you look like a spammer or lazy – or a lazy spammer. Animated avatar? Yes, they catch my eye – and they bug the sh!t out of me!! No follow back. And here’s one that few companies get: logos. If your avatar is a logo, rather than a person, that means you’re here to broadcast and sell. That’s not social, and people will avoid you. Twitter is a social medium. S-o-c-i-a-l. Look it up.
  3. All broadcast, no engagement. There’s that word again, broadcast, which means one-way communication – it’s how old school media works, or (guess what?) no longer works. Speak with me, not at me.
  4. You don’t follow back. If I see you have 200 followers, or 2,000, yet you only follow 16 people yourself, I won’t bother following you. Why should I? You don’t reciprocate; you aren’t social. (My policy rant here).

To illustrate that last point, let’s try an experiment – you can do this one with real people, next time you’re out and about. Ready?

You: “You sure are clever and interesting!”

Them: “_________.” (This is where they reply.)

If they don’t reply at all? If they say, “Yes, I am clever and interesting, aren’t I?” and leave it at that? That’s like you if you don’t follow someone back. You’re telling them, “You rock.” They’re returning that compliment with, “Yes, I do.”

Four little things that make a big difference in the world of Twitter, my favorite medium. Will this advice change your life? I doubt it. Will it help you have more fun, and make more friends? Yes, I believe it will – and some of those friendships are bound to enrich your life, as they have mine. But you tell me. Give these tips a try and let me know how they work for you!


About Social You (and social me):

It turns out that through a lot of tweeting and engaging with social media leaders and poking around different social sites, I myself have learned more than I ever realized about social. It’s funny. I spend all my time focusing on business leadership and culture, and people look to me for social media advice. Oh, well. As my Mom always says, “What are you gonna do?” Mom’s smart. You’d be well-served to take her advice, too.

Graphic by  Infekted.It 

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Shawn Murphy

    Eggheads don’t get a follow back from me. The other one is no bio. As you point out this is S-O-C-I-A-L. Tell me what you’re about or what you do or what you like. If you don’t I’m not going to stop long enough to follow back.


  • Kneale Mann


    Excellent rant, I mean commentary, sir.

    Social networking is (check the dawn of human existence) years old. Digital social networking is about 20 years old. Twitter is 6 years old. Following, friending or connecting with someone on a social networking web interface is about a 3 second event, four if your mouse sticks.

    Social networking – of any kind – begins after the handshake.

    • Kelly Phillips

      I agree, except about the company logo. I follow companies on twitter to get news, hear about their latest products, get deals on their stuff, etc. Yes, that’s broadcasting and selling. If I get wind of a huge deal or a new product, that’s exactly the point of following them. When people follow accounts with company logos, they know that they’re signing up for message from a company, not from a person. If companies quit using their logos, it would be much more difficult for me to visually process the information and understand that this post is from a company, that post is from a person. It would lose its positive impact for both me and the company by making the news feeds even more difficult to keep up with!

    • Ted Coine

      Hi Charley, Thanks for your words of support! The buttons are immediately to the left. If you don’t see them… I’m not sure what to do. Sorry.

  • Ted Coine

    Absolutely right Kneale, especially that last part, which is phrased so exquisitely. Consider yourself quoted!

  • Liz

    I agree with all of the above. And in reading the convo between you and Kelly…I’ve represented both brands with a logo for their Twitter avi as well as those who use a photo of an actual person, and it’s definitely much more of a challenge to get people to follow back a brand logo.

  • http://www.brucesallan. Bruce Sallan

    Because of you, Ted, I now follow back almost everyone. I changed my avatar recently (for fun…most people seem to really like it). I think I follow your four steps, but I don’t see the rise in followers I’d like…what am I doing wrong or are my numbers on par with what I should expect?

  • Alan Kay

    To add my piece: It’s all about sharing value and giving your audience a good experience. If that’s not evident right away they will move on. I call it ‘enlightened self-interest’, and it should be visible.
    Thanks to the two of you for the reminder about the bio – just updated mine.

  • Charley Carlin

    Hello Ted,
    Top of the morning to you (or is it afternoon) .
    Could you please add tweet or retweet buttons to the site to enhance / encourage the passing on of the good articles. I would appreciate that. Thanks
    Always nice to hear from you and keep it information flowing.

  • Lyn Boyer

    Ted, I enjoyed your comments, and I agree. Those are the same reasons I follow–or don’t. Twitter is a wonderful chance to get to know people. It takes some work, but the rewards can be very gratifying.
    The lazy spammer is also the one that copies someone else’s bio and picture, which has happened to me three times now. Each time there have been mistakes in the bio like misspellings or numbers inserted in words. Does that happen to anyone else?
    Keep up the good content. Lyn

  • Mario Mesquita Borges

    Even the so called pundits often tweet a lot of rubbish. It’s the balance between interesting info and “spam tweets” that keeps my interest going.

  • GurbaxaniDotMe Social Media

    This post, and the discussion it has generated, deserves a retweet, and an add to favorites

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  • Marc Scott

    Number 2 is a big one. I can’t believe how many people refuse to post a decent headshot. How many times have you had a chat with an egg or a logo? Because for me personally, the count stands at 0. :)


  • Joy Guthrie

    I appreciate your views on this topic. I have a personal twitter account and a corporate twitter account. On the corporate side, I do use the logo. We’re relatively new at this and we’ve made mistakes. I’m sure we’ll make more; but, that makes for interesting learning. It’s harder to process when we get conflicting advice. I get your point on using a headshot instead of a logo. We’re still inclined to use the logo; but, may consider using a “mash-up combo” of the logo and headshot.

  • April

    Love this! I also think your policy on folowing back rocks as well! It’s nice to be nice, that’s how we learn – that’s the point right?


  • Carisa Carlton

    Hi Ted! Always enjoy a play on words “because you look like a spammer or lazy – or a lazy spammer.”

    I agree on all fronts. Convoluted hashtag bios are my pet peeve. I often say hello to a new follower and include an impromptu rewrite of their bio. I giggle when I see my subtle suggestion was implemented. Not everyone can creatively shuffle and reshuffle words like Dr. Suess.

    The anonymous egghead and exclusive one-way blasting is unforgivable! Even “Anonymous” has an image.

  • Noah Wieder


    I really appreciate this post as well as your follow back policy post. If you don’t mind, I will be blogging about your follow back policy and posting a similar policy myself.

    I do have a question about #2 – Avatar above. I agree about the whole egg head lazy thing. If you’re astute enough to use twitter and tweet meaningful or interesting 140 character posts, but not astute enough to add your avatar I’m probably not going to follow you back either. Could be my arrogance but hey, it’s my option.

    You also mention the company logo isn’t a good avatar because you assume all companies are on twitter to broadcast and sell, but what if you have multiple twitter accounts and your company brand is where you tweet about industry specific topics?

    What if your logo is part of your brand and you want your customers to relate to your brand on twitter and you have several people tweeting as a company spokesperson?

    Would you frown upon a company avatar if the tweets were engaging? Do you check out a few tweets and then decide to follow or not if there is a company logo or do you just say.. eh.. company logo.. no follow?

    Looking forward to your reply.

  • Danny Powell

    One of my biggest pet peeves are the tweets that contain no original content. I don’t mind if someone points me to a great article (like this one) but I have “unfollowed” several because of their tweets were only worn out quotes or retweets. Am I alone on this one?

  • Beth M. Wood

    Hi Ted…
    I so enjoy your posts. Your comment on the logo as avatar is of high interest to me. I have two twitter accounts and two blogs. One of each for me, personally (as a writer), and the other – the agency for whom I work. Our President is sure that using our logo is the only way to go, although I disagree because in my mind it is less personal, too. But if we were to change it to a face – should it be mine, because I’m the social voice of our agency? Or our President’s? And if it’s mine, how do we ensure that it differentiates itself enough from my personal twitter account? I imagine that would be in the description of our twitter page (i.e. The official twitter page of SJI, Inc. Tweets from Beth M. Wood)…? I’m using your comment space to think out loud… But I would welcome your thoughts on this. And any further advice that might help me to convince our fearless leader that a face is the best way to go. Thanks much… Great, thought-provoking post, as always!

  • John Matheson

    I have seen some companies setting up “Twitter Support”, which makes sense because some people have been doing IRC support for quite some time now. I look at Twitter much like IRC. On Twitter, everyone is an @Operator, and a #channel is called a #hashtag.

    Anyway, I don’t think a Corporate Twitter Support account would want to #follow you unless you were a customer. Seems to me like a good application for Twitter, as you will often find the answer to your (often idiotic) question at the @ or at the #. But if they have a live body on the other end, they can offer live support. And the real energy vampires can only steal your irreplaceable time and irreplaceable life in 140-character increments.

    (yes, I am a fan of, and, and in the old days I did telephone support for MS-DOS users. “Now I want you to type ‘type’ and then the filename”.)

  • DonnaKWallace

    Ted, thank you for being a gentleman. I’m new to your posts, but I’ll be back on a regular basis because of your mutual respect for your online community.

    I’m also interested in Beth Wood’s “outloud thoughts” and questions.

  • Stan Faryna

    Yes, I do. Rock. Thank you. [grin]

    And so do you.

    Below are some complementary considerations about succeeding in social. Enjoy!

    Faux Pas

    Those getting started in social often get off on the wrong foot because they don’t parse the text as they do face time. But the online faux pas tends to be forgiven and forgotten quickly – especially if people know you’re a noob.


    Reciprocate follows, retweets, mentions, tags, etc. Failure to reciprocate is the most common error made by social apprentices, acolytes and veterans. Of course, we all get busy. But don’t let your social debt run deep into the red.


    Thank those who share you (or your message) with their followers. As quickly and often as possible. Publicly. Enthusiastically. AND by personal message. Don’t take people for granted. Of course, it happens as often in social as it does on the street or in the office. And we know who you are.


    Online is no different from offline. It’s all real. And if you want attention, you’ve got to serve people. Give them something they can use. If you want followers, you’ve got to lead. And true leadership is all about service.

    Recently on my blog:
    When your best is suck. And other social media DOHs”

  • John Matheson

    The people on this site seem to be very clever how they manage their Digital Reputations. For one thing ‘Facebook’ might be ‘social’, as this is where our friends are, who we know, speak frankly with, speak in politically incorrect terms with, share private pictures with, schedule private parties with, etc.

    Trying to run a business relying on a ‘social network’ like Facebook (where the 5000 limit gets you pretty fast) is like being asked to sell Amway to your friends. Or having no boundary between your friends and your audience. Not a recipe for a well-balanced life where people are correctly identified.

    Among your audience are going to be whiners, energy vampires (term I coined in January 2006 on the Sarmite Bulte federal campaign in Parkdale-High Park – find it earlier on the Internet and I will send you $20.00), internet abusers, conspiracy theorists, racists, political and religious bigots, stalkers, well you know, the 99% of the world we have to be polite to (as successful entrepreneurs), but you sort of need to make your presence felt somewhere (anwyhere) else at 11:08 A.M. People who you would not want to have anything to do with personally. The reason we are successful to some degree is that we have some breeding, manners, and taste, or enough of the other two to make up for the relative lack of one.

    Twitter, thus is not a ‘social’ network, but a ‘socializing’ network. You do find wonderful people on Twitter! But they are not all of them. 1/100 I might say. The good ones, you draw into Facebook to be a delight to all your other friends and vice versa.

    As I write in some detail on my canadaorangecat dot com, the “SEO” and “social networking businesses” are mostly not worthy of consideration. Building a digital reputation is done one person at a time. The front page is a long screed on facebook/twitter nonsense, and then on other pages are my SEO triumphs and an even longer screed on Netiquette. Oh, and my C.V.! What all my activity has done is shot my LinkedIn page to the top few of my name on Google, from SEO nonexistence a month earlier. For not a penny! Hoots mon!

    I think we should stop saying we are doing ‘social’ and start asking others what they think it means. Being in the ‘social’ business puts you in the same quarters as penny stock scamster fraudster spamsters, Foreign Facebook API script kiddy exploitz-ers who trigger ‘Likes’ on big accounts (thinking they will not notice) for money, People on Twitter with 68 followers saying how they got thousands of followers today, people selling 100k youtube views (oh how are you going to get 100,000 to voluntarily watch my video if it is just some anticipation about what it might be and you will never find out unless you send money at the end)

    Please. We are intelligent business people and this garbage is polluting the best business environment humanity could have ever created for itself. Let’s call ourselves ANYTHING but ‘social’. I like ‘Internet Marketer’. or even ‘Digital Reputation Manager’. Part of our deal is running traffic into websites and thence to paypal/Visa/MC and then to the client’s bank account. This is where we reverse engineer from. What have websites and finances got to do with social networks? Social networks (or socializing networks, I should really say) are just part of the story. And why not be a little vague? We know how it really works! And that must be worth something!

  • Pavithra

    A very interesting read & you hit the bulls-eye hands-down, Ted!

  • Ernie

    A goodie.

  • Cheryl Marquez

    What I love about Twitter above the other social networks is the amount of interesting people you could meet and talk to from all over the world. I don’t understand how some people are in broadcast mode when you’re at a giant cocktail party. You wouldn’t walk up to a group of people and say follow me, then buy my stuff, that would be rude.

    Anyone jumping into social should apply these principles to not only Twitter, it should also apply on Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram or any social network. It’s annoying to have someone on Instagram post a comment on a picture I posted to follow them and they haven’t posted one picture. How do I know if I want to see your pictures if I have no idea what you’ll post?

    It also depends on the social network, make sure your content is targeted at the right audience when you do create a post. I look on Pinterest for inspiration and would likely follow a restaurant that posted recipes I could make at home or how as a home cook, I could plate my food so it looks more beautiful.

  • amy

    I love this post so much I’m including it in my additional info on my branding course follow up page!

  • Ted Coine

    Shawn, how did I forget that one? No bio?!! Come on, what’s the big secret? That’s a sign of a lazy spammer too, without doubt.

    Great teamwork, as always. Our list is up to 5 reasons now. I’m sure there are more.

  • Alessia

    The bio thing is true for me too. Also, if I don’t like what people say in the bio, they seem only corporate advertising or I don’t feel like I can relate for any reason I’m not into following back. I tend to give a read at the last tweets before taking a decision but if the bio hits I may follow without doing it, if I read I’m generally not convinced in the first place.
    I’m not into lists so I don’t want to follow people that will then make my interactions with others harder without providing interactions much.

  • Ted Coine

    Kelly, I too follow a lot of company logos, because I like companies and I know a lot of social community managers don’t get this one yet. But what I often hear from social managers whose avatar is their logo is how hard it is to inspire other folks to follow them back. I think the logo is a big deterrent to a lot of people – not me, but a lot of people.

    Look no further than Mashable if you want to see an incredibly successful brand that has a human for its avatar. That dude (whoever he is – I should probably know, shouldn’t I?) says loud and clear, “This account is run by a person, me, the guy with brown hair. Welcome.” Never mind that they broadcast rather than engage from that twitter account. On first inspection, that’s a person, and you feel an immediate human connection.

  • Ted Coine

    Awesome Liz – thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    I don’t always just make this stuff up, you know :)

  • Allison

    Thanks –

    A very interesting set of advice and conversations. The logo logic worries me too, and I might just have to stay stubborn on this one, understandably potentially at my expense. I use my logo as my avatar to show that I am here in my professional capacity and that these are not my personal tweets. I don’t want people to think I intend to tell them I am stuck in traffic or where I am having coffee… That said, I know plenty of people communicate the latter type of info. especially, for professional reasons. But I use Twitter right now primarily to see and share interesting industry news. Perhaps I will have more original content to add later, when our portal re-launches…. I am happy to engage in conversations when they happen, but I don’t falsely seek them out.

    I think so much depends on how you use Twitter and what industries and folks you are following. In the green building space, I feel we are primarily sharing news and stories and inspiring each other generally. We’re also seeing each other posts and learning who’s here and who we might want to know more about. It’s still an emerging group in so many ways. Personally, when I see too much chat I don’t easily follow, I am less interested. I am looking to learn and help others learn.

    Also, i don’t see a giant # of followers in itself as a goal. But I’d of course be happy to be connected with everyone who is liked minded and where we can have a win-win relationship. And I can imagine the two go together. But I wonder how much Twitter should be the core for real relationships. For me, it’s a tool/platform for sharing, “meeting” relevant others, and quick hellos and mentions – tidbits really. if you start a real professional or personal friendship, well, I agree with the person who mentioned the handshake. Or something like that, since I tend to be glued to my inbox. The point is, we can develop more in-depth relationships elsewhere, as desired.

    Thanks again,

  • Ted Coine

    Bruce, you have a great avatar, I agree. My advice is to follow the followers of someone with similar interests, the theory being that if they like that person, they’ll like you, too.

    Life isn’t as simple as any theory would have us believe, so there will be plenty of people approached thus who don’t follow you back after all. That’s their prerogative, of course, and you shouldn’t take it personally.

    Right now I’m trying to improve my marketing savvy, so I’m spending a lot of time with #cmo (I created a tweet deck column to make it easier). I follow folks whose tweets and bio make me think they could teach me something. Not all of them will return the favor, but… well, at least we have this interest in common, right?

    Tell me how it goes!

  • Shawn Murphy

    Don’t know that it’s a lazy spammer all the time. I think some people just approach social from an uninformed perspective. One that is outdated and fueled, perhaps, by fear of giving away too much of their identity.

  • Ted Coine

    Alan, I could not agree more. I certainly hope we do that here on Switch and Shift!

  • Alan Kay

    Yes, the two of you create a great experience for your community. The engagement and interactivity stands out from the rest. And, the sense of continual emergence. The issue for us mere mortals – you keep raising the bar!

  • Ted Coine

    Lyn, I’ve seen the same thing from time to time with other people’s pics & bios – maybe mine too, but I haven’t caught that yet (!) It’s terrible. I wish the “Block and report as spam” button included a feature that sent a slight shock to the spammer. Thousands of those per day would probably go far in deterring further spamming.

    We can dream…

  • Ted Coine

    That’s certainly true. The number of folks new to Twitter (and to social in general) is far larger than the early adopting talent pool. It’s like a small town grown huge. Those of us who’ve been here for a while ought to show our new neighbors the sights (and sites) and take them under our wings. I for one find that a big pleasure.

  • Ted Coine

    I guarantee you that includes me, Mario. As they say, one man’s rubbish is another man’s interesting tweet.

  • Ted Coine

    Allison, this is well-thought-out and one form of “spot on.” I love it. Here are a couple of remarks that yours inspire:

    1. As Outback Steakhouse says (or used to say?), “No rules, Just right.” If it works for you and you aren’t malicious (clearly you are far from that!), then who can possibly tell you you’re wrong?!?! We bring our own perspective and goals to social, and we get out of it what we will.

    2. This, to me, is the most important part of your comments: “…I don’t falsely seek [conversations] out.” That’s the whole thing: never “falsely” do anything on social, and you’re likely to be just fine! This is a terribly hackneyed expression by now, but authenticity rules the social web.

    3. I’ve made some incredibly, strong and (I’m confident) lasting relationships on Twitter alone. Sometimes that graduates to phone calls, Skyping, and occasionally f2f meetings – but not always. Half of the contributors to this month’s series on Switch and Shift are friends I’ve made through Twitter. Shawn and I were Twitter friends and mutual-admirers long before our first phone call. It takes an incredible amount of – um… work is the wrong word, because it’s fun. Dedication? Practice? Consistency? I realize that my inordinate amount of tweeting makes me an outlier. My point is, it can be done, and I’m living proof of that.

    I really enjoyed your comments. I hope to see you back here, and in the Twittosphere, often!

  • Allison

    Thanks, Ted.

    I wasn’t sure how much of an outlier I am (I may not know for a while, as far as social media goes), and I can tell your other commentors and colleagues are a bit more social savvy. This is all very new to me. After ten years in the hospitality industry, I was quite used to in-person relationships. And now, I guess one of my goals is to make communicating through technology feel more human. When I first started building my web platform, social networking wasn’t even a term yet. Sadly, it’s taken me too many years and too many tries to get it right (I have great hopes for this June!). But fortunately or not, I am still quite confident in the need for our resource. My goal is to create a place where people in the green building industry can feel comfortable talking and sharing the information critical to project success. Without these conversations, there is far too much trial and error – and waste and frustration. To be honest, it seems funny to go out there and make friends through social networks in support of what is essentially a social network. But, we have places for more in-depth relationships and places for brief mentions, I suppose.

    i don’t yet know how in love with Twitter I am. I feel very comfortable there to start. It’s quick and painless, and great when you make a connection. But I don’t know how real or lasting they really are on average. I like the idea of people sharing, obviously. I appreciate a link to a good article. I don’t know if i like someone’s response to one person being shared so publicly, when it really is for and benefits that person. I tend to look at someone’s recent tweets and think through whether I think we can be of some good to each other. But really looking takes so long I am woefully behind in what I thought was a good path. I don’t yet know all the tools and tricks on how to organize if I am to keep doing this in my own, which I think is ideal. And yet, here I am using one form of social media more, and not the others. I am not quite sure why. As we head towards re-launch for real this time, I can tell I have quite a bit of learning to do. And we all need more time in a day. But I want to start figuring out what is the best place for certain types of communicating. I don’t think I can be an expert in every realm, and certainly most small companies can’t hire someone to manage all types of media. I also think you lose sincerity as you start doing all of this more deliberately?

    I look forward to “seeing” you on Twitter! That is how I found this post. I was attempting to go through and connect with some of the folks I hadn’t made enough time to follow back. Now, how to separate out best how I find things – it seems too random, for now. I am starting to think about how to optimally operationalize what I was sort of just randomly enjoying when i could find the time…. Sounds less fun, even if more productive.

    Thanks again for your kind reply,

  • Ted Coine

    I really appreciate that, Gurbaxani, and I agree – the comments make the post, don’t they! I’m grateful to have sparked the conversation.

  • Ted Coine

    Exactly, Marc. I actually do sometimes, but part of my advice in these cases includes advice on the avatar. For the record, more logos reach out to me than eggs. I’m thinking people wise up about the egg thing fairly quickly. The logo… not as easy a sell to get them to be less corporate and more human.

  • Kelly

    Thanks for all the great dialog. We are new to this and appreciate the WHY behind the commentary. We started our twitter account posting with our iconic Singing Dog Sailing Logo–thinking it is all about the dog…but ironically, people book with us, come aboard and still state, “Wow, you have a dog on the boat? That’s great!” Perhaps we can find a photo of us with the dog to make it all come together! Ha ha ha. –Captain Kelly.

  • DonnaKWallace

    I’ve had to press heavy deadlines in my work during the last several years, which has left me little time for “site seeing”. I’m new in the neighborhood and appreciate the kindness!

  • Ted Coine

    Joy, I love your attitude toward error, learning, and readjustment – we need much more ease with such things in business! People are too afraid to fail. It’s very human, and it’s something we learn a lot of in school, unfortunately (not to dis teachers at ALL! My whole family does almost nothing but teach).

    As for your company logo: another personalizing trick I see quite often is, “tweets by Sally,” or “tweets by @sallydoe” – even just an “SD” (for Sally Doe) somewhere in the bio helps a little. Anything to personalize your brand will make it more sticky and lovable.

  • Ted Coine

    “It’s nice to be nice.” That really sums up about 98% of my writing and speaking. The other 2%? “It’s also very profitable to be nice.”

    You rock, AJ. Thanks!

  • Ted Coine

    Carissa: you, my friend, are very cool. Stay close! We need more unsolicited helpers like you ;)

    For the record, I have on occasion done things like this, especially just encouraging eggheads who reach out to me to post their picture. Sometimes people need help and are grateful – I would be! Other times they think, “jerk,” and blow me off. Either way, we tried, right?

  • Ted Coine

    Hi Noah,

    Here is my unforgivable, months-late reply: logos aren’t a complete turnoff, just less awesome than faces. You’ll find, with a logo, that you get fewer followers than a face – and that may be a loss you’re comfortable with.

    I’m absolutely about getting your brand’s logo out there, to teach people to recognize it on sight and hopefully to look forward to seeing it. If that’s the route you decide upon, you can still personalize by having the tweeter’s initials somewhere unobtrusive but visible on the avatar. When Bob tweets for the brand, here it is. When Sally does, here it is. Achmed, Hiroshi, Jane, etc. Of course, then you’ll have 10 accounts instead of one, but the good side is there will be humans there each time. Your call.

    There are more options here. I should post what those options are. Hmm… You got me thinking.

  • Ted Coine

    No Danny, you’re so not alone! Mix it up, people!! I love a good quote. I also love a sincere, personalized thanks in someone’s stream, a remark about the asteroid with no link at all, a news story with a link… all sorts of stuff.

    Bottom line: don’t broadcast, engage! Oiy. We do what we can… ;)

  • Ted Coine

    Hi Beth,

    Chances are he won’t listen to you because you’re his employee and he’s higher on the org chart than you – a 20th Century notion if ever there was one, but most of our top executives of today earned their rank last century by obeying the old rules.

    So my first suggestion: let me talk to him. One common definition of an expert is someone with a suit and a briefcase (or a laptop bag) who gets off a plane to talk to you. Again, hopefully outmoded soon, but one thing at a time for the old guard…

    This is a great compromise with your fearless leader: “The official twitter page of SJI, Inc. Tweets from @BethMWood.” (Your name is good; your personal twitter handle may or may not work – your call, and his of course). Do it!

  • Ted Coine

    John, you’re cracking me up! On the surface, one might think I’m contradicting myself when I say this: Don’t let customers suck your time. No matter what we do in business, we can’t forget that there’s a reason behind it – we’re here to make money for our company, and ultimately for our families.

    It’s up to each company whether they engage with, tune out, or outright fire each customer. A lot of that has to do with the math in question. Does each customer bring the company pennies a year, or thousands of dollars? Multiply that out by the lifetime of a customer. Does it add up to $100? $10,000? $1 million? Different companies, different business models, different answers.

    Proceed from there.

  • Ted Coine

    Donna, I try… and often fail… when it comes to the gentleman thing. There’s always room for improvement: a whole lot of room in my case. But thank you! Please see above for my reply to Beth’s musings, which I agree are great.

  • Ted Coine

    Stan, This is freakin’ GREAT! Thanks so much for sharing here.

    Everyone else: Stan belongs to one of my “tribes,” and I share his excellent blog posts often because they’re typically great and I know they’ll provide added value to my followers. I recommend you check his link, above, as I did, and maybe make his blog a regular stop in your daily online life.

    I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ll bet you will, too.

  • Karen J

     Stan ~ Thanks for mentioning this: “especially if people know you’re a noob.”

    I’ve always maintained that letting people know “you know you don’t know your way around yet” was the best idea… even when “corporate policy is to not mention that your new”!

  • Ted Coine


    I guess it all boils down to starting with the end in mind, as my children’s school teaches them daily (hat tip to Steven Covey, who named this one of his 7 Habits.) For me “social” works just fine, because I’m not about marketing, I’m about sharing and connecting. I’ll market sooner or later – my original intention when I created my Twitter account 4 years ago was to build an audience to sell my next book and/or book some speaking gigs. I’m still building toward that, but my next book isn’t due out for a year yet, and there are soooooo many cool advantages to just meeting fascinating people on the web, I really do use it to be social.

    That’s me. Everyone has to decide why they’re here, and manage their time accordingly.

    Rock on my friend. Great additions to the conversation!!

  • Beth M. Wood

    Thanks for having my back here! Okay, okay, so I go in with the “Official twitter page…” line, but, back to the avatar – what to do? We’re a branding agency, so our logo is on everything we do. My face is on my personal twitter account, so not sure if it should be on the agency account, too. BUT, he is a leader in his field, and well known in the industry, so maybe his face is the way to go… but (again the “but”) is this misleading, since I’m the one who’s tweeting, blogging and posting on his/the company’s behalf? Ay-yi-yi, much to consider! Thanks again for the advice!

  • Ted Coine

    Thank you so much, Pavithra! I aim to please.

  • Ted Coine

    That’s so funny, Kelly. I swam in college, and my friends often referred to me as “Swimmer Ted.” I thought that athlete thing helped me in the dating arena, but – like you with your dog – I kept getting, “Oh, you swim?” from girls I dated. Oh, well. Much of our branding message, be it personal or in business, remains a mystery. What happens between what we send out and what our target audience receives? Who can say for sure?

  • Ted Coine

    Yikes, that’s a lot to cover, Allison! This reply is both late and insufficient (sorry!), but for anyone, my advice is twofold:

    1. Just plain experiment, every single day. Try stuff, click buttons, set up (and use) accounts on various platforms: just see what works. You’ll learn as you go, and you can’t learn if you don’t try a lot of different approaches, which means you’ll fall down and skin your knees a whole bunch of times. Skin grows back, so… big deal?

    2. Make friendly acquaintance with the folks who clearly know what they’re doing, and just flat-out ask them questions. I do that all the time, even now that I’m “Interwebs famous” (yeah, whatever), and I truly don’t care if it makes me look like less of an “expert” to those who see these often-public interactions as I make them. Pride can get in the way of success; I don’t have time for it.

    For #2 – I’ve been doing this since I had 20 followers on Twitter, and 200, and 2,000. Now that I’m above 200,000 I still do it. Do the big dogs reply more often now than they did when I was brand-new? Actually, no. Most of the best leaders on Twitter and LinkedIn and elsewhere have always helped me out, even when I was a newbee. That’s what makes them stars.

  • Karen J

     Alrighty, then, Ted: as a complete novice here – what *are* you talking about when you call an avatar “an egg”?

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