I’m always amazed by how many people do not realise the importance of filling in your Twitter profile with clear and accurate information. In a previous article called ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ I talked about the need for Directness (#4 of the 7 Graces of Marketing) in your Twitter bio. In that article, I talked about how good keywords combined with plain, simple language can help people find you, know you and connect with you.
But last night, while preparing a ‘to follow later’ list for Tweet Adder 4.0 (explained below), I discovered that while many people take at least some care in composing their Twitter bios, a huge percentage of them mess up on one other very important component of their Twitter profile: their location.
When you create your profile, Twitter asks ‘Where in the world are you?’ intending for you to insert your physical location. It seems like a simple enough question, but a surprising number of people REALLY get the answer ‘wrong’ by trying to be funny, clever, cute, creative or evasive.
Now, I can understand if some of you are thinking, ‘I value my privacy. Why should I tell the world where I am?’ If you are using Twitter solely as a means of personal social networking, it’s perfectly fine to be as unclear about your whereabouts as you wish. But if you intend to grow your network for business purposes, making it difficult for other people to find you within the dense forest of the Twitterverse puts you at a severe disadvantage.
It is also true that one could argue that the question, ‘Where in the world are you?’, is open to some interpretation, but Twitter does say ‘location’, and gives you a limited number of characters to say where you are. So let’s take this at face value, and assume this is where we are supposed to tell people where we are actually located.
To show how and why getting our location right on Twitter is important, I thought it would be informative (and amusing) if I shared:
1) The process I used to filter my ‘to follow later’ list, and
2) The Top 25 most USELESS ‘locations’ I found during my search, so my readers don’t make the same crucial errors.
How I Prepared My List
During my search, I came up with an initial list of 5000 potential Twitter leads and then filtered the data to arrive at a final list of about 1500 good leads. Here’s the process I used:
- I started out by looking on my Twitter profile to see what new lists I had been placed on over the past week. I found a few large lists that particularly interested me. Altogether, the lists contained names of about 5000 authors and marketers.
- I copied the URLs of these lists, and then opened Tweet Adder 4.0, where I performed a ‘Twitter List’ search for these specific lists (see ‘Taking This Further’ at the end of this article for more information about Tweet Adder 4.0).
- As the profiles of the members of each list appeared in Tweet Adder, I used its filters to filter out accounts that had less than 200 followers, had no profile picture or were private accounts.
- After those filters brought the numbers down, I had Tweet Adder organise the profiles according to the date of their last Tweet. I then manually went through and deleted all profiles that had not been active within the last 30 days.
- Once that was done, my list was approximately 20% smaller than the original list. I saved this filtered list to my ‘to follow later’ list in Tweet Adder.
- I repeated this process for each of the other Twitter lists I had found. By the end, I had about 4000 names in my ‘to follow later’ list, trimmed down from the original 5000.
- Then, I went into my ‘to follow later’ list and exported it as a CSV file (a new feature in 4.0).
- Once exported, I opened the CSV file in MS Excel. This enabled me to sort and delete all the accounts I did not wish to follow, according to different parameters in the header columns.
- The first sorting parameter I chose was language. Once sorted, I deleted all the accounts that were in languages I could not understand.
- After these accounts were deleted, I sorted the list again by location. I deleted all the accounts in places where I do not normally do business or where my books are not locally available.
- Once that was done, I sorted the accounts according to followers and following, and deleted accounts that had a disproportionate gap between them. For example, if they had 20,000 followers but only followed 100 people, I deleted them, as they would be unlikely to engage with me.
- I also looked for accounts that seemed to have hit ‘the Twitter Wall’ (which I talk about at length in my book Tweep-e-licious), because I knew it would be impossible for them to follow me back if they were stuck at 2000 followers with only a few hundred people following them.
- This left me with a nice filtered list of about 1500 names of people who would be far more likely to follow me back and engage with me than if I had simply imported the entire 5000 names. It took some time to prepare (about an hour) but it will definitely save me a lot of tidying up later.
Top 25 Most Useless Locations
Now, back to the matter at hand. In the filtering process above, the ‘location’ parameter shows how people answered the Twitter question ‘Where in the world are you?’ In exploring these, I found some pretty amusing (and often pointless) responses. So now, in no particular order, here are the top 25 worst answers I found to the Twitter question ‘Where in the World Are You?’:
- ‘On the internet’ – Duh. Who’s not? Hundreds of people answered in this way, presumably because their business was Internet-based. But is that really a useful answer? Does it not instil greater trust to say where your home offices are?
- ‘Worldwide’ – Come on. Are you REALLY? Hundreds of accounts list ‘worldwide’ as their location. The only ones that could possibly be justified in saying this is their ‘location’ are mega-corporations or mega-media companies. Most of those I found who said ‘worldwide’ were individuals. Unless you really are worldwide, an answer like this sounds overblown and hyped up, and doesn’t help me know anything about you culturally.
- Some strange abbreviation for your town – I’ve seen people use abbreviations for their hometown, local airport or even their post code. Abbreviations like LAX, PHX or NW1 might be perfectly obvious to you, but you cannot expect other people who don’t live near you to know what you mean. Spell out the name of your town or city completely.
- An ambiguous place name – On the same lines, if you live in a town, city or country that shares its name with another town, city or country (e.g.: Georgia, Rome, Paris, Portland, Troy, Holland, Lebanon, etc.) put the name of the state, county, province or country that distinguishes it from those other locations. Be sensitive to the millions of people who do not come from the same location as you.
- A phone number – Many people put a phone number as their location. That’s not a place, thank you. Put your phone number in your bio IF you must (although I seriously doubt people will call you just from knowing you on Twitter).
- A web address – Again, this is not a place. Besides, it’s pointless to put a web address as your location because there is already a designated place for you to put your web address in your Twitter profile.
- An email address – Same issues as in points 5 and 6. But also…an email address? Really? Are you ASKING for spam mail or what?
- Geo coordinates – Some people don’t put a place, but their Google Geo coordinates. Perhaps it’s true that these coordinates show your exact location, but I doubt many people understand all those numbers, and it is highly unlikely anyone will search for your location using these parameters.
- ‘The South’ (or ‘The North’, etc.) – While coordinates supposedly provide your absolute location, saying ‘The South’, ‘The North’, etc. without some reference point is useless. Nevertheless, a large number of people say they live in the north or south…of somewhere (which is about as good as saying ‘nowhere’).
- ‘Here and Now’ – Hundreds of people I found listed their location as ‘Right here’; ‘Right Here, Right Now’; ‘Here and Now’; ‘Here, There, Everywhere’, or something similar. You might have thought this was a clever thing to do, but the fact that so many people also thought to do this does somewhat undermine its novelty.
- ‘Inside Your Head’ – Believe it or not, more than one person said this. Now, if you were REALLY inside my head, you’d know I’m not inclined to follow someone who claims they’re inside my head.
- ‘Earth’ – Many hundreds of people on Twitter claim to be Earthlings. Well at least we’ve cleared up that mystery.
- ‘Mars’ – Although the Earthlings outnumber them, Martians comprised about 0.1% of my original list. So, if there are half a billion people on Twitter, we might estimate there are roughly 500,000 Martians using Twitter. Bet you didn’t know that.
- ‘Nirvana’ – Enlightened beings are even more populous on Twitter than Martians, outnumbering them by about 3 to 1. While most were located in Nirvana, others came from places like the ‘Secret Place of the Most High’ ‘Singularity’ and ‘the Land of Butterflies and Moonshine’. It does beg the question, however, why such blissed out beings want to hang out on Twitter.
- ‘With my…’ – Dozens of people said they were ‘with my iPhone’; ‘with a book’; ‘with my dog’, etc. Now if we could only find the iPhone, the book or the dog, we might be able to find the person who owns the Twitter account.
- ‘In Republican US – Where’s my Gun?’ – Fortunately, I found only one person on Twitter who said they were located here. Hope they stay there.
- ‘Wherever God wants me’ – I saw many variations of this one. I suspect the users thought it sounded pious and humble, but to someone who doesn’t know you, it can also sound sanctimonious.
- ‘Wherever…’ – Even less specific than number 17, many people say they are located ‘Wherever words take me’; ‘Wherever I may go’; ‘Wherever I’m loved & respected’; ‘Wherever my mind takes me’; ‘Wherever there’s an opportunity’, etc. There was also, ‘Wherever there’s coffee’ (which at least gives me an idea of where to start looking for them…cappuccino anyone?).
- ‘On the next bestseller list’ – Ooh, bad choice. Ironically, when people read this, they are far LESS likely to buy your book (and hence, you are far less likely to become a bestseller) than if you just told them where you lived. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
- ‘On the road’ – Many people list their location as ‘on the road’, ‘roaming’, ‘on my way to the airport’. Presumably this is to make them sound like jet-setters, but it can also make them sound like drifters. Surely they must have a home base?
- ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ – Oh, puh-leez. Hardly cute or clever, there are thousands of would-be Dorothy’s on Twitter who say they come from here. Time to click the heels of your ruby slippers and remember ‘There’s no place like home’, mate.
- ‘The Tardis’ – Unless you’re Dr. Who, I don’t believe you.
- ‘Where the Vampires are’ – Obviously a Twilight fan. If not, this is just plain scary. I don’t want to meet someone who lives here.
- ‘Who Knows?’ – I was really surprised to see how many people answered the question this way. I mean, do you REALLY not know where you are? Look around you. You must be SOMEWHERE.
- ‘EMPTY’ – And finally, about 15% of the names I filtered through had NO location listed at all. Had I done a Tweet search rather than starting from a Twitter list, these accounts would probably not have appeared on my search at all. Not wanting to trawl through all of them to see if they were relevant to me, I removed them from my list of ‘maybes’ altogether. Poof!
Who Needs Labels? Aren’t We All One World?
You might wonder why specifying location is such an important part of your Twitter bio. After all, are we not all part of One World? Besides, isn’t the language setting enough for people to go by?
It’s true, we are all part of One World. I often call myself a ‘global citizen’. But in business reality, knowing the location of our customers, readers and followers is still important. Perhaps you are a local shop or business, serving a geographically defined community. Perhaps you do offer your products and services via post, phone, Skype or Internet, but you are unable (or you don’t want to) to offer them in all corners of the world. Or, perhaps what you offer isn’t relevant to people in some parts of the world. Even in Cyberspace, location is still relevant.
And as far as depending on the Twitter language setting goes, many accounts that list ‘English’ as their primary language do not Tweet in English (and I assume this is the case for many other languages). I think this may be because English is the default setting, and some people do not bother to change it, but I might be wrong about this.
Now, I’ve studied many languages but I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in any of them except my mother tongue of English. So, if I see a Tweet in French, Spanish, German, Italian (and sometimes Hindi) I can give it my best shot, but I have NO hope of understanding Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Turkish, Thai, or any other language I frequently see on Twitter.
We might idealistically like to think we are all One World, but on a practical level, if our Twitter stream is glutted with Tweets in languages we do not understand, it can start to feel like the Tower of Babel. Many of my new clients express frustration with Twitter for this very reason. Seeing streams of Tweets in languages they cannot understand, they cannot figure out how Twitter can help their business if they have no way to engage with their followers.
FACT: There are over half a billion people on Twitter. Trying to FIND the ‘right’ people on Twitter is just as important as BEING found by the ‘right’ people. Unless both the person doing the seeking and the person hoping to be found have a way to indentify themselves, they will never find each other in the sea of people on Twitter and other social networks.
For this reason, it is essential to take a few minutes to create a Twitter profile that makes it easy for people to find you. SAY WHERE YOU ARE LOCATED, for heaven’s sake! I am not the only Twitter-obsessed marketer out there who is filtering leads to ensure I am connecting with the ‘right’ audience for me and my business. Anyone serious on Twitter is doing the same.
In short, the bottom line is this:
If you are not being found on Twitter, it’s because you are not making yourself findable.
Give yourself the best shot by telling people where in the world you really are.
This is ‘grace-full’ marketing. Simply by telling people where you are, you are practising the ‘Grace of Directness’. By making yourself findable, you are practising the ‘Grace of Invitation’.
Taking This Further
Please note that all hyperlinks for Tweet Adder are my affiliate link and I do make a commission when people purchase the software via my link. I’ve used Tweet Adder for a number of years, and I talked a lot about its earlier version (3.0) in my book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically.
The new Tweet Adder 4.0 came out in May 2013, a few months after the book was published. Many of the methods and parameters I used above are features of the NEW version of Tweet Adder, which is significantly different from the version I spoke about in the book. I’ll be publishing an update to Tweep-e-licious later this summer, sharing tips on how to use the new version. If you’ve already bought the book, you’ll get this update via email if you’ve requested your Resource Pack. If you haven’t downloaded your Twitter Resource Pack, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.
If you haven’t bought the book Tweep-e-licious! I do invite you to check it out, even before this update is released. The book provides a wealth of information on constructing your bio, creating effective Twitter content, finding your ideal audience, utilising Twitter lists, building relationships, using hashtags, automation and much more. You can buy the book OR get a taster of its contents in my free 90-minute Twitter audio class at http://tweepelicious.com. Then, when you register for your Resource Pack, you’ll be on my list of people to receive the update, with a complete breakdown of the new Tweet Adder 4.0 features and how best to use them.
I hope you found this article to be useful (and perhaps a bit entertaining). I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.
~ Lynn Serafinn
25th June 2013
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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)