4 Things not to include in your Twitter bio

Whenever I get an alert of a new twitter follower, I always take the time to read their bio. And, depending on what I read, I may click through to read their recent tweets. If their tweets seem interesting at that point I may decide to follow. But, not always. Just because people are interested in what I’ve got to say doesn’t mean I’m interested in what they’ve got to say. Right? It’s worth pointing out as not everyone gets that.

So, with all the bios that I read, I continue to be amazed at what people choose to say in the 160 characters that Twitter have given us.

Now, before I start, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m assuming that people want followers. Not in a ruthless silly numbers kind of way, more an organic gathering of loyal engaged followers. After all, why would you spend time tweeting if it’s just to yourself?

So, back to the bio. You’ve got 160 characters to make an impact and let other people know WHY they should follow you. For me this means that every word and comma needs to earn its space in your bio and add something. Just like with a CV. There’s no room for flouncy indulgence here!

The key thing is to ensure that your bio helps to communicate who you are. So this might be things like what you do to earn money, what you like doing when you’re not, what you’re aiming for, great stuff you’ve done, how you help people. You get the drift. It’s also worth conjuring up a bio that helps you to stand out so that people will remember you. People who stand out are more likely to be followed back. Blandness does not tend to draw people in.

Now, you probably want to read a post that tells you how to create the perfect bio, but I’m not going to do that because we’re all different and formulas don’t work with individuals. So, instead I’m going to tell you what to avoid.

Your family status

I’m talking about words like husband, father, mum, dad of 4, husband to lovely wife. Seriously. We’re not interested. We all know people like that. So what? How does that make you interesting? What unique perspective does that give you on the world? When you introduce yourself to people you don’t know, is the first thing you say “Hey, I’m a great wife to my gorgeous hubby, and a loving mum to my 4 boys… and you?”.

Where you live

For a start, Twitter gives you a dedicated spot to tell us just that. So to reiterate the fact that you are “based in Solihull, West Midlands, UK” is just being silly and shows that you’re just not paying attention. That’s 36 characters that you could have used to tell me more about you.

Social media enthusiast

What the hell does this mean? It’s a bit like saying you like socialising and talking to people. Social media is just another way of communicating. The fact that you’re on twitter kind of suggests that you might be into social media. But beware - if you only have a handful of followers you can’t really be that much of an enthusiast. Or maybe you’re just late to the party, and now you’re here you think it’s fab. If this is you, be careful. There’ll be another fad waiting for you just around the corner that you’ll get really enthusiastic about too and then you’ll talk about that. Put your stick in the ground!

Proper long and windy sentences

“I am a husband and father to three gorgeous girls who really likes to go for long walks and drink fine wine. I am also a social media enthusiast and entrepreneur.” Jeez! It’s OK. You’ve only got 160 characters, so we’ll forgive you if you want to be a bit more punchy and concise.

Now, this list is just for starters. I’m sure there are many more! But, I just had to get these ones out of my system. If you want to add any to my list, go right ahead!

If you want help working out what makes YOU unique and different, then get in touch. That’s what I do! I help people to find their story and tell it with confidence.

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Is a digital coach worth paying for?

A bit of a debate has kicked off on Quora prompted by the question “How much should a digital coach be paid to help develop and implement a social networking strategy?” Answers  varied from “impossible to answer” to “zip, nada, squat”. As I read through the difference in opinion it became obvious to me that the root cause of the disagreement is the fact that the term Digital Coach is not really understood. Or at least, there isn’t a definition that we can all agree on.

So, what do we mean by a digital coach? For a start, a coach, digital or otherwise, is not a consultant. To be clear, a consultant is someone who advises someone else directly using knowledge transfer. Coaching purists would say that a coach NEVER gives advice. Rather they help the client to find the right solution for them based on insightful and probing questions. The benefit of sector experience for a coach means that they know WHAT questions to ask. But they don’t do the DOING bit. Nor do they advise.

Digital coach is a recent term that I think applies more to assisting individuals than to business teams. Sure, the individual may own a business, but the business requirements themselves are met by social media/digital consultants. In the current climate where more and more of our lives are conducted online and through social networks, understanding the landscape is critical for one’s success in whatever endeavour we may be pursuing. However, for many people this landscape is foreign and very scary. Believe it or not there are people out there who have only just got onto facebook, they haven’t heard of Linked In and think that Twitter is something to do with Stephen Fry. For these people, learning to go digital is something that they need support with. They need someone to hold their hand and help them to make the right decisions (not TELL them). And it is for these people that digital coaches will be useful. These people will need to get their head around what they want to be saying about themselves in the digital space, how they present themselves and what networks they should be a part of. And then, the big bit - get comfortable using it all and adopting the digital/social mindset. All this is why coaching is a critical part of the process. Nobody else can tell you what you should be saying about yourself, or indeed what’s right you, other than you. Hence a coaching approach is more appropriate than a consultative one.

So, back to the question! If you can find someone who uses a coaching-led approach with a blend of gentle guidance and credible knowledge of the digital landscape with an ability to help you get started, then surely that is worth paying for. Especially for someone who hasn’t set foot online properly.

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Why is personal branding suddenly all the rage?

I’ve kicked off the year with the first of my Video Q&A’s. I’d like to try and find a better name for them but for now, Q&A’s will do because basically that’s what they are. You ask me a question and I answer on video for you. So, if you have any questions on Personal Branding that you would like me to answer, then just get in touch!

The first question I’m going to answer is one that I get a lot at my workshops “Why is Personal Branding all the rage?”. Here’s my answer:

Let me know what you think! And remember to let me have your questions!

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Is personal branding a fad?

This question “Is personal branding a fad?” came up on Quora recently so I thought I’d give my view which I’m happy to share here.

The term personal branding may be relatively new, but the concept has been around much longer. There is some misconception that personal branding is all about the hard sell and this is where the term gets a bad name (Obnoxious?). The reality is that we’re ALWAYS selling ourselves. Selling in this sense means trying to influence others to buy us / believe us / like us / hire us etc.

What’s changed is the environment in which we’re now able to do that. And it’s this that is forcing us to be much clearer as to how we choose to define ourselves. Before, it was adequate to merely be mindful as to how we presented ourselves in the flesh. This kept it pretty simple, as long as we dressed and spoke consistently in line with our image of ourselves and what we wanted to project, that was fine. But now we can present ourselves online in endless ways - blogs, personal sites, YouTube etc. And it is because of the extensive possibilities of online presences that we need to think a bit harder about what we want to say about ourselves. We cannot escape the harsh reality of earning cash. Nor can we escape the fact that we are all naturally nosey. So, if we are presented with the opportunity of possibly working with someone (hiring them, buying their stuff etc), we are going to seek out information about them. Just as we would before purchasing a product. Hence the need to be clear as to what you want to say about yourself and to present that consistently. We know from the world of corporate brands that to be bought you need to build trust, and this is done through communicating a consistent message and delivering upon a promise consistently. So it’s no surprise that people are now adopting these practices. Let’s not forget the fact that the world is more competitive in terms of jobs, and those that have grasped this are those that are getting the work. So, it will soon be a neccessity for the majority if they want to keep up.

So, to answer the question, no it’s not fad. At least the concept isn’t. It’s here to stay.

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