Simple advice for using Twitter to build your reputation and make connections

Smple advice

This is an extended version of a list that first appeared as part of another post about tweeting (Why on earth make your twitter feed private?). I felt it was a bit lost there so deserved its own post.

  1. Don’t make your account private.
  2. Don’t have an egg as your profile image.
  3. Use an appealing clear profile image that is still recognisable when very small, preferably your face.
  4. Add an attractive header image, and check it works on desktop and mob versions of Twitter. (See “How to design a header image for Twitter that looks good on all devices” for dimensions. If you are an artist/crafter use a piece of your own work that’s representative of your style)
  5. Include your web/blog address in your profile in the space for web address, but also include a link in the description to somewhere for more info about you (eg gravatar or or similar service) as only the description shows when anyone is looking at lists of followers.
  6. Put your country in the location field and also in the description field so people who are looking for someone in their country can find you. I also advise that you put your nearest city or region.
  7. Put what you do in your profile description – this is a little advertising space of 160 characters, make the most of it.
  8. Don’t put stupid “I don’t know what to put here” or “I’m an airhead” or “I’m so mysterious” type comments in your profile.
  9. Tweet regularly, at intervals, but don’t spam your every breath.
  10. Don’t tweet more than two messages immediately after each other.
  11. Don’t tweet about things that there is even one person in the world that you don’t want to know.
  12. Don’t be boring.
  13. If you are an artist or a maker, tweet images regularly of your own work.
  14. Include your website or name on any images that you tweet.
  15. Follow, follow, follow – think about people who might like your work. Who might they be following already? (For artists: galleries or artists working in the same medium as you with a similar style or art magazines/websites?) Look at their list of followers and follow people who look likely from their descriptions.
  16. Interact with people, don’t  just broadcast – ie respond to things you read: favourite, retweet, reply and occasionally send @messages to people who may have shared interests.
  17. Don’t believe you are best mates with people just because you have had a few tweets back and forth.
  18. Include links to pages for more information than you can include in 140 characters and to generate traffic to your website/blog.
  19. Learn about hashtags and how to use them effectively (See: “10 Hashtag Rules for Self Marketing (Small Businesses, Sole Traders and Bloggers)”).
  20. Remember that you don’t actually have to follow people back if you don’t want to and people you follow don’t have to follow you back, so you need to make it that they want to by the content you have on your timeline and the description you have on your profile.
  21. Always be generous, courteous and polite.
  22. Don’t bother sending direct (private) messages. They are a pointless activity IMO. If you need to enter into private correspondence with someone, find another channel where you can have a proper conversation.
  23. Be very cautious of direct messages you receive, particularly those that say things like “hey someone’s talking about you” even if from someone you know well – these are typical hacker messages.
  24. Don’t put in your twitter logon details if you have clicked on a link in a direct message or @ message and it says you need to log on to see the thing – these are typical hacker tactics.
  25. Find out about scheduling messages to reach people at different times of day using an app. Use it wisely with other methods not on its own.

PS [In answer to a question]

You don’t have to read every tweet that someone you follow sends and equally your followers will only read a small proportion, if anything, of what you send (which is why you need to make it stand out and images are a good way of doing that). Twitter is a stream of information, which as a consumer you dip into when it suits you for the time you have available. The trick is to skim read and learn ways to select what you see, using lists and search terms. If you find you are too swamped and cannot see the wood for the trees, have a look at apps such as tweetdeck or hootsuite, which help to manage the flow of information. I will try to write about that aspect in more detail another time.



How to remove birthdays of Google+ circles and contacts from your Google calendar

I’ve noticed birthdays appearing on my Google calendar of people I don’t know. Where have they come from? Google+ circles it would appear. I won’t go into why on earth Google thinks I might want this, I just want to know how to turn it off.

I tried to find out how to do this by googling and the answers were not clear, so I am writing how I did it on the off chance that other people want to do this.

In Google Calendar desktop version, click on the cog near the top right corner and select settings from the drop down list.




Then select the Calendars tab (link) on the left immediately below the title Calendar Settings.


In the list you should see one that says:

Birthdays ‘Displays birthdays of people in Google Contacts and optionally “Your Circles” from Google+. Also displays anniversary and other event dates from Google Contacts, if applicable.’

You can uncheck the ‘show in list’ option to remove all birthdays taken from Google+.

If you want to see the birthdays of your contacts rather than all your circles, click on the link to the birthdays details. There is then an option to show birthdays from Google+ circles and contacts or Contacts only (see image). Once you have changed it, remember to save.


PS Google, I’d like an option to make sure that my birthday doesn’t pop up in other random people’s calendars. I don’t recall agreeing to that!

Is AppleByte a scam, a great idea or a damp squib?

Today I saw I’d had a notification on Twitter that I’d been sent some AppleBytes: “Your #artwork is so beautiful! I am sending you 350 #AppleBytes @ArtistGift @AppleByteMe


At first I just ignored it thinking it was some obscure marketing that didn’t make any sense to me, but then I came back and thought I would check it a little more. It’s an exercise to see how you decide if something has merit or not, and is legitimate or not. I think you need to check where else it is referenced and who is talking/blogging about it. This is what I have learnt.

AppleByte went live May 1, 2014, and claims that since then has grown by word of mouth to a user community in the tens of thousands, 35,000+ on social media alone.

In Phase I the AppleByte Foundation raised $50,000+ to fund the development and server infrastructure for the digital currency, AppleByte. That work was completed in 2014. However, the phase 2 funding on indiegogo only received 4% of the $50,000 goal it had set when the campaign ended on 8 April 2015.

How does it work?

This is directly quoting from their website:
“AppleByte is a person to person digital currency. With applebytes, art lovers can now support their favorite artists directly. When a fan sees an artist’s work they appreciate, instead of just liking or faving them, fans can give them AppleBytes (which can then be converted to cash, used at restaurants, concerts, movies, theaters, etc).

Just like at your bank, your account balance and transactions are stored on a server. But, as a digital currency, AppleByte’s account data resides on a peer-to-peer (computer-to-computer) network that consists of all the computers logged into the network. These computer “nodes” are paid with AppleBytes for contributing their computer power to the network. This process is called mining.”

That seems to be a too oversimplified description of the mining process. A more expansive explanation relating to Bitcoins is given on

Digitial Currency and LETS

I got side tracked in my investigation, travelling down a route I have gone before about Bitcoins and LETS. At first it seemed to me that AppleByte is a form of LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) on a global level. But actually it is an alternate cryptocurrency. I’ve heard of Bitcoins, but I didn’t realise there are so many other cryptocurrencies. A list of altcoins is available on this site:

I’ve so far found Bitcoins hard to get my head around.  Bitcoins are like electronic cash. The video below sort of explains them, but there is this ‘mining’ issue.

I learnt a lot from the following video. But if you are tempted to watch it, I have to give that a warning that the presenter is American and talks very fast and loud. If you look at the video on Youtube rather than the embedded version, there are a lot of useful notes and links in the description.

This is where I learnt that there are thousands of cryptocurrencies and there’s a lot of garbage. The big issue is how stable a cryptocurrency is. Bitcoin is the most stable, but it’s exchange rate with national currency fluctuates a lot.

Bitcoins are not controlled by any banks. Computers across the world act as nodes. The nodes hold a ledger which holds the records of all of the transactions that have taken place with the Bitcoins. Anyone can have a node. The ledger is about 25GB at the moment. You need the right equipment and a big bandwidth to operate a node. In the video the kind of equipment needed to mine and how to do it is explained. But also words of caution about weighing up the cost of equipment, electricity and data bandwidth against the likely payback. Also the computing involved generates a lot of heat and the equipment can be noisy, so you need to take that into account in where to locate it. (On the AppleByte site it mentions using a laptop and to be aware of reduced processing speed and the heating up issue).

As well as mining these currencies you can get them by exchanging standard currencies or by being paid them. For Bitcoins, you need a Bitcoin wallet, which you can create using an online service or software on your own computer. You get a hash number, a private key and a public key. Other people need the public key to pay bitcoins into your wallet. You need the private key to make payments or to exchange Bitcoins to conventional currency. How you keep your private key safe either from theft or loss is very important as without it you cannot access your wallet. For that reason, an online service that manages it for you with a logon and password account makes some sense. For example through

Back to the original question

Is AppleByte a scam, a great idea or a damp squib? All of this has been a deviation, but I hope puts the AppleByte into context. AppleByte is not a scam, it is an alternative cryptocurrency to Bitcoin. It is less well known, and not listed on altcoins. It will be less stable and more risky to be involved in than Bitcoin. If someone sends you some AppleBytes, you need to weigh up the risks of registering an account. My gut feeling is it will ultimately fail, which means if you put national currency in you may not be able to get it out again. I am basing that on both the lack of funds raised in the second phase of the indiegogo project and the lack of evidence of take up on Twitter. It is, for now, an interesting experiment for supporting the arts. One to keep an eye on.

The Free Stuff Code: guidelines for using things you get for free online

There’s loads of stuff online that you can use for free. Images, music, software, apps, plug-ins, games, it goes on and on. There are reasons people give stuff away for free and these reasons vary from person to person, organisation to organisation. If you want to use anything this isn’t your own copyright on your blog or share it elsewhere, it is your duty and responsibility to be aware of copyright and if it is OK to use.

I thought I would do a quick checklist to remember when using free stuff from the web.

Image with words of the Free Stuff Code

This image was made from free stuff from

1 Check

Make sure that what you want to use really is available for free. Look for the license and make sure you understand what it actually means. If you see something that has no credits to it and you can’t trace back where it has come from, chances are the person has not shared it correctly and is breaking someone’s copyright – so find something else.

2 Credit

Acknowledge whose work it is. They are giving it you for free to build their reputation, that is the expected fee. For best practice on how to credit work that is licensed by Creative Commons, see, which in summary says, “A good rule of thumb is to use the acronym TASL, which stands for Title, Author, Source, License.”

3 Link

Include a link back to the original source of the item either in a caption or credits somewhere on the post.

4 Thank

Most places that people share stuff have some way for you to comment. Thank them for sharing it. Tell them where and how you have used it. It’s good manners and it may also get you a new subscriber or friend.

5 Review

If there is the option to review (as is often the case with apps, plugins and software), do! Be honest, but also acknowledge that you have had this for free and reviewing is part of the pay back. There is no need to troll even if it wasn’t great. If something wasn’t good, suggest how it could be better constructively. Also give stars, hearts, likes as it all helps with that person’s online ranking.

6 Recommend

If you like stuff, recommend it to your friends, your readers, your public. Share it on your social media.

7 Support

If you use something all the time that you have had for free  (eg a piece of software or an app), or you consistently get things from one source, check if they have a way to donate to them and consider doing so. People need to make a living and if your source of free stuff can’t make a living, then the stuff will dry up. You may be able to support by subscribing to their service, upgrading to the premium version or buying another of their products. If you don’t have the means to support financially, subscribing (eg YouTube channel), following (eg Twitter, wordpress), liking (eg Facebook page) are all ways of supporting the person to build their reputation online and get more business.

8 Give back

It’s an online community. If you take stuff out, then you should put stuff back too, that’s how a community works, how it thrives. So if you use other people’s stuff for free, put some of yours out there for others to use for free too. It’s paying it forward.


All of the above applies to free advice, eg if you learn how to do something from a YouTube video or from an answered question in a forum.

Happy Women’s Day, Mum!

iwd_squareAll around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for the global hub, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.

I would like to celebrate the achievements of my mum, Kath Fry, who always celebrated women’s day by sending cards to her female friends and relatives. She sadly died in May 2011.

Born in 1943, Kath Fry moved to Manchester as a young single parent of two in 1973. She joined the Labour party a few years later.  In her working life she was a careers officer and a maths teacher, working first in secondary schools and then in adult education. She was also Secretary (and minutes secretary) of Manchester City Labour Party from 1984 to 1988. As a Manchester city councillor from 1988 to 2004, she held positions of chair of Personnel sub-committee (1989), chair of Education committee (1991-95) and deputy of Children’s Service committee (1986/87). She was a tireless political and social campaigner who sought to improve the life chances of the people of Manchester.

More info here: Obituary in Mancunian Matters and Kath’s Book Blog

Ways for artists to use Twitter lists

Twitter lists are a useful tool for artists to make the most of Twitter for developing your reputation and fan base. If you are not already using them, or are but are not sure how to make the most of them, there are some suggestions below. But first some key facts about Twitter lists.

Image how to get to your Twitter lists

Facts about Twitter lists

  1. You can have up to 1000 lists
  2. You can have up to 5000 users per list (but if you do that you are defeating the objective of the list)
  3. They can be public or private
  4. If you add someone to a public list they will be notified (this can be used to advantage)
  5. If you add someone to a private list they won’t know – you can use private lists for strategic purposes that you don’t want people to know about.
  6. You can subscribe to other people’s public lists and they will show in your list of lists
  7. Other people can subscribe to your public lists
  8. You can use other people’s lists as a source for following people
  9. You can have a list as a feed column in an app such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
  10. You don’t have to be following an account to add it to a list
  11. Lists are used for reading Tweets only. You cannot send or direct a Tweet to members of a list, for only those list members to see.
  12. You can mention a list @[username]/[list-name] (example: @dentonpotter11/mosaic-artists) This doesn’t work.
  13. List names cannot exceed 25 characters, nor can they begin with a number
  14. You can create a new list from the ‘add or remove from lists’ option
  15. To see lists that you are on, on your Lists page (desktop version), click on ‘Member of’.
  16. You can create a widget for your website or blog for all tweets from members of a twitter list (Settings > widgets > create new. Choose timeline source from user timeline, favourites, list, search, collection. If you have a blog you just need to create the widget and then insert the ID number into the provided Twitter widget – see instructions for more info.)
Alternative way to get to your lists

Alternative way to get to your lists

Lists that I find useful

I am assuming that you have some understanding that building your following on Twitter is a good idea. I think you want to be aiming to have at least 2-3000 as a minimum, but part of using Twitter as a promotional tool should be about steadily growing your following. For some tips how to do this see an earlier post on this blog. Below are some lists that I am using both on my own Twitter account and those that I manage for other people. The point of this activity is getting to know your followers and selectively filtering those who you can actively interact with. Keeping a record of people who really are appreciating your messages, rather than just skimming over them or ignoring them altogether, allows you to target what you are doing towards those key followers.

Favouriters – private. Every time I get a notification that someone has favourited one of my posts I add them to this list. You could make a distinction between favouriting generally or just favouriting posts that have examples of your work. However, be aware that people sometimes use favouriting simply to acknowledge they have seen something. Think of it as these are people who like your stuff so could be turned into buyers of your stuff, at the very least promoters of it. So it is useful to keep a list of them. Personalised messages to people on this list are likely to be retweeted.

Retweeters – private. As with favouriters, if someone retweets one of my messages, I add them to the list. Optionally you can have separate lists for people retweeting things that you have retweeted from other people and retweeting your own work.

Interacters – private. People who have made enquiries or commented on your work by sending @messages – as with favouriters but more so, they are engaged with you and you should nurture this relationship, keeping a list of them is a tool for that nurturing.

Multiple retweets/favs – private. This is a very important list. You could say these are your actual fans and you could turn them into people who interact regularly with you. Perhaps make some distinction between people who are massive habitual retweeters (some bots do this, some people act like bots) and those who seem to be genuinely retweeting because they like your work. If you find you are clicking the list option and they are already on the retweet or favourite list, then this is when you add them to the multiple retweets/favs list. After a while you will recognise your super fans and won’t need to check them.

Real life – private. People you have actually met. To allow you to be more personal and respond to things they tweet. Adding people you know in real life to a list allows you to filter to easily see what they have been posting about.

Buyers/Clients/Collectors – private. People who have bought your art in the past. Worth sending personalised @messages to them when you have new work or exhibitions. How do you know their Twitter handles? Ask them if they are on twitter and what their handle is when they buy from you. Ask them via email if you have that? It may be a small list to start with, but this is about building up a useful marketing tool. Having your buyers on a list allows you to get to know what kind of things they are tweeting about and how to communicate well with them.

Follow followers – private list. Influencers/gurus/people who have a lot of followers who are likely to be also interested in things that you do. You might add other artists to this list who do work similar in style or medium to your own, even if they don’t have a lot of followers, just because their ‘genuine’ followers may also like your stuff. Then when you are having a session of building up your followers you can go to this list and pick a member of it, look at their followers and pick out any to follow yourself with the view that they may follow you back.

How to add people to a list

How to add people to a list

Here are some other lists that may be useful for you. You can add people to these lists during sessions where you are looking at the followers of other people with the aim of attracting them to be your followers too, or by doing searches on particular topics.

Artists – could sub categorise this into similar type of art to yourself, artist you like or are influenced by.

Galleries – could sub categorise into those that might show your work and those that might have followers who could be interested in being your followers

Art magazines – may promote your work to their followers and may have interesting tweets to retweet to your followers.

Local press – may promote your work and any events/shows/exhibitions/courses you are involved in.

National press – less chance of promoting things but may be a source of retweets.

Influencers or some other title – for accounts that have things to say that you want to follow, but who are unlikely to follow you back (followers hugely exceeds following). Why? Because if you use the technique of following people in order for them to follow you back, eventually you will hit a Twitter limit where you wont be allowed to follow any more until you have got your followers number closer to your following number. So you will need to use a service, such as manageflitter or justunfollow, to unfollow those that are not following you back, and in that process you can easily lose this category of people. By having them in a list, you can chose to re-follow them or you can just watch the list without adding them to your following numbers.

Another way of adding or removing people from a list

Another way of adding or removing people from a list

General recommendation how to work

I believe that using Twitter on a laptop not on a phone is easier for strategic use of it as a marketing tool. Using on a phone is useful for when on the move, but has restrictions and is cumbersome for large scale tasks.

If someone favourites or retweets your work you should receive a notification. Click on their name or profile image and, if you are not already following them, do so (which will encourage them to move from being a favouriter to a follower). Then click on the cog icon, then choose from the menu ‘add or remove from lists‘ and click the tick box to add them to your favouriters and/or retweeters list. If they are already on those lists then they are a multiple retweeter/favouriter and need adding to that list. After a while if someone is regularly favouriting and retweeting your work then you will start to recognise them and won’t need to check. Then you can engage them more by sending them personalised messages with an image by way of thanks and encouragement. Or even have a conversation with them.

I have written this guidance in a very clipped form. If you have any questions or want any of the points expanded upon, please leave a comment and I will try to help.

Other reading about Twitter Lists

Here are some other posts about using Twitter lists, which I will add to if I find others that are useful. Although, I wrote this post because I couldn’t find anything that really gave tactics specifically for artists using Twitter.

Info on using Twitter lists from Twitter here:

How to Use Twitter Lists to Follow Thousands (and Appear Superhuman)

How to add yourself to your own Twitter lists

Twitter Lists are the New “Follow”

PS Twitter Analytics

Did you know you can see analytics on the performance of your tweets by going to and being logged on to your Twitter account?  When you first sign up there will be no data. You will need to return later to see the performance of your tweets. Once you have done this the first time you may get a menu item of Analytics or Twitter Ads showing in your list of options from your profile button on the right of your desktop or you may be pushed down the route of signing up for a Twitter Ads account. Things are changing all the time in this aspect. Don’t sign up for anything that you don’t want to and certainly don’t put in your credit card details unless you are thinking of paying for Twitter advertising. You may find bookmarking is a better way to get back to just view your data, rather than having to go into a Twitter Ads account.

PPS Email notifications

If you are doing a lot of activity on Twitter, you may find you receive too many email notifications. You can turn these off in your settings, email notifications ( I have them all turned off. But you may want to be selective and still for example have news updates from Twitter.

Hashtag hours on Twitter


Following on from my previous post about Twitter hashtags, this post is specifically about hashtag hours. Hashtag hours are times on Twitter when people use and follow a specific hashtag to make connections with each other and retweet each others posts. It’s a way to expand your network and to be mutually supportive of businesses. They are often local area based or on a specific theme.

Below is a list of these twitter hours that attracted me based on my interests and clients that I work with. All listed UK time. If you’re going to participate in these then check out the rules and aims first, perhaps watch what goes on and then tag away. To get the most out of it I suggest that you see it as an online networking event, setting aside that time slot and focus on retweeting and reacting, as well as promoting your own activies.

#CraftHour @craft_hour Sundays 7-8pm

#gigglethings  @GetGiggling Mondays 8-9pm British designed and handmade items

#indiehour @TheIndieHour_ (don’t miss the underscore)Tuesdays 7-8pm Independent Businesses

#charityhour @charityhouruk Wednesdays 8-9pm for charities and supporters UK wide

#BizGrowthHour @bizgrowthhour Mon, Wed, Fri 3pm, 8pm Promote & grow your business (too frequent to keep track of IMO)

#guildfordhour  @guildfordhour Tuesdays 8-9pm (Good advice on how to use the hour).

#northantshour @northantshour Thursdays 8-9pm @Northantshouruk

#lancashirehour @lancashirehour Thursdays 8-9

#northwesthour @northwesthour Mon 3-4pm, Wed 8-9pm & Fri 9-10pm (too frequent to keep track of IMO)

#bizhour @bizhour weekdays 2-3pm UK businesses (too frequent)

#englandhour @englandhour Sundays 9-10pm

#ManchesterHour  @manchesterhour Wednesdays 2-3pm Fridays 11am to noon

#Londonhour @londonhour Mondays 7.30-8.30pm No other info I could find.

Other hours to look at:

  • #LeedsHour
  • #HuddersfieldHour
  • #WakefieldHour
  • #SheffieldHour
  • #BradfordHour
  • #LiverpoolHour
  • #Bridehour

Other hashtags of interest (not time specific)

#twitterartexhibit @twitrartexhibit Utilizes social media and public engagement to generate income for charities and nonprofit organizations. Artists donate postcard sized art which are then for sale via the website.

#BigArtBoost @BigArtBoost  @aplace4creation

Hashtag hour leader board(???)

Worth a look

Google Calendar

I’ve embedded a calendar below with some of the hashtag hours I’m interested in. If you have Google Calendar yourself you should be able to save to your own as a reminder (click on an entry then on the ‘copy to my calendar’ link in the bottom of the box that should appear – desktop not mob).

Slide beach how to go from 0 to 80000 engaged twitter followers

How to go from 0 to 80,000 engaged Twitter followers

I attended a webinar yesterday (3 July). It was free. I was sent notification of it from two different emailing lists that I subscribe to, one from Lilach Bullock, who was one of the two speakers and the other from Hubspot, who were hosting it. Normally I ignore such things, but I’m on a drive to keep my skills fresh and so I thought it was worth a look. Some stuff I knew, some was new, and it got me thinking as well, which is always a good thing.

The are slides and video are here, if you want to take a look.

Did I learn how to reach 80,000 engaged Twitter followers? Well not really. This is an example of an attention grabbing title that’s not quite accurate. Lilach Bullock has lots of useful tips and does have 82.9k followers, but it has taken a long time and a lot of effort for her and her team to get to that point, and she’s considered to be a social media guru. For small businesses that aren’t in the social media business, the message, I feel, is that 80,000 is an unrealistic target, but what you can learn is how to use Twitter to engage with a number of people that’s appropriate for the scale of your business.

For me the biggest message was early in the presentation:

  1. Set realistic expectations; it takes time and effort
  2. Vital to have sticky and engaging website – ensure pages have easy one-click sharing buttons
  3. Ensure you have tracking and analytics in place

There were some tools that I am going to try out and also as a result of attending the webinar I get $50 of free advertising on Twitter, so I’m thinking about what experiments to do with that. I also learnt from the second speaker, Brian Lavery from Twitter, more about how Twitter advertising works, and the segmentation is particularly interesting for small local businesses.

I picked up some jargon terms that I can figure out, but don’t necessarily use and I thought a social media (marketing) glossary of terms would be good. I found one on Hubspot but it is missing things so I wonder if that is a project for someone? For example they referred to “Twitter handle”. I like that but haven’t heard it before, comes from CB radio talk, I’m guessing. @dentonpotter11 is my Twitter handle, although now I am thinking (as a result of the webinar) whether to set up a new Twitter account with a shorter handle, because then if people retweet messages my handle will take up less of the precious 140 characters.

A/B testing tweets was another thing mentioned. This is also known as split testing. In simple terms try two options of something and see which works best then scale up. Obviously in reality what two things you try and how you scale up is much more complicated. The message for me is that you have to be constantly experimenting, and learning from your experiments. That applies whatever size you are, and if you are experimenting you need to do things properly and have data to be able to measure what the difference was between option A and option B.

A tool I know an use already that was mentioned was Manageflitter. I use the free version frequently to clean up people that I have been following who haven’t been following me back. I haven’t tried the paid option.

A tool I haven’t used before that I am now trying is My verdict so far is interesting and lots of potential, but not sure it will work for me.

If you are feeling disappointed by the title of this post and that I haven’t delivered, perhaps you would be more interested in my very real example of how I grew my twitter following from 300 to 2000 in 6 weeks.


How my Twitter following grew from 300 to 2000 in 6 weeks

Twitter header image showing reaching 2000 followers

I’m pretty pleased with myself today as I have exceeded a goal I set myself and early too. Today I hit 2,000 followers on Twitter. Now numbers are not everything, but they are something. I haven’t really bothered using my Twitter account for marketing myself before. I’ve tended to just use it to keep an eye on things and not worry too much about followers, but since I am in the business of advising others on how to raise their profile, I thought I’d better put some of my own advice into practice. So I set myself a goal in the middle of May to increase my Twitter following from around 300, where it had been hovering for a long time, to 1,500 by the end of June.

Graph of twitter followers

Why did I do it?

Because I wanted to see if techniques I have read about work, to see if I could, to see how much hard work it is, to give me greater credibility in my business, and to find potential clients for future work.

How did I do it?

My target was to get followers who are artists or writers, not just any old followers. They can be anywhere in the world, which does make it easier than being in a specific location. Preferably they are English speaking. My strategy involved a mix of regular content, following to be followed, and interacting as much as possible. In particular:

  1. Posting lots of images that would appeal to artists – my own work and other people’s
  2. Posting tips in image form that demonstrated what I am offering as a service
  3. Finding artists and writers and following them – finding them by looking at the followers of other artists and writers that I found, and galleries and magazines.
  4. Retweeting images from others
  5. Thanking people for following, and for retweeting my images
  6. Favouriting art that I liked
  7. Following back any people who found me without me following them first who are writers or artists (to keep them with me)

When you follow lots of people eventually you hit a limit on Twitter where you aren’t allowed to follow any more (2,000).  At that point I cleared out people who weren’t following me back using sorting the unfollowers into the order of who I had been following the longest.

I haven’t fully analysed my followers yet, and that is one of the reasons for stopping at 2,000 for the time being so I can, but of the most recently recruits 28 are what I consider to be dodgy, nothing to do with who I am trying to target and not even sure what these people are about other than trying to look like porn stars on the pull (fake accounts?). So really I haven’t reached 2,000 useful followers quite yet, but it’s pretty close.

It can be quite mind blowing looking at long lists of followers and scanning to see if they fit your criteria or not and clicking follow. But I feel doing things like this manually rather than having some kind of automation means you do think about what you are looking for and you learn lots of things about how other people present themselves. One thing I discovered too is if you look closely at someone’s list of followers you can tell who has paid for fake ones. After a while you start to get a good sense of what are real people descriptions and what are mass produced manufactured individuals (description sounds like some random phrase or saying, look at their profile and they have hardly any tweets or the tweets they have make little sense, follow lots but very few followers themselves).

There are other things I observed but I will save that for another day.

If you are reading this and are an artist or writer and want tips on how to use social media to effectively promote yourself, then please follow me.

Sorbet theme for WordPress, a sweet theme with a little stickiness

I am drawn to the uncluttered style (sweetness) of WordPress Sorbet theme, but can see that maybe users will find difficulty in navigating round it (stickiness), since there isn’t an obvious side bar or menu. So I am collecting examples of it in use to see how adaptable it is and how creatively it’s being used. If you find any others, please let me know in the comments. To see the menu items users have to click on the button with the horizontal lines (becoming a familiar icon?), to see any widgets click on the cog (to me that would say settings not widgets and kind of loses the point of widgets as attention grabbing items), for links to other social media places click on the heart (hmm, not sure about this) and for search the magnifying glass (I think most people would figure that out).

Free version examples

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Customised version examples

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More information

The information for users is here and here

I particularly like how The Design Bender site has overcome the issue of hidden menu by having a static home page and using image links to the menu items.

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