The Twitter rule of thirds

I’m not a huge fan of saying there are “rules” in using social media, but “guideline of thirds” sounds a bit silly. We encourage the Twitter rule of thirds because it’s easy to remember - we’re all about keepin’ it simple.

Here’s the thing: there are three important things you will want to do if you want to grow a community through Twitter. These three things are listed in the priority order but 3 (promote) should never be more than a third of your total tweets. 

1) Talk to people.

Social is the most important word in “social media”. Be personable. Do a little networking. Jump in to conversations. Every one of these suggestions is the right way to use Twitter - even if it goes against the IRL (in real life) manners that are ingrained in you. Don’t let that stop you from getting the most you can out of using Twitter. You can have five different conversations going on at once if you want. You can answer right away or two days later. Conversation on Twitter is more flexible than conversation you’ll find in any other forum.

2) Share other people’s content.

You are one of millions and millions of really smart people using Twitter to share really smart content. I bet your audience will find value in things that aren’t written by you - the same way you find it valuable. So, why not share it? It can even be content from a competitor. Or, rather, someone else who has a similar business. We share valuable content from other consultants all the time.

3) Promote your own content.

You’re working hard to build great content that’s useful to others, so promoting it is the best way for you to help the right people find it. Don’t be shy about sharing your original content. You just don’t want that to be the only thing you do.

The Twitter rule of thirds will help you stay cognizant of how much you’re networking, sharing and promoting and that you’re using Twitter to its full potential - to build relationships.

What personal guidelines do you have for using Twitter?

Writing bios that connect

When was the last time you hired someone based solely on their credentials?  

There is so much more involved in choosing someone to help you with just about any service. The primary factor - how your personalities work together. 

Tell them a story

Your bio can tell someone much more about you than where you went to school and what you’ve accomplished in your career.  You can tell them who you are, how you got to where you are and why you do what you do. Tell them the story of you.

Share what you’re comfortable sharing

People start to get nervous when I ask them to open up online. Don’t feel that just because I’m suggesting you share more personal information that you have to share things you don’t feel comfortable with.  You can share a lot in very simple information, but once you step away from being formal people feel you’ve let them have a glimpse of the real you.  It’s mostly just about letting your voice shine through in what you’re saying.

Let’s talk about me

I thought it was time to follow my own advice, so I’ve recently updated my bio.

Here is my short and more traditional bio:

Lara has spent over ten years working in online, web and social media communications. She has worked in various roles that include creating corporate web content at the University of Ottawa, successfully launching an online clothing store called Apples’n’Oranges.

Lara has helped numerous companies with their social media endeavours through a variety of workshops, one-on-one coaching and the creation of social media strategies.

It tells you what I’ve done but it doesn’t convey any of my personality.  I want you to read about me and get a sense of who I am. I want you to feel like I’m friendly and easy to talk to. I also want you to think I know what I’m doing, and that I love what I’m doing. Here is how I tried to convey all of that:

I first logged in to a social web site and had an online interaction as a twelve year old in the late eighties. It wasn’t called social media then, but I loved it just as much then as I do now, and I’ve loved keeping up with all the changes and new tools and mediums over the years.  Social interactions online have the incredible power to create relationships that can turn into so much more than a casual online conversation. I’ve created relationships with clients, I’ve made many friends, and I even met both my business partner and my husband online!

Public relations and communications fit into my love of relationships and communicating beautifully and I have spent more than ten years working in online, web and social media communications. I’ve created content for corporate Websites, built online businesses, and created online communities.

My focus now is to help businesses learn how to use social media to promote themselves by making social media less complicated and more manageable. Through coaching, workshops and building strategies, I help clients understand why the tools are important, which ones make the most sense for them and empowering them to use those tools confidently.

Working to help people understand how to turn the power of relationship building online into amazing business and personal connections for themselves is a passion. The relationships I get to build with clients and then cultivate online is one of the biggest rewards.

It’s much longer now but I hope conveyed what I intended. What do you think? 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this kind of bio and if you have, or will write one.

Business Book Club: Enchanted

When my friend Karen from The Media Mesh decided to start a business book club, I teased - mostly because I am one of the worst culprits of buying business books and then never actually getting through them.  With the club as incentive I got through the first club book and am  now happy to tell you what my take on the book was. If you’re interested in finding out about being a part of the book club, check out Karen’s site.

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions - Guy Kawasaki

The book (as per its web site) ” explains how to influence what people will do while maintaining the highest standards of ethics. The book explains when and why enchantment is necessary and then the pillars of enchantment: likability, trustworthiness, and a great cause.

My take

Be real

It’s a great book that reminds us to be real, genuine and helpful.

A lot of it seems like common sense, but sometimes I think it takes spelling things out obviously to remind us just how important these things are.

It’s the whole “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” thing that I strongly believe in.  You get much further in life by being kind and friendly than by being angry and pushy.  Kawasaki simply outlines the how and why with some great examples.

Great practical tips

Kawasaki spends a lot of the second half of the book giving ideas on HOW you can be enchanting, sometimes bringing in specialists (like Mari Smith, a Facebook expert who I really enjoy) to talk about areas he realizes others know more about.

Again, a lot of what he said is common sense, but it’s nice to have what you’re doing reinforced, or to have a reminder to be doing it.


I enjoyed the book and was able to create a relatively easy to do list for myself from it.  I like that I walked away feeling good about how I do things.

My one real criticism of the book were his case studies.  He closes each chapter with a real life example of enchantment.  For some reason I found the examples weak.  I don’t know if he was going for something very attainable and realistic, but instead they felt to me like random examples pulled from a small sample selection.

Personal examples

That being said, here is an example of how I’ve been enchanted by a company.

Mabel’s Labels is a Canadian company that creates sticky labels “for the things kids lose”

In the summer of 2010 I attended a blogging conference in New York City.  As I waited for my flight home I tweeted that I was sitting at the gate on my own killing time.  One of the four founding partners of Mabel’s Labels saw my tweet, happened to be taking the same flight and found me at the gate and introduced herself to me (we had never met).

We sat and chatted for almost an hour, mostly not about business, and although I’d heard of the company before my estimation and personal feelings for the company sky rocketed after this interaction.  Since then, I have interacted with this same partner on twitter many times, as well as other partners of the company and their social media representative (they are all very responsive!) and have seen just how fast and authentic they are at engaging with their customers online.

Do I think it’s realistic for the owner of a company to spend time with every potential customer? No. However, I have since become a big advocate of their company, use their labels exclusively for my kids, and brought them in as a sponsor of a conference that I ran in my own city.  I believe in them and spread their word, and that came from someone responding in a really enchanting way to a tweet I sent out expecting no response.

Here is an example of how I WASN’T enchanted:

A few months ago I was planning a vacation.  I put out a simple and general question on twitter about one of the decisions I needed to make about that vacation - one that anyone who had been on a similar type of vacation could answer.  Someone referred me to a travel agent on twitter and when I asked her my question and told her I had already booked the vacation through another channel, she told me that I should then talk to that person for any answers to my question.

Her unwillingness to answer my question because I was not her client gave me such a bad feeling that I now have little desire to work with her in the future.  In fact, when I needed further help with the same vacation I went through another agent despite probably having gone with her before the interaction.  A little bit of “free” and “friendly” advice can go a long way to being enchanting.

I hope you check the book and Karen’s book club out - both are worth your time.  There will also be a twitter chat on January 11 from 8-9 using  #mediameshbbc.

I’d love to hear examples of how you’ve been enchanted! 

“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”,

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