Oops! I Should Have Said That on Twitter

No, that’s not a mistake in the headline. Do you have a Twitter account with blank space where your photo should be alongside one or two lonely tweets? That’s not good for your brand.

I just read an article in The New York Times When Publicists Say ‘Shh!’ recounting the recent flaps over Charlie Sheen’s Twitter rants, and the series of tsunami jokes by Gilbert Gottfried that promptly lost him his job as the voice of the Aflac duck.  Many other celebrities have similarly found themselves in hot water with their fans – and their publicists – over inappropriate tweets.

Not Your Problem

But that’s not your problem. Your problem may be you that don’t post often enough to Twitter and your other social media accounts. This matters because potential clients and employers are all over social media these days searching for more information about you. Even your own company may be monitoring your activity, for compliance reasons.

It doesn’t make a good impression when they see an account that looks to be abandoned. You wouldn’t go to a job interview without sprucing up your appearance first. But your social media presence represents you in cyber space. As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Social Media Checklist

Schedule an hour or two  to complete these initial steps so that your social media sites don’t look like abandoned orphans:

    1. Include a photo of yourself. You don’t need a professional to take one. Just a nice head shot. (Incidentally, once you choose a photo, go to Gravatar where you can upload it so that it follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog).


    1. Include a new background for your Twitter page. You could use a background from Twitter’s limited selection. But for more choices of free backgrounds go to twitrounds or TwitrBackgrounds. There are dozens to choose from.


    1. Fill out your profile. This is especially important on LinkedIn, one of the first stops for employers and prospects.  Make sure it’s complete. It does NOT need to be perfect. You can always tweak it later. I do.


    1. Set up a weekly schedule. This article is not for social media addicts who are posting several times daily. It’s for ordinary folks who want their visitors to see recent activity. Set a goal: I will tweet, share an update on LinkedIn and post to Facebook at least X times a week. They don’t need to be original – you can tweet a story you read, and include a link to an article for Facebook. When you post on LinkedIn you’ll see a box to check if you want the update to appear on Twitter. Two for one.


  1. Check up on yourself.  On Friday, review your activity. If you’ve been a laggard, then do a couple of updates to your sites — retweeting other people’s content or posting a link to an interesting article. That’s your assignment for yourself before the weekend.

I could devote an entire article about your social media strategy: are you posting primarily for friends or to build your professional brand? If you’re on my site you know my point of view. If you’re working, then every post should offer value to your business readers. Don’t tweet anything that you will be embarrassed by later.

Also, no one wants to know what you ate for breakfast. And this goes for friends and business associates.

Leave a Reply


  1. We are so on the same page this week Jeannette! I wrote a similar post about the importance of your social networking activity and your brand. My pet peeve is people who leave comments and are missing the opportunity to brand themselves with their Gravatar. Your brand should be consistent and people should get to recognize you online the same way that they would if you were meeting face-to-face. Strategies and goals – I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Amen! I don’t need to know what position people sleep in on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else!

    Great reminders for us “regular” non social media folks. The new Twitter calls for a change in background which I haven’t done yet. Of all the social media sites, Twitter is my least favorite but with your suggestion, I’ll make certain to set my “x” for the week! My brand is worth it!

  3. Hi Sherryl — I did notice that you and I had similar posts this week. Great minds and all that! Keyuri, it is really so easy to change your Twitter background. You can personalize most templates with your own images, then click a button and it’s in place. Or you don’t even have to upload images if that’s too much trouble and go with an abstract design or a design in line with your brand.

  4. Hi Jeannette, awesome checklist! I will be sure to tweet this post so that business owners new to social media have an easy reference to follow.

  5. Hi Jeannette, I love this: “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” – so true! Your steps are so simple and clear and it is a wonder that so many people don’t follow them. The profile pic is really important – it only takes a second right? Makes a much better impression than the default photo – shows that your brand is important enough to you (as Keyuri said) to take that extra second and put your own face in your profile pic.

    I do disagree with you on one thing though – I DO want to know what you had for breakfast 🙂

  6. Julie – then you’ll wait a long time because I usually don’t have breakfast! How about what I had for lunch? Seriously, the profile picture is crucial. When I visit a site and I don’t see one, it leaves a very bad impression.

  7. Well said, Jeannette. And yes, a checklist is a great way of keeping yourself on track. I have it on my calendar – but I am ready to make a checklist to really track my activities. So thanks for this. I encourage my customers to do the same – have goals and track – keep a list or put it on a calendar. As for breakfast, I thought the same sing – that nobody cared what you had for breakfast, what type of coffee just drank, etc. However, I asked this question on Facebook and LinkedIn and the answers kept coming and coming and coming. Even on one of my LInkedIn group – everyone wanted to give their opinion. So, hope you don’t mind, I am sharing it with you. Have a great day. http://www.yourmarketinggal.com/2011/02/social-networking-people-care-what-you-had-for-breakfast.html.

    • Well, Jo, I’m red-faced. I read your post and enjoyed it. People DO want to know what you had for breakfast. Are you reading this Julie? Thanks for sharing your post with my readers.

  8. Great post Jeannette. I think also that people need to understand that people are out on Twitter for several reasons:

    1. To be entertained
    2. To find valuable information
    3. To look for new employees
    4. To promote their own brand
    5. To spy on the competition

    So, if you consider why people are out on Twitter, which one does your target market fit into based on the list above? What do they want and based on what they want, what do you want to talk about? It is also a great idea not to just leave posts that you write but to add links to great articles that people may have missed or links to “how to do something easier” that will make people go …ahhhhh…finally, I found the answer!

  9. Thanks, Bea. All great points. Spying on the competition is not a tip you read very often. But it’s true. You need to know what your competitors are up to so you can stay one step ahead. Easier said than done!

  10. Executive Coach — your gravatar appeared in both your comments. But I’m curious, why not use your name?