Category Archives: Twitter

Twitter Image Sizing: Best Practices for In-Stream Images

You’ve probably noticed more and more images showing up in your Twitter stream. Ever since Twitter added image previews to the stream last fall, users and brands have taken advantage of the opportunity to make the Twitter experience more visual.

I was curious about how to avoid images being cropped incorrectly in the Twitter stream (like this one below).  I see this all over Twitter so it’s a relatively new trick that not everyone has figured out yet. Turns out, the solution is quite simple.

twitter images cut off head

According to what I found, Twitter tends to cut a square image or vertical image across the center of the image, although some reports say it can be totally random where it gets cut. That can still be okay, depending on the image. For example this one came out fine, even though the original image is nearly square:

twitter image square

Rectangular (landscape) images will do best, since the in-stream preview is a rectangular landscape.  Like this one:

cows

The IDEAL image dimensions for the image preview, according to Twitter, is 1024×512. But if your images aren’t that large, any 2:1 ratio is a good second choice. So, before posting your image to Twitter, simply crop it to a rectangular shape in a 2:1 ratio. An easy (and free) tool to crop and resize images for this purpose is PicMonkey.

My business card organizer. Yes, that's Colonel Sanders. We met in Louisville, KY.

6 Tips for Marketers Attending Blogging Conferences

My business card organizer. Yes, that's Colonel Sanders. We met in Louisville, KY.
My business card organizer. Yes, that’s Colonel Sanders. We met at a trade show in Louisville, KY.

Today my friend and former colleague Nancy Holtzman from Isis Parenting asked me for some advice on navigating a blogger conference when you’re a marketer. She’s attending the Blissdom blogging conference with her marketing hat on, hoping to make some connections on behalf of her (fabulous) brand. (She’s a blogger too, and a Twitter fanatic to boot.)

I know first-hand that it can be a little awkward to attend a blogging conference when you’re a brand/blogger/marketer/notsurewhatIam. Overall, mom blogging conferences like Blissdom, Mom 2.0 and BlogHer are fantastic places to learn and network on behalf of your brand. And you are absolutely not alone. Brands, PR reps, mompreneurs, book authors and other brand/blogger morphs abound at blogging conferences.

Here are some of the tips I shared with Nancy:

1. Unless you are a conference sponsor, don’t hand out company literature, brochures, or swag items like hats, t-shirts or pens (okay, maybe one pen is fine, but only if someone asks for one). This is called “suitcasing” and it’s against the rules. Don’t leave any of that stuff on the tables either. It’s not cool, looks bad for your brand and it could get you kicked out of the conference.

2. Bring lots of business cards. A ton. A whole box. Hand one to everyone you meet. Deal them out like playing cards at every table. Don’t be shy. This is the the acceptable, legitimate way to share your contact information.

3. Come up with a filing system for the cards that you collect. Some people bring zipper pouches, binders, or those cute little boxes from Moo. Did you meet someone you absolutely positively need to follow-up with? Jot a note on their card and set it aside in a special spot. Collecting a card just to be polite? Set aside a catch-all area for those cards so they don’t dilute your pile of important contacts. [Bonus tip: Once you’ve amassed a pile of business cards, use a business card scanning app for your smartphone to scan all of that contact info into your address book.]

4. Tweet sparingly from your company account. Mom blogging conference attendees use Twitter like a text messaging platform. It’s easy and fun to connect with fellow attendees with the conference hashtag, and you’ll find yourself using Twitter to ask a friend to meet you by the elevator after the morning keynote. Try not to clutter your company twitter feed with conference tweets – instead, use a personal Twitter account. Make sure your personal Twitter bio mentions your position at the company and the company’s Twitter handle. That will help you maximize Twitter networking while not alienating your company’s fans (most of whom will have no idea what the conference tag/chatter is all about).

5. Restrain yourself in the expo area. You’re human, so when you get a load of the conference swag at mom blogging conferences, you’re gonna want a piece of that. Who wouldn’t? But restrain yourself. Walking out of the expo area with an armful of vibrators might not be a great idea. Conference sponsors pay big money to shower products on influential mom bloggers, not fellow marketers. And whatever you do, don’t share your business cards with sponsors in the expo area. Doing so will put you on the email list of dozens of PR firms, from which your inbox may never recover.

6. Follow-up after the conference with personal messages. For your most valuable contacts, individual personal emails is the best way to follow up. Refer to a conversation you had, or a session you both attended. Your personal message will stand out amongst the dozens of canned “Dear Blogger” emails that will surely fill her inbox post-conference.

Any other tips to share with marketers attending blogging conferences? Share them in the comments.

 

20+ Resources to Help You Achieve Your Professional New Year’s Resolutions

clockIt’s the beginning of 2013 and if you’re like me, you’re starting to tackle both personal and professional new year’s resolutions. And although many argue that the new year is arbitrary — that we should be continuously striving to do better, no matter what day it is — I like January 1st as a purposeful starting point for improving yourself at home and at work.

No matter what you resolve to do better in 2013, useful resources abound to help you make good on your business-related new year’s pledges.

Check out the following handy resources if your professional new year’s resolution is to:

Read more books

Fast Company put together an awesome list of The Best Business Books of 2012: Find Fulfillment, Get Productive and Create Healthy Habits. At the top of my professional to-read pile is Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

Get organized

Time Management Ninja is one of my favorite organization blogs. They have a nice compilation of their best posts on the Best of TMN page. They (like me) are huge fans of Evernote – the omniplatform app that lets you grab and organize information and content across all of your devices. For example, I used the Evernote web clipper to grab the Fast Company book list, and then pulled it up on my Evernote iPhone app when I was at the bookstore. Instant access to the list when I needed it.

Improve your social media marketing

There are thousands of articles, lists and pieces of advice out there to improve your social media marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are such moving targets it’s hard to keep up with best practices. My advice? Read, read, read. A few articles have stood out to me lately as particularly innovative and helpful. I really like this article from the Australian blog Socially Sorted on doing better at Twitter: Make Twitter Work for You – 10 Ways to Rock Your Tweets. If you’re a Facebook marketer, this 2013 Facebook Marketing Pledge from Jon Loomer is spot on.

Network

I’m a huge fan of the value of in-person networking at events and conferences. Eventbrite is a great resource for finding in-person networking events, classes and conferences. If online networking is your goal, Twitter chats are a great place to connect with other professionals. If you are a marketer like me, I like this compilation of marketing Twitter chats from the folks at Raven Tools. To find chats on other topics– and there’s a chat on just about every topic these days– check out this exhaustive list of Tweetchats by day of the week. It’s also worth searching for networking groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and now Google Plus.

Write more (and better)

Whether your goal be professional writing, blogging or creative writing, help abounds to rev up or refine your writing mojo. I’ve  recently discovered the writing blog Write to Done, which covers a nice scope of topics related to writing technique, motivation, inspiration and promotion. For bloggers, Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is now a classic reference for launching or relaunching a blog. To keep yourself motivated through the month-long process, assemble a group of blogging friends and do it together.

Polish your brand

If your 2013 goal is to kick it up a notch with your personal or business brand – by launching or relaunching your blog, commissioning a professional logo or creating an email newsletter, I’ve created a resource list of the sites and services I recommend most.

photo credit: ladytimeless via photopin cc

schedule

When Scheduling Tweets Is Bad For Your Brand

I don’t know too many brands who don’t schedule their Twitter messages to some degree. Unless companies have a social media team glued to their keyboards 24/7, scheduling tweets on Twitter is a reality for most. And it’s a generally accepted practice – when done well and sparingly, followers often can’t even tell the difference between scheduled and live tweets.

Until a major event occurs that temporarily consumes the Twitterverse. Like a hurricane. Or a presidential election. When everyone is talking about that Big Thing, your scheduled tweet sticks out. Looks… contrived.

And you look like you’re either unaware or don’t care about the Big Thing.

And that looks bad for your brand.

This tweet went out last night at 11pm Eastern to this brand’s 361,000 followers, approximately 15 minutes before Barack Obama was projected winner of the U.S. Presidential election.

Let’s just say most people were not tweeting about makeup at that moment.

What’s most frustrating about “sore thumb” type twitter scheduling is how incredibly easy it is to fix. There’s really no excuse for this out-of-place messaging. Look at the calendar and refine your scheduling for major holidays and national events. If you can’t plan ahead, simply press pause on your scheduling tool. Click. Done.

So the next time Twitter is on fire with matters of national importance, turn off your scheduler and either engage authentically or say nothing at all. I promise you can get back to business tomorrow.
photo credit: wenzday01 via photopin cc