Growing a Community with Video & Facebook, Nick Pettit Interview

Nick Pettit

How do you build a community for your business, blog or startup?

Recently at FOWA London I got to meet Nick Petit – from Treehouse. Nick shares some really hot tips on using social media to grow your audience into a thriving community.

In this interview you will learn:

  • Why video is so effective for building a community
  • How to use Facebook Pages effectively
  • Why Facebook Groups is such a powerful way to build a community (I never knew this)
  • What Twitter ninja tricks you can use

Check it out:


Nick on Twitter


Growing a Community with Video & Facebook, Nick Pettit Interview

Howard: Hi everyone, Howard from here. I’m here at “Future of Web Apps” and a very special guest to chat to, Nick Pettit.

Nick: I don’t know I was such special guest but, alright. Thank you for the introduction.

Howard: And Nick’s part of the team at Treehouse and he’s called to be an expert at building a community using video, and we’re gonna chat about that. So, Nick, yeah, how’s it going?

Nick: It’s going pretty well, just rocking at Treehouse with Ryan Carson and friends. We produce video tutorials for web designers and web developers and we also recently added iOS tutorials which are…

Howard: Sweet!

Nick: Yeah, people seem to be loving it, which is great. Treehouse is actually not launched yet. Treehouse is the major rebranding or reimagining of ‘think vitamin membership’ which is live right now [you know]. You can sign up for that right now and It’ll [you know] be a lot of the same content to treehouse but treehouse is gonna add a lot of cool stuff like quizzes and badges that you can earn and cool little word videos here and there and it’ll launches on November 7th. So we’re supper excited about it and you can check it all out at right now.

Howard:, so if you are a developer and you’re interested in learning more, that is the place to go. It sounds really [really] cool. And you, over the past, you’ve built up really strong communities using video. How is web video a really effective way to build a community?

Nick: Videos is just such a powerful way to communicate with your users or [you know]with your community. Because when people see your face it really has a powerful psychological effect. When people see a smiling face [you know] instead of maybe just like a screencast by itself, it really can add a lot of [you know] communicative for emotional power that just wouldn’t be there otherwise with just a static site or a blog.

I mean, it’s also great for people that don’t feel like they’re really [you know] real good at writing. I know, like Gary Vaynerchuk felt like he missed the whole blogging thing just because he feels like he can’t write that well and so he’s like, you know, “Ah I’ll video blog and start it.” but then he’s like “I can do that.” So, it’s you know in terms of building community it’s just a more intimate way of interacting with people.

Howard: Sure! Awesome [awesome]! and you were mentioning you’re doing some cool things with the Facebook groups and that’s the way you can further as well as [getting] putting in the initial video [tell us] talk about some ways you can further engage the community.

Nick: Yeah, so Facebook pages and Facebook groups are really interesting. They’re very different animals. With pages, if you have like a pre-existing page that’s already really popular I think that you should try to use that in combination with Twitter.

Because, Facebook pages and Twitter by themselves are pretty powerful but when they’re use together it gets really awesome. [Because you can] it’s sort of difficult to have a conversation with your community on Twitter because it’s really just you talking to everybody else unless people are following a hash tag or something. But if you want your community to talk to one another and really engage with one another about a topic you can post a discussion question on your Facebook page and then if you click, I think it’s like you know the status or like when you posted it, there’s a little link where you can actually link to that specific discussion question. You can tweet that out and say [you know], “What do you think about this? Join our discussion on Facebook.”, or ,“Discuss with us on Facebook.” And then that would bring people to your Facebook page and [you know] they can talk to talk amongst themselves or sort of like give their opinion and then see what everyone else said as well so that’s really cool. So that’s Facebook pages.

Facebook groups are [you know] if I was creating either a page or group today I would definitely go for group because groups are just [you know] so much more conducive to community members talking to one another because it comes up in their feeds and everything.

Howard: More so than pages?

Nick: Yeah, at least that’s what we found with our Treehouse group which has been amazingly active which we haven’t seen with pages as much. It’s more us posting a discussion question and then people talk about it were as with groups it’s a lot more people [you know] asking for feedback about their app or asking specific questions to other community members so, yeah.

Howard: Why do you think that is? Is it part of the way the groups work or…

Nick: We’re still trying to figure that out. I think it is because when people comment in groups or [you know] they liked your comment in a group or they [you know] mentioned you or post a comment on like one of your post on a group it comes up as a notification in Facebook and it will also come up in their feed. I think a lot more so than pages cause I know pages do come up in the feed but I’m not sure what the exact.

Howard: Yeah, there is some…

Nick: Algorithm is there.

Howard: Yeah yeah. I know exactly what you mean.

Nick: But, yeah, we’ve seen a lot more activity on groups.

Howard: Ok, so to that point would you do the Twitter tactic you were talking about you know like posting out a question and ask to join them in would you the same on groups?

Nick: You could but we found out that you don’t even need to.

Howard: Don’t need to. Right, cool.

Nick: I mean posting a question like that and then twitting about it is really more so to get people to start interacting or talking about something and just [you know]maintaining brand awareness whereas with a group that really happens all on its own which is a lot better because it’s a lot [you know]more natural for people.

Howard: Awesome! So somebody who has a startup, they got a page maybe they already have a lot of followers. Would you recommend them to startup a group as well?

Nick: Yeah, I think that you know if they don’t have like thousands or tens of thousands of followers or something on their Facebook page or any [you know] most people don’t. I think it’s worth making the transition into a group.

Howard: Really? Wow, that’s really interesting, yeah.

Nick: Because the interaction is just enough to sort of merit the for the future.

Howard: Yeah, that’s really [really] interesting. And going back to Twitter, [do you have] how did you find building the community on that? Is it all about just putting content on your driving instrument or do you have another way or ninja ways on doing that?

Nick: Yeah, I mean Twitter is really about [you know] just, I guess, thought leadership and also [you know] communicating with your followers [you know] really like getting their opinions about things or getting their feedback. We actually just lunch a sort of a little bit of a social game for the launch of treehouse.

Howard: Okay.

Nick: [And our initial idea for] we’re just trying to have some fun with the launch [you know] and I think we went about it [you know] a little bit half hazzardly because basically like [you know], “Twit with this hash tag and this link and we’ll start [you know] unlocking this cool like videos and sneak previews of treehouse…” and people reacted terribly to that. Because people…

Howard: Really?

Nick: Yeah, [because] well, people said that [you know], “I don’t wanna like promote your product for you and [you know] all those stuff.” And in _____ it really made a lot of sense. We’re really like, “Wow, you guys were right. That was actually a terrible idea.” And so [you know] it was really all about us pivoting and taking that feedback and we realize [you know what] really all we want to do is make treehouse the best way to learn web design and web development and we’d be no where without our members.

And so rather than let them twit about us to other people we had them twit at us and so @reply on treehouse on Twitter with you know your new ideas for a new feature or topics that you’d like to learn about from us then you know that would start unlocking rewards and you know people reacted much better to that and it made so much more sense.

Howard: So interesting. Such a good idea.

Nick: Yeah, so yeah it’s really about us listening [you know] you need to have big ears with a small mouth.

Howard: Yeah, that is really great Facebook and Twitter tips there and well I know you got to jump back to the conference. So just one last one before we let you go.

Nick: Sure!

Howard: Startup just pretty much getting started and they want to start building a community. What’s your number 1 kinda thing they should do today to start building that?

Nick: Really [you know]consider video as a tool to communicate. It’s not just all Twitter and Facebook [you know] text is great. Well written copy is essential, but having [you know] a really good video or just communicating with your users through video is really personal way to get to them and I think a video isn’t being utilize to its full potential by a lot of startups.

Howard: Sure, okay.

Nick: So I would say like consider video as your number one marketing tool, yeah.

Howard: Cool! You heard it here. Well, thanks very much, Nick. Let’s get back to the conference now. We had Nick Pettit here and of course you should check out more Nick on or

Nick: It’s


Nick: We really want but it’s for now. Yup!

Howard: Okay, awesome. Thanks very much, guys. See you soon.

Nick: See yah!


5 Killer Content Marketing Case studies (& what you can learn from them)

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Good Content Marketing = Big Advantage!








Does your startup or business do content marketing? Have you ever wondered what successful businesses using content marketing are doing well? Well, look no further.

This article examines 5 of the most successful content marketing case studies. Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll discover great ideas that will help you take your content marketing to the next level.

Each of the below 5 businesses use unique content marketing approaches to great success – no mean feat considering the competition on the web at the moment.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Instead check out what others are doing and tweak these strategies to make them your own -whether it be for your blog, startup or business.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a form of marketing that involves publishing useful content, for free on blogs, books, videos or podcasts. By helping prospects and customers solve their basic problems at no cost, you gain their trust and they look to you for leadership. Also, they’ll often buy your stuff. This is good.

It pulls people to you rather than you pushing your marketing message at them. This is Seth Godin marketing.

hubspot content marketing








Where do I begin?

Since its launch in 2006, Hubspot has grown to 200 employees, received $33 million in VC funding and is on track to sell $20 million in services in 2011 (a 350% growth from 2010).

They’ve done it all through content marketing.

Hubspot is one of the leaders in the areas of content marketing. Think blog, videos, webinars (one had over 13,000 registrants), viral tools – they pretty much do them all. Fantastically. As a result they generate 25,000 leads per month for its 60 person sales team. One hundred percent of its leads come from its content marketing efforts.

Not bad.

What content to expect?

kissmetrics content marketing








Probably my favourite business blog out there, Kissmetrics have built a blog that received over 1 million unique visitors in 10 months without paid traffic. How did they do it?

They achieved it by publishing some of the best how to content that you will find anywhere on the web.

It’s really that simple. Each blog post teaches its typical user (entrepreneurs, marketing managers in small businesses) how to overcome the problems their experiencing. Their content is always very visual (infographics) and well researched. With this they built a huge amount of trust and loyalty.

I haven’t bought anything from Kissmetrics yet – but I look forward to the day I will.

What content to expect?

Man of the house content marketing








Man of the House (Proctor & Gamble)

Man of the House is an online magazine (blog) that Proctor & Gamle helped create.

P&G’s Man of the House site covers topics guys care about, while subtly placing ads for company products off to the side. The site drew more than 500,000 people each month to the blog (albe-it some of them may have been paid traffic) – when it was just 6 months old. That’s pretty sensational by any standards.

Why would P&G want to get involved in blogging?

We saw this need among guys, in particular dads, whose lives had changed, and their roles in the family, was very different than [the one] their dads typically played – explained Jeannie Tharrington, a P& G spokeswoman

What content to expect?

mint content marketing



Mint was up against some big competition when it launched in 2006. However it became market leader in the areas of personal finance and three years after launch was sold to Intuit for $170 million.

Mint built its strategy around a core strategy of personal finance focussed tips posts, link roundups, slideshows, videos and (most famously) infographics. Mint were the first company to really push infographics and experience great success (I share some of these infographics below).

This combination of great content helped convert readers into buyers of its actual product.

Infographics are 40 – 50 times more likely to be shared than written content. Mint are the Dons of the infographic.

What content to expect?

american express content marketing




American Express

 A credit card company turned Media Company? A credit card company actually doing something useful? Yep, I haven’t been Guinness tasting all morning – American Express are doing just that, and doing a damn fine job of it too with Openforum.

Openforum has two main elements: Ideahub which is essentially a blog driven by user generated content (‘guest bloggers’ to you or I) and Connectodex which is a private social network for Amex user entrepreneurs (they help each other out and provide leads for each other).

They hit 1 millions unique visitors back in 2010 and continues to grow.

By combining great content and great people, Amex attracts people to the site with the hope that they will signup for an Amex card.

What content to expect?

What can I learn from all this?

We’ve seen examples of 5 case studies of companies kicking ass with content marketing. With Content marketing you can by pass your competitors and become a market leader. But it does take commitment and its certainly not a short cut.

Take note of all the content marketing strategies used by these 5 companies and see how you can incorporate them into your next startup or marketing plan.

What did you find useful in this article? Please share in the comments below. 

17 Sizzling Social Media Infographics

The Conversation Prism

Infographics are one of the hot trends in business blogging – and it’s easy to see why, they’re informative and viral, as people like sharing them. Here’s my favourite 17 Social Media Infographics
Click on the link above each picture to see the full infographic

Loading Time

Science of Social Timing 1

Why Your Business Should Be Using Social Media?

Infographics Social Media In Big Business Digital Buzz Blog

How Fortune 100 Companies Leverage Social Media?

How People Tweet

The Twitterverse

What if Facebook were a City?

All The Best to Twitter and Small Business

Why You Can’t Ignore Twitter

Why do we follow companies on Twitter?

11 Mind Blowing Mobile Marketing Infographics

Social Media Demographics

Social Media Dashboard: Usage Trends

The Linkdin Numbers

Nicholas de Wolff Social Media

The Conversation Prism

10 Steps to Becoming a Google Plus Ninja!

google plus
google plus

It's all about Google Plus







So Google + is only a few weeks old and it’s already reach 10 million users, been banned in a few countries and has most businesses wondering what’s going on.

 It’s like the Wild West – there’s no sheriff, and everyone’s trying to be the new hotshot in town.

That’s good because that means in this initial chaos, the normal rules don’t apply – with a lot less effort than on other platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook etc)  effort you can cut through the noise and get noticed by others using it.

Chaos = opportunity for you

That’s why I’ll share the first 10 steps to take to put you ahead of 98% of the people out there…..and into the top 2pc. That’s where you want to be right?

1.  Get your profile URL shortened

Remember your Facebook profile address used to look like a bunch of random numbers before you got to choose your name to make it look much prettier like:

Well Google+ has started off the same.

Use this cool free tool to change your Google Plus profile from:

This: (ugly!)

To This: (lovely!)

Add me to your Google Circles while your at it

 2.    Set up a kick-ass profile

Google Plus is different to other social media platforms in a lot of ways, but similar in one very important one: putting a little bit of effort into your profile pays off.

I won’t bore you with the details as I’m sure you know how to set up good profiles by now (hint: good pic, more about you the better, list your work interests, no nazi flags etc) but instead I’ll just share this very interesting research done by a dating site about what profile photo types are most effective. Ignore it at your peril!

 3.    Set up your funnels fool!

Think of everything you do as a series of big funnels, filtering people towards your online real estate (blog/social media profiles) at every point of contact.

Remember: You never know where that email/tweet/blog post/comment will go – or who will see it. So make sure you make it easy for people to martch down your funnel if you’ve enticed them.

How to do this for Google Plus ?

  • Add your Google Plus profile to your email signature (use the link shortener above of course)
  • Add your circle link to your blog with the WordPress plugin
  • Put it on your business cards

The more points of contact you touch people, the more you can influence

4.    Add all your friends

One of the biggest pains of going to a new venue is that all your friends are still at the old party. So how to get them to your new hangout, fast.

For most of us Facebook has been the our main hangout for the past few years – unfortunately Facebook have put up a few barriers making imprting all Facebook friends to Google+ a little tricky.

But we have a neat trick to get round this (cue evel laugh: Wha hahahahaha)

Watch this video to see it:

5.    Get Automated!

Having to do thigs once = good

Having to do things twice/three times = sucks

Get your G+ updates to automatically post to your Twitter stream by installing this great free app


6.    Optimize every little thing

Google finds you relevant in searches based on keywords you use. So make sure to put in as many keywords, relevant to your industry/business as possible. So help people find you by optimising your content (it’s really very easy). -

Optimise part 1: Google Sparks – Google have intrpduced a new featurwe called Google Sparks where you can add interests. Make sure you add rlevent industry interests here.

My hunch is that, although this area is still in development, that Google will use this area to affect searches in some way. So getting it right now is worth it.

Optimise part 2: Profile keywords – remember me mentioning about relevent keyword into your kick ass profile? If you haven’t done it yet – do it now

Optimise part 3: Ninja trick: Google LOVES what’s called ‘anchor text’ when descriptive words link to relevant material (an example of this is startup marketing tips for this blog)

Change the anchor text to relevant keywords on the right of the ‘About’ section of your Google+ profile keyword relevent links

google plus profile

See my anchor text on the left

7.    Open everything, f&ck privacy!

The single biggest reasons why Google+ is so powerful?

Google owns the 80% of the world’s search.

So having your newly updated and keyword optimised profile open to searches is a must.

If you’re a privacy freak – get over it. Just keep the drunken pics for Facebook and keep the privacy settings at the max.

8.    Search for yummy stuff

Some people still don’t get Twitter. I think the reason Twitter has become so huge is because of its powerful search engine that allows you to search anything in real time. So for the first time in history you can search what people are saying about topics relevenmt to you, do you can follow and engage with them.

Luckily – you can do the same on Google, well kinda.

Google Plus doesn’t have its own search capability yet, but you CAN search through Google

This is how you can do it:
To search by topic, add this to a Google search – your topic

ie: “mudwrestling”

Share what you find in the comments below

 9.    Add +1 to your sites & blogs

Hmmm I feel people are coming to a treshhold of how many buttons we can tolerate – before that happens, we got to add another!

Use this tool to add a Google +1 button to your site/blog – just like a Facebook Likes button. Allows people to spread your great content to their networks easily.

Here’s how you do it:

10.    Circle Up…..and circle down!

The most interesting part of Google plus is the ability to add people in different ‘Circles’ – it’s a feature that is already on Facebook (Friends lists) but so cluncky that’s its mainly unusalble.

You can add prospects, customers, clients, people you want to learn from in different circles of influcne and share different material accordingly.

Think about this for a moment – now you can share different material with completely different circles.

Tip: People can’t see what you name each circle so name them anything you like: here are some interesting suggestions

Ninja trick: Want to see who’s unfriended you? Check out this app called ‘Google Minus‘ – it tells you have removed you from their circles.

See me kick Chuck Norris’s Ass!

Chuck-Norris twitter

Just confirming what I already knew of course :)

Inforgrapahics are fast becoming one of the most shareable types of content on the web – they’re fun and makes it easy to digest stats. Check out and for examples how to use infographics to great effect. Both these two companies have grown huge blogs using infographics as one of their primary strategies.

I created this infographic from – you can too, have fun!

Ever created an infographic? post a link to it in the comments below

70 Kick-ass Web Marketing Case Studies

startup ideas
startup ideas

If it works for someone else - use it!

Here are 70 kick ass marketing case studies to get your creative juices flowing.

There’s case studies for CRM, Social Media, Twitter specific, Facebook specific,  Viral, Personal Branding,  Branding, Sales, Business Plans, Crowdsourcing, SEO, Landing page conversions, Geo-location and Mobile.


Any you can use for your startup?

Enjoy – tell me what you think of them.


Extending the Customer Experience
Social Media for Customer Service
Comcast’s Twitter Man

Social Media

Social Media Nonprofit Study
How LIVESTRONG Raised Millions to Fight Cancer Using Social Media
Cold-FX: A Fun Canadian Healthcare Social Media Campaign
Case Study: Using Social Media to Deepen Partner Relationships, an Inside Look at the Oracle Partner Network
B2B Case Study Online Community
Reconfiguring a B2B Communications Function to Foster WOM
5 Small Business Social Media Success Stories
How Social Media Drives New Business: Six Case Studies
The Old Spice Social Media Campaign Stats

Twitter specific

Virgin America Promoted Tweets
How Moonfruit got Twitter right
Breakdown: 4 Ways Brands Are Earning –and Buying– Followers on Twitter
Best Buy
Reaching Out To a Wide Audience: A Twitter Case Study
Reaching Millions With Twitter: The Whole Foods Story
Twitter Drives Traffic, Sales: A Case Study
Twitter Case Study of a Commercial Brand

Facebook page specific

Killer Facebook Fan Pages
Dunkin Donuts’ Facebook Campaign
3 Things We Can Learn From IKEA’s Facebook Campaign
Ikea Facebook Social Media


Will it Blend? A Viral Marketing Case Study
Weezer Viral Marketing
Digital Branding: ‘March Madness’ browser promotion leads to 99.6% conversion rate for The Ohio State University

Personal Branding

Twitter: Kim Kardashian
Lady Gaga Case Study

Startup Growth

Case Study: 5 Factors Behind One Startup’s Rapid Growth


Facebook Brand Marketers
Coke Expedition 206
Brand Marketing: Guinness
Best Practice
Driving Innovation

Web Design

One Page Sites Design

Content Marketing

Content Marketing Tips
Interview with Mark Coatney of Newsweek Magazine’s
I now pronounce you monetized: a YouTube video case study
Build Popular Blog
How I Got 50k Visitors to My Blog in One Month
Case study: the anatomy of a blog storm

Selling/business models

Google Marketing Case Study
Twitter Drives Traffic, Sales
Case Studies in Freemium: Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic and MailChimp
Dell case study / case study


Crowdsourcing Case Studies


A Tweet’s Effect On Rankings – An Unexpected Case Study
Link Bait Case Study
A Case Study: Using Contests To Build Links
Think Traffic Monthly Report #5
SEO Case Study: PRSA Jobcenter
Case study shows the SEO benefit of Twitter

Landing page/Conversion

Lessons Learned from 21 Case Studies in Conversion Rate Optimization
SEOmoz Case Study
Voices Case Study


Early Proof That Geolocation Marketing Will Succeed
Crocs rolls out nationwide mobile coupons campaign: case study
Big City Burrito Builds a Viral Database With Mobile Marketing
Mobile Marketing Case Study: Gunstock Mountain Resort (JitterGram)
Mobile Marketing Case Study: Mobile Apps VS Mobile Website
SMS case study – Sara Lee’s State Fair Corn Dogs
White PaRel: Redef¡n¡ng Gouelnment
Gommunioation Witn 0B-Godes

Chevy Case Study: Using Mobile, Location and QR Codes to Inspire Brand Engagement
Case Study: Sephora Offers Ratings and Reviews via Mobile
Best Practices: Bringing Mobile Apps into Retail Stores
Propelling the Pepsi Spirit with Mobile Apps
Case Study: Mobile Marketing

Any I’ve missed? Please post them in the comments

Twitter Marketing Guide for Startups

startup twitter
startup twitter

What's with the blue bird anyway?

Flattr this

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered, the point is to discover them – Galileo

Love it or hate it – Twitter is one of the most popular and arguably, most effective, ways to market yourself or your business online. And it AIN’T going away.

I recently been working on a Social Media strategy for a startup I’m working with, and thought it would be be useful to share the steps I went through with you.

In this Twitter marketing guide you’ll learn:

  • Why you really need to use Twitter
  • How to set up an awesome profile
  • What you should tweet
  • How to get lots of followers
  • How to automat bits so it doesn’t drain your time
  • Some other secret tips and tricks you should know about

So if you’ve decided to take the plunge and begin to use Twitter for the first time, or your account has 4 followers and your last tweet was 18th June 2009 – this is the guide for you.

After all, if you’re going to use it, you might as well be remarkable at it, right?

Why Use Twitter? (feel free to skip this bit if you’re a pro) 


Ok first off, there’s a lot of rubbish on Twitter: ‘just cleaning my teeth now’, ‘watching Glee OMG’ etc etc – Tweets like this are probably the no1 reason you decided it’s not for you.

Don’t do this

If used correctly Twitter will:

  • Expand your network
  • Bring you visitor to your blog/website
  • Bring you leads
  • Allow you to connect with people you normally wouldn’t be able to
  • Allow you to build a personal/professional brand with loyal followers

I’m not going to go much more into this, as there are already tons of great posts already about why you should use Twitter already (here’s a good one). I’ll just say the 2 main things that will happen once you start using Twitter (properly)

  1. You’ll make new leads and contacts

I regularly meet people who tell me they get business through Twitter (that could be jobs, new clients, sales appointments etc). I rarely experience the same with other social networks e.g. Linkedin/Facebook etc

Remember the age old marketing maxim: People do business with those that they know, like and trust – this is they reason why Twitter (and social media in general) is so powerful – as it allows you to form relationships easier. Often with ‘untouchable’ people.

Consider the following…. Which is more effecting: replying to a prospect’s tweet to help them find some useful information, or sending them an email offering your services?

2 .  More traffic

If you have a website or blog, having Twitter following will drive large amounts of traffic to your site. I consistently get approx 30% of my blog traffic from Twitter

startup twitter stats

Google Never Lies (source Google analytics)







Setting up an Awesome Profile


If you want to be taken seriously and get followers, you need to show everyone you’re human (there’s a lot of spam-bots on Twitter). To ensure people know this make sure you put a little effort into your profile. Don’t worry it’ll only take a few mins and it’s a fun way to show a bit of your, or your company’s, personality.

Quick Profile Checklist. Make Sure You:

  • Update your bio

This is the main way you’ll attract followers and like minded people– so make sure you put your key interests/goals in here.

Be specific in what you do/want to do and don’t be too vague e.g. startup marketing is my main area so I want to attract others who are interested in this – I’m not so bothered if corporate exec types follow me or not.

I like to add a little something personal about me too – to give people a conversation starter if they’re looking for one e.g. I put Loves… cinnamon swirls & coffee.

  • Put your website/blog address

This is how you’ll get lots of lovely traffic direct from Twitter

  • Use a Good Profile Picture

Very important.

Did you know we usually decide in the first 2 seconds if we like someone/something? Malcolm Gladwell goes into the science of this in his awesome book: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (affiliate link). So make those 2 seconds count!

Change your profile pic to a headshot of you smiling. No sunglasses, hats, stupid poses – unless you’re sure it fits the persona you want to portray. Obviously no tops off– I actually have a mate (who will remain nameless for fear of mobbing) that thinks it’s cool to use self shots pics of himself with no top on. Dude…..

i.e. Don’t be this guy

  • Personalise Your Background

Change the background to a cool pic you have that says something about you – people will appreciate it. Like I did:

startup twitter profile

Any high res picture makes a great background










What Should I Tweet?


I get asked this question a lot – and my answer is: whatever is relevant to your audience


As a rule you should share approx 10 pieces of genuinely useful information before you promote anything about yourself/your company.

i.e. Remember that time you were at a party and you met someone that just told you how great they were…. How long did you listen to them? Did you want to talk to them again?

Don’t do this!!



Compare this to when you met someone who shared some insider knowledge, or told you about an upcoming event you might be interested in. You probably respected his knowledge and thought ‘here’s someone I’d be interested in knowing’.

The same rings true on Twitter.

If you follow a rule to share 10 -1 rule of pieces of useful info before you promote yourself, you won’t go far wrong.

Buy what is useful info???? Here’s some ideas:

Top Resource:

  • Check out’s ‘top in 24 hours’ – people love this stuff

Who Should I Follow?

There’s a huge number of people on Twitter, some more influential/interesting than others. To make best use of your time you want to be following the movers and shakers in your industry, not the ‘Billy No Mates’.

These highly influential people are commonly refered to as ‘Mavens’. they’re people who seek out interesting information and like to share it with others. And people listen to them becuase they have built up a reputation for sharing quality information.

A good example of a Maven on Twitter is Lady Gaga – who was reportedly paid $1 million to send 1 tweet about a U.S. brand. I make that $7,142 a character. Not bad, considering she could have sent it while she was waiting for the kettle to boil.

There are lots of tools to help you find the important people in your industry to follow, my favourites:

Twitter counter search – simply put in your industry/interest and see a list of those with most followers. I particularly like the way you can include location and industry in your searches. Follow users with one click.

Tweet follow tool

look for people who tweet regularly, have followers & are relvent to you

Lisorious Follow lists of interesting people made from other people in your field


Lists can be a great way to find awesome people











Other Resources to Find People to Follow:

also try - good for both industry and location

How to Get Lots of Followers


Ah the Holy Grail – how to get some followers on Twitter – I see so many people with 20 – 200 followers. It’s difficult to know how to grow beyond that.

I myself struggled to get more than 160 followers for a long time until I discovered the strategies I’m about to share with you.

Why more followers anyway? Well there’s a lot of merit behind the phrase ‘quality not quantity’ and absolutely, in the long run you want quality followers that care what you say and will help your cause. But without a certain number of followers, many won’t take you/your new business seriously.

Definately a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.

Good news is: It’s actually quite easy to grow your following really fast – you just need to know how to do it and be prepared to spend a little time at it. Ready? Let’s go………

Step 1: Set up your Funnels

Every single thing you own/send online and offline should have your Twitter details on it, so that people you interact with can follow you if they wish. You never know where your email/business card/blog post will go – so make it easy for people to follow you. This way everything if ‘funnelled’ back to your Twitter page.

Some examples:

  • Your email signature (have this set to auto, so it’s on all your mails)
  • Your other social media profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, Meetup profiles etc)
  • Your blog (I use Twitter for WordPress and Follow me on this site)
  • Your website
  • Your business card
  • Your forehead (ok, that one’s taking it a bit far)

Step 2: Introduce yourself

The single fastest way to grow your following is to introduce yourself to as many people as possible.

How do you ‘introduce yourself’ on Twitter?

You do this by Following someone – this is the equivalant of shaking someone’s hand at a networking party (will tell you a ninja trick how to automate this bit later)

This is the single fastest way to grow your following. Infact, if you are committed to the cause, you could grow your following to 1,000+ in as little as a week (slows down a bit after this, for reasons I’ll explain later).

Why does this work? Because many Twitter users you follow will follow you back, if they deem you to be interesting/relevant to what they’re interested in.  Many will see you’ve followed them and take a split second decision whether to follow you back (see why your profile pic and bio is so important now)

My experience is that, on average, 25% – 50% people will follow you back when you follow them.

So, if you follow 1,000 people, approx 250 will follow you back. Follow 2,000, approx 1,000 will follow you back etc etc

If you experience less than this 25% – 50% in follow backs, you have a problem with your bio or the info you’re tweeting.

Step 3: Drop the Dead Weight

Here’s the easy bit – so you should now have lots of new followers, unfortunately Twitter limits you to following only a few hundred more people than follow you back (it’s actually 10% following of however many are following you, after the first 2,000).

So by ‘dropping the dead weight’ and removing the people that don’t follow you back, you pave the way to follow more people than will follow you back.

Make sense?

I typically give someone 3 days before unfollowing them. Harsh but fair :)

note: obviously don’t unfollow your key industry influencers or mavens, you’ll want to keep these at all times

How do I tell if someone if following me? It’s really easy.

  1. Go to:
  2. Click ‘people’
  3. If you can see a DM button – then they are following you back (see below)


Twitter Follow Purge

Gary is following me back - we like that!











not follow twitter

The Guardian isn't following me back - yet :









Ninja tip: If this all sounds like a lot od hard work, I’ll tell you how to automate this below

Step 4 -  Engage People

More people you get to know (engage), more followers you’ll have. That’s about it. I recommedn engaging at least one new person a day (many more if you have the time). Just make sure it’s relevent and timely.

  • @ replying to someone – the equivalent of starting a conversation with someone at a party
  • Retweeting someone’s tweet – the equivalent of giving someone a compliment for something they said at a party
  • DM (Direct Message) – Does what it says on the tin. I’m not so keen on these but they can be effective if done right.

I use Tweetdeck everyday to engage with people on Twitter. It’s completely free and very cool to use.  Use the desktop version for best results.

Listening on Twitter


Did you know Twitter is one of the most powerful search engines out there for your brand?

This is because people regularly tweet out requests for help on a certain topic. Some examples:

  • Anyone recommend a hotel in New York?
  • Know a good graphic designer?
  • Looking for a motivated intern to work on marketing project

Think about it….If you own a business relevant to any of these- if you reply with useful information, of an offer – you’ve a foot in the door.

You can ‘listen’ for any terms you want. This can be setup easily on Tweetdeck.

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Open TweetDeck
  2. Click the ‘add new column’ button on the top left
  3. Under ‘search’ input a search term you believe your target market would use when looking for a product/service like your’s
  4. Monitor the searches daily/hourly
  5. Engage with people that are looking for help – it’s ok to offer your serives (it;s relevent and timely), just don’t be too pushy

An example of ‘listening’ done well:

Yesterday I sent a tweet asking for recommendations on work productivity tools

howard twitter

My Tweet yesterday



Almost instantly I received a responce from a company called Yanomo mentioning I should check out their new tool. Think I checked out their site? You betcha!

Why does this work do well? Becuase I had already raised my hand to say I was looking for this information. I wanted them to tell me about their product at this moment. Any other time, I’d probably ignore it

Yamono twitter

Good response - it was even on a Saturday!Relevant, timely....

p.s. If you don’t use Tweetdeck, you can also simply use:


Now with these principles out of the way, this is how you unleash auto-follow awesomeness!

Ninja Tip #1: Autofollow!

If you’re thinking all the points I’ve made so far sound like a lot of heard work – well, you’d b right. It takes time. Luckily there’s ways you can automate it. So a web tool does all the work for you. Nice one!

Step 1: Get an autofollow tool

This is the secret to growing your followers fast – and how I grew my following by 800 people in a fortnight.

The tool I recommend is Tweetspinner (affiliate link) as it’s the one I personally use. I show in a video below exactly how I set this up for my account.

Another options is Tweetadder – which is more expensive but have heard it’s also good.

Both these tools will automatically search for people relevant to you based on keywords, location and what they’re tweeting about and follow them for you. Based on the principle mentioned above, many of these will autofollow you back. They also remove people who have not followed you back within a certain time period.

So to sum up:

  • Autofollowing new followers (recommended – good karma)
  • Auto purging people that are not following you back (also recommended as you have to keep culling your list of people who are not following you back if you are to grow your list fast)
  • Auto DM response – sending an auto DM to new followers. Just make sure it’s not spammy. Too many people say ‘hi, please visit my site’ etc. that’s not cool. Be personal, Show you’re interested in getting to know about what they’re doing

How I set up my auto-follow tool

These tools seem a little complex at first glance, but don’t worry they’re really simple once you set them up once. Here’s how I set up Tweetspinner (affiliate link) I recommend you copy these settings:

Now watch your new follower numbers grow!!!

Ninja Tip #2 – Automate your tweets  



Posting to Twitter can take time and lots of people forget – and there’s no faster way to lose followers than not posting for a month. You need to keep momentum.

Luckily there’s ways to automate this – so you it looks like you’re sending insightful tweets, when really you’re body boarding at the beach. Nice!

Here’s how you do it:

Auto tweet Method 1: Scheduling

  1. Create a list of ‘evergreen’ Tweets (‘evergreen’ means they don’t go out of date)
  2. Open Tweetdeck
  3. Copy and paste in an evergreen tweet
  4. On the right hand side, beside ‘send’ click the little clock icon
  5. Schedule the time you want
  6. Hit ‘Send’
  7. Hey presto – the tweet is sent whenever you scheduled it

Schedule button is the the right, beside 'send'

(Extra secret tip: Statistically tweets are most likely to be retweeted at 8am, 1.00pm and 5.30pm so schedule them for then)






Autotweet Method 2: TwitterFeed

Twitterfeed is another awesome (free) service that sends free tweets for you. It auto-tweets new posts from your favourite blogs. To set up:

  1. Find the blogs with content your followers would find most useful
  2. Add the blog to Tweetfeed
  3. Make you click ‘advanced’ when setting up and put in via @yourtwittername – so your name gets passed along when shared (= more followers for you)

Twitterfeed: Great way to share useful content automatically


Tweet old post Is a great plug-in for your blog that will retweet old blog posts that new followers may have missed.


Other resources



Last Note: These automated tools are great but they can’t be the only source of content for your account: Make sure to mix with a healthy dose of real human conversations :)




Final notes:

Most of us agree that Twitter holds great potential for those that utilise it correctly. However, it can be on big time waste if you don’t use it strategically and deliberately.

If you follow the above steps you will see success with Twitter – just keep at it. And don’t forget to:

  • Be relevant
  • Be human
  • Don’t spam (that includes auto DM’s)
  • Use tweetdeck & other col tools to manage your tweets
  • Have fun
  • Make friends

Would love to hear any other tips and tricks you might know. Also please post your successes here in the comments

Good luck!