Finding My Twitter Voice

Even though it’s only 140 characters long, for all its simplicity, finding my voice on Twitter was an interesting challenge.

IBM’s social computing guidelines are considered to be amongst the best in the world. In them IBM recommends a simple idea: “Speak in the first person. Use your own voice; bring your own personality to the forefront.”

I find that when I speak directly to other people on Twitter, three interesting things happen.

I get more re-tweets, more followers and generally more feedback.

Also, during our monthly SEO and Social Media seminars, we regularly hear Twitter users say they hate being on the receiving end of people who are obviously just automating their tweets.

Will you share your voice by adding a comment below? I’d love to know how you have found your voice on social media.

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has written 59 posts on Oxford Digital Marketing.

Simon Wallace-Jones started his Digital Marketing work in the late 80's implementing solutions for companies like DEC, Sun and Tektronix. In 1996 he co-founded the pioneering company which developed one of the world's first web marketing automation solutions which is still in use today by leading brands like Sony, Lexmark and Lenovo. In 2008 he co-founded Oxford Digital Marketing to help smaller businesses take their use of Digital Marketing to a higher level.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy September 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

I took over half a year to reach the ‘Aha!’ moment but since then twitter has helped me build my Ottawa business and my business network at eye-watering speed. Twitter is now a large part of my marketing for, and I have coached many other business owners as they start to tweet.

The fit is different for every business, but the one thing I always pass on is ‘only use one account’. Business owners new to twitter instinctively open one account for ‘personal’ and one for the business. This often results in the ‘business line’ becoming a billboard and the personal account being neglected. Twitter, at its best, is about one-to-one personal interactions and the little details that make us all human and individual. If you don’t enjoy chatting with your customers twitter may not be right for your business, but if you like to build relationships it can lead to a huge, enjoyable network.

Twitter is a great place to meet people. Some may become friends; some might even become customers.


ps. Full disclosure here: I also run 2 twitter accounts, but they are geographic rather than thematic. Drop in at to see what a busy account looks like. I’m currently deciding whether should become @AskAroundOxon.


Simon September 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Hi Wendy, thanks for your comment. I am interested in what you are saying. I also run different twitter accounts for different audiences. My more technical tweets would be meaningless to my marketing clients and vice versa. I am enjoying the chatting though.


Alison October 9, 2009 at 10:24 am

I’ve been twittering for a few months now, mainly personal stuff (never “I’m on the toilet” but family activities, problems, what the cat’s doing etc) and this week I picked up two new clients for my proofreading service, one solely through Twitter; the other I knew from another forum but have furthered the relationship with through Twitter. So it does work! It’s all about this Know Like Trust thing – if you let people get to know you a little through your tweets, rather than being full-on business, you can develop the relationship and business can and does follow.


Simon October 10, 2009 at 9:17 am

Thanks Alison, I’d like to achieve that goal. I remember the first time I sold a piece of work to a customer on Yahoo instant messenger about 8 years ago. I knew him well and we did a lot of business together but the whole discussion and pricing took place over an IM conversation and it was for a piece of work worth about £10k. We were just in a hurry and it was a very convenient for both of us.


Anthony L January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am

Am in total agreement about Tweeting “in the first person”, and, to not separating personal tweets from business tweets. One has to do this in Facebook, and it causes me all sorts of problems there.

Like all other forms of marketing, Twitter is an evolving media, and one needs to be constantly tweaking one’s approach. Watching what “works” and what “does not work”.

Twitter is “micro networking”, and I have found, can replace much of the face to face networking many small businesses are dependant upon to find new customers. The problem with face to face networking in a particular group, is the faces change rarely, so one is not regularly “extending the brand” as happens on Twitter.

Retweeting is an interesting subject, I find followers a little more reluctant to RT posts directly about my business. They prefer to RT the general tweets. This is fine as it achieves the overall goal of obtaining RTs, which is to get one’s bio in front of as many people as possible.

Final point about bio. Before anyone follows you, they will read your bio. The bio is therefore as critical as one’s elevator 40 seconds.

Enough I hear you crying!


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