Google your name much? I do. Today, I want to thank Twitter buddy Judy Yi (@jyi on Twitter) for bringing to my attention the observation that Twitter updates (or tweets) have gone WAY up in search results.
Used to be, if you Googled your name, your latest tweet would be 8th or 9th on the list of search results (at least for me), maybe. Not the first thing you saw. Now they’re #2 or for some, #1. BIG change!
That’s huge, people, when it comes to your personal brand! So, my advice today is to take those tweets seriously! Because that’s what people are going to see now when they Google your name. And here a couple of other tips, since this seems to be the case now.
If you want to have a little fun on Twitter (and who doesn’t?) or go off-topic and talk about politics or Charlie Sheen or an amazing restaurant, then my advice is to post @mentions. But post them as @replies. That’s what I am doing.
What are @mentions, you ask? “At” mentions are when you mention another Twitter user by name, anywhere in your tweet. Like this:
Whenever I think of creative marketing, I think of @FletcherPrince. They rock.
Hee, hee. I am just kidding. Please don’t actually tweet that 🙂
An “at” reply is also an @mention, BUT the Twitter name comes first. Like this
@FletcherPrince, when are you going to have us all over for pizza?
So my advice is to make liberal use of “at” replies (@name….rest of your tweet.) Why? That seems to make those Twitter updates less likely to show up in top-level search results and not at all in LinkedIn feeds of your Twitter updates.
@mentions, including @replies, can be public in search (even if you delete them) and on comment aggregators, but at least for now, they appear to be a whole lot harder to find and associate with your account. In other words, if a potential client Googles you, those @mentions are not going to be the first thing he or she sees. And people on Twitter won’t see them on your public Twitter profile unless they are following both you and the person you mentioned in the tweet. Cool, huh?
So it keeps it kind of clubby.
For example, today a Twitter buddy recommended that for Follow Friday everybody follow his wife. I wanted to respond to that, so I posted an update that looks like this:
@[name], that is so sweet!
Now you can see that I am just engaging with my followers and not really getting to the core of what Fletcher Prince does as a company. So….I don’t exactly need that update to show up in my top-level search results, do I? No, I do not. Nor do I want my LinkedIn followers to necessarily see every gushy tweet I write.
But if I had typed it like this
That is so sweet, @[name]!
Then that tweet would have shown up in my LinkedIn feed (useless to my followers) and in Google search for my name (useless for my brand).
But there are times that can work for you. Like this @mention tweet posted by Jeff Ghannam that did appear on LinkedIn because the @name was posted at the end of the tweet instead of the beginning
In this case, this is a perfectly appropriate @mention to appear on LinkedIn because it is really an attribution (via @washingtonpost).
So, given the big Google leap up for Twitter updates, I think I would just consider being a bit strategic about your company/brand updates and content-sharing Tweets. The “broadcast-style” ones, not the @mentions. For example, the tweets that mention links to your blog posts, or videos, or photos, or your latest promotion or news, or what not. Because now you know those Twitter updates are going to be a lot more prominent on Google, at least for the time being.
Post those brand-building tweets once or twice a day, or every other day. Whatever works for you.
Then when you’re going for pure engagement, or camaraderie, or want to thank someone, or let everyone know you just ran 5k (in my dreams), just make sure you put @name before you type anything else in the update if you don’t really want it appearing in the top search or on LinkedIn.
@jyi, thank you so much for telling me about how tweets are now appearing on Google!
I actually like this because it really compels me to be more conversational on Twitter (in moderation, of course). Then, when I’m in “broadcast” mode, I feel fine about those brand-building tweets appearing on LinkedIn and in search. But if I’m feeling socially playful (and I do have more followers since I have loosened up a bit), then I really have to kind of use the @reply style of tweet.
I hope all this is making sense to you! If not, call me and I will try to explain it.
Now will @mentions still show up in search? Ever? Well, sure. Don’t just tweet any old thing or swear words because, yes, those will show up, and be associated with your name. But my experience is that they are wayyyyy down in Google search results, and in a few comment aggregators. Not that big a deal.
Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.