Ultimate List of Must Follow Twitter People


This list is a current (as of December 2015) rundown of people strongly suggested to follow if you are in social media marketing in any way. Whether it’s for yourself or your employer(s) you will learn valuable tips, tricks and techniques from these people. Those in bold are they whom I have interviewed on Social Media Edge. Since you’re going to be a permanent subscriber, ahem, you’ll get additions to the list regularly.

marismith Mari Smith
equalman Erik Qualman
scottmonty Scott Monty
shashib Sashi Bellamkonda
garyvee Gary Vaynerchuk
jowyang Jeremiah Owyang
guykawasaki Guy Kawasaki
simplyzesty Lauren Fisher and Niall Harbison
markwschafer Mark Schaefer
brandyou Cindy Ratzlaff
chrisbrogan Chris Brogan
jasonfalls Jason Falls
danzarrella Dan Zarrella

Dozens more below…

5 Things Beginners Should Optimize On Their Website Right Now

5 Things Beginners Should Optimize On Their Website Right Now

Optimization, as they say–and I say often, is part art and part science. What it really means is that Google, Bing and any valid others just want to deliver the best search results for their search customers. If your site doesn’t tip the scale into the “this looks like the right stuff” category then they simply won’t share it with their customers. Surely that’s not hard to understand. It’s like a grocer who only wants to buy the best product to put on the shelves. So you want to create the better content and present it in a way that is simple for the users to find what they are looking for.

Everyone can benefit from an Optimization Audit–including me; that’s why I purchase one from time to time from someone other than myself. In fact I’m due for one now. That said there are 5 things that virtually every website I look at for the first time needs to have done. Chances are yours needs it right now. Just in case I’m going to throw in a couple of bonuses just to make sure you’re in top notch shape to get started. What, you thought there were only 5 things you’d ever need to do? It changes all the time….

The items listed below are perennial. They have been valid for years and will continue to be valid into the future. These are not opinion based criticisms. They are backed with years of data and information disseminated directly from the search giants themselves. If you operate a website and have ignored these few points that probably explains why you get very few, if any, transactions from your web presence. Many of these can also be translated to sites like Etsy or EBay that let you have some control over your own pages.


Mine currently reads: “Social Engagement Engineer | I help you connect with your best prospects.” I have been to plenty of sites that simply read “Home”. Or worse yet, “Just another WordPress blog.” Set your title and byline. If you don’t know how to do it you can trust Google to show you. If you’re hand coding, which these days is unlikely, it will be in the HTML code thus: <title>Social Engagement Engineer | I help you connect with your best prospects.</title>

Make your title say what you do. I actually changed mine a few months ago to dial back because I had too much business. It simply read “Free Web Articles | Choose from pre-selected articles for free.” In your case just think about what you are: “In-town Bakery Tarpon Springs | We make tasty things fresh and healthy.” The good news is Google will use your title instead of making one up. That means when your listing shows up in search your words pop.

optimize-website-hand-workSMALLER IS BETTER

And I’m not talking about dimensions in pixels. I’m talking about the number of bytes each image in your website contains. A few months ago I was hired to help out a restaurant chain. Like many restaurants they wanted little images dancing all over the screen and fading in and looping around. Pretty — but useless when it crashes the browser on the beefiest of computers. They had a slide show with 7 images. Each image was in excess of 100mb and they were set to pre-load.

The first thing I would do would be to go to http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ and run the page load test on each page in your site–especially the home page. If it takes longer than 5 seconds to load because of images I would begin by optimizing the larger graphics on the page. The Pingdom tool will tell you exactly which ones are the most offensive. I use Photoshop for most image optimization needs but you can also try the online tool at http://tools.dynamicdrive.com/imageoptimizer/

On another note make sure you have images. Reading a few lines of text is okay but when you get into publishing paragraphs a little eye candy goes a long way. Relevant, valuable images can really improve the usability score for your website.


Bad links can be broken links or links to sites that are excluded from Google. bad-links-dead-end-brick-wallLinking to spammer sites or sites that are blacklisted for some other reason can get your site delisted or penalized as well. While there are many ways to accomplish this you can use the tool at http://www.drlinkcheck.com/ to check individual links to see if they are blacklisted. This isn’t the only thing you need to do but it’s a great start. Checking for broken links and making sure the links are still pointing to valid pages is also important.

Along the same lines I often find sites that have no outbound links to authoritative and trusted sites. Google loves to know you’re a part of the greater community and not just an island of self-validated omnipotence. Use Google to find the right sources and link to those. You’ll truly be glad you did! I even link to competitors.


If Google doesn’t recognize the word doenits in the title on your Donut Website, just kidding–everyone can spell doughnuts, then you may not get the visitors you want. Most web editors have spell check built in but what if you just used the wrong word? I’ve done that and fortunately I have really good friends who call my attention to it. I also pay people to proof my content (sometimes, especially when I’m being paid to write it) and that really pays off.

Making sure you have keywords spelled correctly is even more important than just any-old-word on the page. Misspelled keywords can result in wasted time, revenue, and lost income. Make sure to check the keywords on every page and especially in the title and headings. Google pays very close attention to those. It reminds me of some years ago when one of my salesmen sold a job to Arctic Cat. On the work order is was spelled Artic Cat and the customer had signed off on it. Since it was printed work I took the 5 minutes to verify. Good thing I did.


You may not think many people are going to access your site on a mobile device but you’d be wrong. If you get any traffic at all some of it will be on a mobile device. While it’s not all you need, because most people don’t use an iPhone, the simulator at http://iphone5simulator.com/ does give you a great idea of what people may be seeing when they visit your site with their mobile device (phone).

If your site looks wonky (aka bad) in the simulator there are two things I have to say: It may not actually look that bad because the simulator may be munging it. Secondly you’re not alone because the vast majority of websites are yet to be optimized for mobile. The problem with that is Google now prefers sites that are mobile optimized over sites that are not. It’s not always a simple matter to optimize a site for mobile but it is possible. If your site is built on a framework like WordPress or Joomla it’s all in the theme. It may be as simple as selecting a responsive theme. If not let me know what the issue is and I’ll see what I can do to help.


I’m not going to beat this drum too loudly just know that it’s an issue. Firstly, if you have any sounds that play automatically when the page loads or when the visitor mouses over a link- get rid of them. Auto-playing noises are generally unwelcome. If you want to start a video do so with the volume off. And by all means don’t have a little “you” walk out at the bottom of the screen and start talking. The end result is people leave and it hurts your bounce rate. Google does not like sites with high bounce rates when there are other sites with a better rate.

Secondly ditch any Flash videos you have in your landing page. Primarily because many people cannot see them. Many phones just wont play them and many computers, like all of mine except one, have Flash disabled in the browser due to security concerns. Flash was a graphic designer’s idea of forcing the web to do things the browser didn’t intend for it today. The protocol has never been fully accepted or trusted by many security professionals and browser developers. Sounds like you’ll be busy.

7 Hot Social Selling Tips for 2016

Why do some marketers seem to do so well with social selling while others can’t seem to get any traction? You’ll be surprised to learn some of the answers and put them into use. We have monitored and evaluated the top social sellers to discover these 7 social selling tips to help you improve your online marketing results.

This is what successful social media marketing looks like on the other side of the screen! (Photo by startupphotos License CC2.0)
This is what successful social media marketing looks like on the other side of the screen! (Photo by startupphotos License CC2.0)

#1 Choose And Use Good Images

Many people think just having a Pinterest or Instagram account is good enough. Just having a presence on any social site is only the beginning of attracting attention. So, whether it’s one of the photocentric social sites, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or any other the use of well chosen images is key to standout posts that will result in further action. There is a psychology to images so take a little time to learn about what images say to the audience you are trying to reach. Then instead of throwing out just any image, make sure to take a little time to research and find the best image or graphic to set the stage for engagement that matters.

#2 Spend The Most Resources On The Platforms Where Your Audience Is Most Active

Let’s face it, if your audience is primarily 12 year old girls who read pony books and you’re investing all of your efforts in LinkedIn…you’re missing the mark. Make sure you know the demographic of your buying audience then match your social media efforts to them. There are some pretty obscure social sites that cater to very niche audiences which can work very well for you when the mega-sites continue to prove fruitless; having very low return on your efforts.

#3 Make Real, Meaningful Connections

Twitter is one of the easiest places to see where brands and users are either engaged or not. When they are not engaged you’ll see post after post of links back to a product or service site and no mentions of other accounts. Chances are, unless you are managing the social accounts for major corporations, the engagement level of broadcast only in the social stream will result in very low conversion numbers. On the other hand when any social manager engages directly with “real people” there will be more likes, re-posts, and other shares.

#4 Use Video To Share Your Message

The old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Video is worth volumes! If you have a product there is no easier way to reach all users, including those who are mobile only, that by creating relevant videos. From product demonstrations to technical specifications, video is the next best thing to being there.

#5 Be Regular With Content

Whether it is information content, educational content, news, or other content it pays to get that content out regularly. People are creatures of habit. If you have a loyal following and you have a newsletter or update that comes out at a specific time on a specific day of the week you will see that people come to expect it. Just make sure it’s interesting and relevant.

Knowing when to post to social media can make a big difference. (Photo by Selena Deckelman License CC2.0)
Knowing when to post to social media can make a big difference. (Photo by Selena Deckelman License CC2.0)

#6 Know When To Post

There are several tools to help you discover when your followers are most active. You can also make use of your own metrics using analytics tools to track click-throughs with your custom URLs. If you are posting at 2PM on Friday and your audience is absent at that time but highly active at 8AM on Sunday you need to adjust the release time of your most important information.

#7 Stay Relevant and On Topic

The Internet does a great job of diluting messages and giving plenty of choices for users to become distracted. If you are all over the board on your social selling efforts and topics you’ll just confuse your followers and lose them in the crowd. Make sure to stay on topic when using your social selling accounts so that your readers always know they are reading something important to their relationship with you.

How To Lock Your Own Credit (Freeze Your Credit)


For Equifax go to https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

For Experian go to http://www.experian.com/consumer/security_freeze.html

For TransUnion go to https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp

In Georgia the cost per credit agency is $3 – so fro $9 total (lifetime) you can freeze your credit yourself. No monthly subscription, no extras to buy for hundreds of dollars, no extra people (third party websites) having your private credit information. Even if they are trustworthy it’s yet another place to store your private data that can be compromised and let the bad guys steal it.

Costs vary by state so make sure you check your state. Cost to remove a freeze also varies by state. There is NO CHARGE for victims of Identity Theft but honestly by then some damage may already be done. Mine is frozen right now. When I get ready to apply for credit I will do a temporary unfreeze – regardless of the cost.

Each company will give you a PIN that you must keep. Getting your freeze removed without that PIN will be more work than you should have to do so just keep your PIN in a safe place. Don’t write in on your social security card. (This has happened.)

How To Handle Price Objections (Without Lowering Your Price)


I teach from time to time. I have always enjoyed teaching and I put a lot of effort into making sure the attendees learn well and enjoy their time in my classes. I have charged as much as $499 for a 2 hour webinar with only me presenting and have had very satisfied students. I have also given free webinars which were, as you should guess, designed to entice some other type of transactional engagement. Recently a friend and colleague persuaded me to begin teaching again. I accepted the offer to teach for her company and I am enjoying the process of updating my course content and getting in front of even small classes again. Price, because I’m not “cheap”, has already become a question. Let’s discuss this.

When Price Is An Issue

Years ago I thought the way to beat price objection was to lower my price. Then I met a lot of wiser people who convinced me that is the last thing I ever want to do. When someone objects to pricing it means one of three things: (1) I have failed to identify them as a qualified customer, (2) I have failed to demonstrate that my product or service has even more value than my price, (3) they have their own insurmountable reason to fall short of the funds.

more-sales-means-more-work-01Qualifying customers is a science of its own. The truth is not everyone is an actual prospect. For me, since we’re talking about teaching social marketing for small businesses and independent entrepreneurs, I have a wide audience but it is not without limits. I’m going to need to qualify with questions like: Do you currently market online and more specifically through social media? Are you satisfied with the amount of results you get from online and social media marketing? Is it worth $100 to you to learn how to boost social connections, save on online advertising buys, and learn how to advance your digital presence by realizing more sales? If they say no to that final question then it’s just possible they aren’t a prospect for that class. Your objection management questions will be similar.

It also could be that I simply haven’t explained enough about what they will learn in the class and what the potential return from just that one session could be. Perhaps I didn’t explain that they would be leaving with a list of over 100 tools, mostly for free, that can help them automate, standardize, and manage their multi-channel social marketing. Or it could be that I didn’t properly explain that using the techniques they will learn in that short time can boost engagement by as much as 400% or more. Whatever I have failed to do I can usually determine by asking what they need to know about the class that I have not answered.

Then there are some people who just don’t have the money or simply will never believe that a $100 investment in even some highly valuable information will give them the desired results. Leave people like this in your drip campaign and move along to the “low hanging fruit”. Not every person who engages you is a prospect. I would be happy with 10% close ratio any day of the week! Sometimes it’s higher and sometimes it’s lower depending on how I attracted the prospect and what they expect from being on my marketing list.

Be Kind; Don’t Be Offended

There are friends of mine who would never pay to take one of my classes. On the other hand they gladly share my classes with others, talk about how good I am at what I do, and even call me when they have a question. Ahem–you probably know this tune. There are about 10,000 Americans who have not taken my class for every 1 who has. It’s not certain but I would estimate that I have taught some 40,000 civilians in the last 30 years. It’s possible that in the early days I felt offended if someone with whom I was speaking could not be persuaded to enroll in one of my classes. Now I am glad when I get a definitive yes or no. Yes is the preferred answer, but no works too. Don’t just lay down at no–ask questions to make sure you’re not doing that person a dishonor by not showing them the value of your offering. In the case of my training classes I know, and people who have taken my classes know, that there is more than enough value from the training to make the price a good bargain. But I cannot, nor can you, beat people into submission and get them to buy if they simply cannot see the value.

How To Price

With product the price is based on a few things: (1) what the market will bear, (2) the cost of goods, (3) overhead like salaries, insurance, legal, marketing, etc., and (4) enough profit to sustain the business model. I can say blindly what yours should be but you should find out. For me, because most of what I do is my time and labor, I know how much I need to earn per year to reach my goals so I factor my prep-time, travel time, teaching time, advertising, classroom space rental, sales commissions, etc., based on a particular number of seats sold. Once I make that determination I offer early bird specials, multiple seat specials, and full price beginning a certain date or “at the door” if I allow walk-ins. Your model may be different. Once you determine the numbers you need to survive and thrive, stick with it.

Some Responses To Price Objections

You’ll need to understand when to use these but I have used each of these over the years. Some I learned from others and others I learned from the trenches.

  • What makes you believe the price is too high?
  • I understand it seems priced high. That’s because __________. That’s a great value, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Yes it seems expensive if I have not properly explained it. Once I explain it the right way there’s no question. What have I not explained that is most important to you?
  • Here is a testimonial from someone who had similar concerns. Let me get them on the phone so you can hear it in their words. Will that help your decision?
  • Is it that you think the price is too high or is it something else?
  • Which benefits sound most valuable to you? Would you be willing to pay the price for just those benefits?
  • I know you would like to pay less for this, who wouldn’t? The truth is this isn’t for everyone and it may not be for you. But let me ask you one question,  once you see that this delivers everything I have told you how is it going to change your (day, life, work, joy, whatever)?
  • Is everything else acceptable to you other than the price? (Yes.) That’s really too bad. I would love to get this for you right now but I understand it’s just not for everyone. (No.) What concerns do you have about it?

Where Are The Sent Invites To Connect On LinkedIn?


LinkedIn is “pretty good” but they often seem to be one of the more difficult from a user experience–at least to navigate. Of course overall the UX there is pretty decent so we won’t pile on them too hard. The thing is if you don’t use LinkedIn regularly you may find things moved from time to time. Such is it with the “Sent Requests”. Of course by this I mean when you have sent a request to someone to connect.

Occasionally it’s nice to visit those sent requests and see what is happening. Are there a lot of people who haven’t accepted the invitation? Did you invite a connection from someone you later decided you really didn’t want to connect with? Have no fear; this video will show you exactly where that feature is.

  1. Log in to LinkedIn
  2. Hover your cursor on the icon for “Add Connections”
  3. Select “Invitations”
  4. Choose “Sent”
  5. Get busy

101 HOT Social Marketing Tools – Mostly FREE


It’s pretty easy to find articles with 15, 20 or even 39 social media marketing tools. Most of them contain the same tools over and again. And many of them have fees starting as high as $250 per month. All of that is fine for a company that is already rolling or has the funding to invest until they get rolling. From knowing my readers most of us are operating on a shoe-string and looking to graduate.

For that reason I put together this list of tools – 99 of the 101 are either totally free or have free options.

101 Tools for Social Media Marketing

In no particular order. Most (99) have free options and I tried to mark the ones that have a fee or could have a fee for upgraded status. ($) means upgrades available for more services. Presented in no particular order but the ones with the ♥ are ones I like and use. Chances are you won’t immediately grasp the value of each these and that’s totally okay. Just take a few minutes and focus on the ones that jump out at you. Revisit the others as you become more social tech savvy and you’ll see a good use for each one! Plus you can always ask. (I could easily do a 1 hour class or more on each of these.)

[1] http://Buffer.com ♥ – ($) great tool to get started really controlling when what and who.

[2] http://Canva.com ♥ – ($) powerful online graphics tool.

[3] http://FollowerWonk.com ♥ – ($) deep analysis and scheduling tool.

[4] http://SoundCloud.com ♥ – ($) podcasting tool.

[5] http://HooteSuite.com ♥ – ($) social engagement and analytics tool.

[6] http://Tweriod.com ♥ – ($) Twitter analyitics tool relevant to time and activity.

[7] http://Titonomy.com – ($) has a couple of useful features. Others require upgrades.

[8] http://agorapulse.com – ($) is Facebook magic. A couple of good free tools.

[9] http://shortstackapp.com – ($) build Facebook contests.

[10] http://twittercounter.com ♥ – ($) Twitter analyitics tool with lots of free good stuff.

[11] http://viralwoot.com ♥ – ($) Pinterest analyitics tools.

[12] http://iconosquare.com – ($) some free Instagram stuff.

[13] http://collec.to – ($) has some Instagram potential.

[14] http://mytoptweet.com ♥ – ($) tool to find your (or anyone’s) top 10 tweets.

[15] http://analytics.google.com ♥ – powerful tool from Google for multiple analytics.

[16] http://ifttt.org ♥ – ($) powerful alert tool. Alerts for just about anything.

[17] http://cyfe.com – ($) lots of analytics and tracking widgets.

[18] http://likealyzer.com ♥ – ($) reports tool for Facebook business pages.

[19] http://keyhole.co – ($) live Twitter monitoring and more. Keywords, hashtags, URLs.

[20] http://howsociable.com – ($) “social score” LinkedIn, Google+ and others.

ONE FINAL NOTE: If you do not OWN a website that YOU control you’re making a big mistake.



And to answer the “Why can’t I use something like Wix?”


Twitter Spam is Killing Twitter to Death


Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic. But isn’t it sort of true? Back in the early days of Twitter there was certainly plenty of spam to be had. Today, however, it seems without building and carefully managing lists you just cannot avoid Twitter spam. It’s like the most prolific invasion of social I have seen anywhere. It’s not on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube to name a few. So why is it so prevalent on Twitter?

Weigh in with your comment below and pick up some SEO juice!

Corporate culture. Yes you Twitter. You’re the guilty party not your users. Just look at the graphic, a real capture from my new followers this morning, and you’ll plainly see just how simple it would be to even automate purging this scourge. See what I did there? Purge the scourge.


So, Twitter user, what do you think of this proliferation of spam?

Does it make you more or less interested in participating on the channel as a serious business operation?