There is one thing I don’t love about Twitter: It is really easy for someone to impersonate you, and there are just way too many accounts for Twitter to self-police.
So what do you do if, like me, you find out that someone is pretending to be your business?
First things first, you have to find out if someone is impersonating you. Use the Twitter search tool to do this:
If your business is the only ‘you’ there, you are in good shape; it doesn’t seem that anyone is impersonating you. If there are multiple ‘yous’ there, make note of their Twitter handles (i.e. @10TWebDesign), as you’ll need them later.
OK, I know what you are thinking: They are pretending to be me, of course there are rules being broken!
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.
If the offending account doesn’t fall into these categories, you have a good chance of getting the account deactivated, especially if they are using your profile and header images.
Time to make the Head Twitter-birds aware of the copycat account. Twitter handles all impersonation complaints using this impersonation complaint form on their support pages. Some tips to make sure your complaint gets approved:
Give the good folks at Twitter time to work. Just because you filed the complaint at 8:32 AM doesn’t mean that the offending account will be down before your morning coffee break. Give it a few days, maybe a week. If you still haven’t heard back from them, shoot a tweet over to @Support and (politely) tell them that you had filed an impersonation complaint and ask (politely) if they have an update.
It’s a good idea to check every month or two just to see if anyone is pretending to be you. Hopefully you won’t find anyone. If you do, feel honored that you are being impersonated, follow these instructions, and you should have no problems. If you have any questions, just drop me a line.
You’ve invested all this time and money in a new dynamite website. You think it’s great, and your current customers have all told you how much they love it, too. The problem is, it isn’t generating any new interest.
Translating current customers into future customers is the holy grail for any business. Throughout the entire history of business, word of mouth is the only advertising form that has never went up in cost. There are fewer better feelings than hearing how much a current customer likes your work. One of them is hearing it from a new customer.
But, be realistic: We don’t call each other anymore, we text. We don’t mail, we email. We don’t network in person, we network on-line. The development of the Internet allows us to communicate to almost anyone in the world. The problem is, we tend to interact the same way with the person in Italy as the person on the next street. We have fewer chances to interact directly, but we have unlimited chances to interact on the web, so we have to harness word of mouth advertising in a slightly different way.
Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter ‘followers’ have the direct advantage of allowing you to contact current customers. If you include those fans on your website, you get the indirect advantage of proving to potential customers that people, in fact, do like you and would recommend you. It’s social networking’s version of the word of mouth.
I often tell my clients that one of the worst things you can do to an existing website is not keep it current. In many ways, an out of date website is worse than no website at all.
One of the first items on my checklist when I analyze someone’s site is to look for a ‘last updated’ tag, because it says a lot about the information there. Believe it or not, ‘Last updated January, 24th, 2004’ doesn’t build a website visitor’s confidence.
A website that is out of date suggests to visitors that the site has been abandoned. With the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the length of time between ‘fresh’ and ‘out of date’ is getting shorter and shorter. It can be challenging to keep your website fresh without becoming a professional writer, especially if you are part of a sector or business that simply doesn’t change all that much.
The solution can depend a bit on how much time you have. If you can invest a couple hours a week, including a blog on your website can be a great way to keep people interested, and it has the nice side effect of proving that you are an expert in what you do. However, this can be daunting if you’re not comfortable writing.
If you are a little tighter on time, consider including your Facebook Page’s feed (or Twitter feed) on your website. That way, you can make quick posts here and there throughout the day, or pass on industry news and notes. This can also be a good option if writing isn’t for you, as the post will be shorter and visitors are more likely to forgive spelling and grammatical errors on social networking sites.
You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) rewrite you website every week, but a little new content here and there will let your visitors know there is still someone on the other end of the Internet interested in hearing from them.