Tweet your quarterly investment commentary for more impact

“Second Quarter Market Update”—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this boring status update in my Twitter streams, LinkedIn, or Facebook. You can attract more views, and get more people to click your links when you strengthen the status updates you share via social media. I have some tips for you.

1. Highlight your opinions, not the date

Everybody knows what quarter has just ended, but they don’t know your opinions about what drove the period’s returns or how you view the stock and bond markets’ future. This is why you should highlight your opinions with subject lines such as “3 reasons why stocks will continue to rise [LINK TO YOUR COMMENTARY].”

By the way, use a link shortener, such as bitly or the link shorteners in HootSuite, to make the best use of the limited character count available to you in status updates, especially Twitter.

2. Pose questions

People are curious. Take advantage of that by asking questions in your status updates. For example, “Which sectors are positioned to outperform for 2014? Read our views: [LINK TO YOUR COMMENTARY].”

3. Use images

Images increasingly drive social media engagement, even on Twitter. A powerful image will boost views and clicks. This may mean including two links in your tweets—one to the image and another to your commentary.

By the way, your logo or headshot photo doesn’t count as a compelling image. A graph or photo could work.

4. Link directly to your commentary

Many investment management firms force their social media readers to click twice to reach their commentary, which lives on their websites as prettily formatted PDF documents. However, every time you ask readers to click, you risk losing them.

To avoid this risk, put your commentary—or at least a big chunk of the opening text on an ordinary web page.

5. Tweet more than once

Don’t expect one tweet to reach all of your target readers. Share your quarterly commentary more than once. Mix up your status updates, perhaps highlighting a key finding in one, but asking a question in another.

Your tips?

I’m curious to learn what works for you in getting readers from your social media status updates. Please join the conversation.

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Note: updated November 10, 2020

Wonder if people read your LinkedIn status updates?

If you’re like me, you sometimes wonder, “Is anyone reading what I post to LinkedIn or other social media?” I believe they are, for reasons I discuss below. I also have some tips to boost your readership.

I’m fortunate that people sometimes “like,” comment on, or share my social media updates. (Thank you very much, if you’re one of those folks!) However, plenty of my status updates go without any explicit recognition.

However, that doesn’t mean that my updates—or yours—go unnoticed. People don’t acknowledge your updates for a variety of reasons, even if they read and enjoy your updates. For example, they may:

  • Be too busy to take any action beyond reading your update and clicking on your link
  • Not realize that clicking “like,” commenting, and sharing are a valuable part of social media culture—your connections probably include plenty of social media newbies
  • Be scared of getting in trouble with the compliance department—they may be especially wary of appearing to endorse financial advice

Ironically, it takes meeting with people face-to-face for me to understand the power of social media. At one of the last events that I attended in person, I said “hello” to a woman whom I hadn’t seen or corresponded within more than five years. I thought she might not remember me. Instead she responded to my greeting with “I love what you post on LinkedIn!” Wow, that gave me a jolt of positive energy. You may have similarly enthusiastic yet silent readers.

3 ways to discover whether people are reading

If you’d like to know for sure that somebody—anybody—is reading your updates, here are some techniques you can try.

1. Use your updates to pose questions

Ask a simple question in your social media updates to make it easy for people to engage with you. Simple doesn’t have to mean a yes/no question. It could be something like “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about saving for your children’s college education?”

2. Ask people if they’re reading.

You can use a poll on your blog, e-newsletter, or other location to ask your clients, colleagues, and other connections if they’re enjoying what you share on social media. You can also ask how you can improve.

3. Use tracking links.

Some of the links you share via social media can provide statistics that tell you how people have clicked on them. Check out or the link shorteners in HootSuite or Buffer for more information. Also, LinkedIn has a built-in measurement tool that’s shown in the image above of “Who’s Viewed Your Updates.” You can click on the arrows in the upper right-hand corner of your box to see that statistics on other updates that you’ve posted.

3 reasons no one reads your status updates

If your statistics disappoint you, it may because you’re making one of the following common mistakes.

1. Your updates are all about you.

Your connections don’t want to read a steady flow of self-promotional updates. Focus on content that helps your target audience. You’ll earn their interest.

2. You don’t post often enough.

Most members of your potential readership don’t spend all day scouring the Internet for your updates. You must post regularly to catch them online. The ideal frequency varies by social media channel and individual preferences. For example, people expect more frequent status updates on Twitter than on LinkedIn. In an informal poll on LinkedIn, respondents suggested that posting up to four times a day—with breaks between your updates—is ideal.

3. Your status updates are poorly written.

Have you seen status updates that consist solely of a website address? That’s an extreme example of an unappealing status update. Another example is simply posting “July newsletter” plus a link. When you share links, it’s for better to offer an enticement, such as “3 tips to save on taxes.”

What’s YOUR experience?

What kind of feedback do you get on your social media updates? What’s working for you? I enjoy learning from you.

Twitter power user’s tip: Share your Twitter name as live link

In less than 60 seconds you can supercharge the impact of sharing your Twitter name. Just follow my advice. Turn your Twitter name into a live link. You’ll pick up more followers faster.

Don’t do this

I was reminded of this issue when some colleagues shared their Twitter names as comments on a Facebook post. They shared their names in plain text. Like this: @susanweiner. In order to follow @susanweiner, any readers would need to copy-paste the name into Twitter to search on it, or manually type That takes time and effort.

Twitter name—share it like this

To make it more likely that people would follow me—and to make things easier for potential followers—I added a link to my Twitter page to the Facebook comment. It looked like this image:

Twitter name live link on Facebook

When possible, share your Twitter name as a live link. Like this: @susanweiner.

You’ll gain more followers and they’ll appreciate your making things easy for them.

YOUR Twitter tips?

Do you have tips for adding Twitter followers in a non-spammy way? Please share.

3 ways to add word images to your social media

I’m a word lover, but even I have to admit that images can punch up your written communications. I’ve written earlier about using photos, but sometimes word-based images can do the trick. Here are three techniques I’ve used to generate them, starting with the most sophisticated. But I’m no techno-geek. If I can use these techniques, so can you.

Is it worth your time to create and use images? “Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without,” according to “A Complete Guide to Visual Content: The Science, Tools and Strategy of Creating Killer Images,” which appeared on’s blog. This is increasingly true even on social media such as Twitter. Sometimes those images can feature words.

1. for images is a website for creating images at no cost to you in its most basic form. It’s not your only option for doing this, but “The Art of the Perfect Post,” a webinar delivered by Guy Kawasaki, Canva’s chief evangelist, convinced me that it might be simple enough for me to use. He positioned it as much easier than PhotoShop and similar programs.

To create an image in Canva, you click and drag the elements of background, text, and images. Canva provides some ready-made layouts for you. Some backgrounds are free; others cost $1. There is no cost to access Canva. I’m far from being a Canva pro, so I suggest you poke around the firm’s website to learn more.

Here are some images that I created using Canva.

Susan Weiner presents at NYSSA 20133Cs of investment commentary InvestmentWriting

One thing I wish I’d realized: Once you upload your images from Canva, they disappear from your Canva account. As a result, if I ever want to edit these images, I believe I’ll need to recreate them from scratch.


Wordle is a website that generates “word clouds” showing the frequency of words that appear in text that you input. For example, here’s a Wordle word cloud that I used to illustrate my blog post on “Plain English and good writing.”

Wordle imageWordle image of Susan Weiner's MarketingProfs article about plain English and good writing

Wordle imageWordle image

3. Screenshots of text created by your word processor

You don’t always have to time to create something fancy. That’s when I take a screenshot of text that I’ve created in my word processing software.VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR For example, I created a text block to accompany my virtual book tour’s links, as in “Week 4 of the virtual book tour for Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.” It’s not pretty, but it’s better than nothing.

I use Microsoft Office’s Snipping Tool to capture the screenshots.

 Other tools?

If you have other tools that you recommend, please share.



How to live-tweet a financial conference

Live-tweeting a financial conference—tweeting as you attend the sessions—can reward you as well as the conference organizers and speakers. Do it right to maximize your benefits.

Why live-tweet?

Live-tweeting offers both personal and professional benefits.

Personally, I find that I listen better when I take notes on a presentation. Live-tweeting is a form of note-taking, but other people get to benefit from seeing what you write.

Live-tweeting can also build your social media influence. The week that I live-tweeted the CFA Institute’s 2013 wealth management conference, I noticed a jump in my e-newsletter subscribers, in addition to an increase in Twitter followers.

Prepare before you start.

1. Find out the conference hashtag before you start live-tweeting the event.

A hashtag is a kind of abbreviation that starts with the # sign. For example, the hashtag for that CFA Institute Wealth Management conference was #CFAWM13.

Here’s a sample tweet:

#CFAWM tweet

The hashtag is important because it helps conference followers find your tweets.

2. Pick your Twitter tool.

I like TweetChat because once I enter the conference hashtag, it automatically creates a list of tweets bearing the hashtag and attaches the hashtag. This is more efficient than working directly in Twitter. NOTE: TweetChat appears to have gone out of business since I originally posted.

Some live-tweeters prefer to stick to their usual means of filtering and communicating in Twitter. For example, in HootSuite, which I use, or TweetDeck you can set up a column devoted to specific hashtag. However, I’m not aware of how you can automatically generate a hashtag when you tweet in Hootsuite.

I prefer TweetChat because it saves me time when compared with HootSuite.

3. Have the speakers’ names and bios handy. This will help you to tweet these details accurately. I was once very embarrassed by sending a tweet that misnamed the speaker.

Compose your tweets.

1. Name the conference. When your first tweet names the conference along with its hashtag, you put your tweets in context for readers who aren’t attending the conference. For example, I might tweet, “CFA Wealth Management conference starting now #CFAWM13”

2. Tweet “sound bites.” You can’t build a complete argument on Twitter, so it’s best to write the Twitter equivalent of “sound bites”—short statements that stand on their own. For example, share an interesting fact or provocative opinion expressed by a speaker. You can also ask a question or express your own opinion about a conference topic. Another popular technique: tweeting a helpful website mentioned at a conference.

2. Identify the speaker. Readers want to know who said what. Sharing the name, title, and company affiliation of your information source provides context and credibility. It’s easy to incorporate this in an article or blog post; it’s challenging within the 140 characters offered by Twitter.

One shortcut: use the speaker’s Twitter name. For example, if I attribute a statement to @michaelkitces, I save one character over “Michael Kitces” and, more importantly you can click on Michael’s Twitter name to read his Twitter bio. You can even explore his credentials further by clicking on the website within his Twitter bio.

If there’s no Twitter name available, I try to give the speaker’s full name and company affiliation in my first tweet. After that, I may save space by referring to the speaker by last name only.

3. Save space with colons and paraphrasing. Instead of tweeting “…, says Patterson,” you can tweet “Patterson:…” Sometimes the few spaces you save can keep you under Twitter’s 140-character limit. Keep your statement short enough for others to easily retweet, or free up space that’s better used explaining an idea.

Similarly, you can shorten your character count by paraphrasing—restating in your own words—what speakers might say in a wordier or more colorful manner.

Tweet selectively.

Don’t feel that you must tweet every session and every interesting fact. After all, you’re at the conference to learn. Constant typing may distract you from processing information.

Nervous about your typing skills? You can focus on retweeting other people’s conference tweets. This shows respect for other people’s content and may help you build relationships with them.

Bonus tip: Use photos.

Joanna Belbey photo suggestion for live-tweeting Thank you, Joanna Belbey, for this excellent suggestion, which I’m sharing with your permission!



Note: I updated this post on May 27, adding Joanna Belbey’s suggestion.

Ouch, LinkedIn, why did you do that to me?

Recommendations for Susan Weiner's presentations

LinkedIn recommendations for Susan Weiner’s presentations

If you’ve ever doubted the value of hosting content of your own website or blog, I hope my story makes you reconsider. My problem? I am losing valuable recommendations from LinkedIn. A quick tip for you: Take screenshots of any of your recommendations that will be affected.

Before you panic at the thought of losing valuable recommendations from your personal profile on LinkedIn, let me reassure you that they’re not affected. Instead, it’s the recommendations on LinkedIn Company Pages’ “Product & Services” tabs that will disappear as LinkedIn discontinues that tab. This means I’ll lose the 12 recommendations on my Financial Blogging book page, along with four recommendations for Speeches and Workshops, and three for Investment Writing Top Tips.

It never occurred to me that LinkedIn would deprive me of the recommendations that seemed like such an important part of their offering. LinkedIn did offer to send me a copy of these recommendations, upon request. I received them in an ugly Excel spreadsheet with typos—quite a contrast to the attractive presentation on the LinkedIn page that included my recommenders’ photos.

LinkedIn recommendations for Investment Writing Top Tips

LinkedIn recommendations for Investment Writing Top Tips

I suppose I could email my recommenders, asking them to copy-paste their recommendations to enter them as recommendations on my LinkedIn personal profile. However, I don’t think I’ll bother. Now that I have more than 20 recommendations there, I think new recommendations may get lost. Also, the LinkedIn’s personal profiles’ categories for recommenders don’t really fit for people who bought a book or attended a presentation, rather than hiring me to work directly for them. Also, I liked how the “Products & Services” tab let me group recommendations by category, which was more user-friendly.

I shouldn’t be surprised by LinkedIn’s betrayal. After all, I lost content when Facebook deleted its “Discussion” pages. Oh well, I still have this blog as my soapbox.


Tackling Vitriol in Your Digital Spaces

Blane Warrene has contributed a great deal to the spread of social media among financial advisors—both in terms of educating advisors and developing technology for social media archiving. In this guest post, he suggests techniques for handling nasty comments on social media websites where you have some control over what gets posted.

Tackling Vitriol in Your Digital Spaces

By Blane Warrene

Unpleasant, angry, and hateful speech doesn’t get the attention it deserves in discussions of social media. If you plan ahead, you can handle these situations better. This preparation will make your reaction much more thoughtful when you tackle vitriol in your digital spaces. When I say “digital spaces,” I include blogs and the online communities of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. I’m not including communities that you create specifically to discuss your business services.

Start by understanding human nature. Many years of tradition and training often suppress emotional reactions well, in most cases, ensuring civility prevails. But not always. It is in our nature to be passionate, angry, protective and aggressive—otherwise we would not be human. To our credit, most of us have also learned to manage these powerful emotions. Remember the difficulty of taming emotions helps with your preparation.

Here are some key steps you can take:

  1. Declare your policy candidly—be clear with your participants about what you do and don’t allow as conversation in your digital space.
  2. Use moderation tools—groups (and all community-based tools) offer moderating capabilities, both manual and automated. Turn them on and make use of them to allow you efficient, effective management of that engagement.
  3. Be fair in your moderation—offer a second-chance edit on posts or comments you consider inappropriate. Only block or remove group members who do not follow the rules after a second chance.
  4. Network with your frequent participants—the ultimate goal of being social in business is developing new relationships. You may find individuals who are interested in contributing more regularly, aiding in moderation, and promoting your group.
  5. Follow your own rules!—you are not exempt from following the policies you put in place. Otherwise you will lose credibility and your group will devolve into something less meaningful.

Policy Suggestions for Your Digital Space

What belongs in your policy declaration? I suggest making the following points to your group’s participants:

  1. No self-serving veiled commercials—let your space be a reprieve from commercialism, where participants can learn and help one another. Remind participants they can of course take techniques they learn in your space and use them in their commercial pursuits.
  2. No posts that lead to paywalls or data collection—if someone is giving away a white paper – truly give it away in your group, otherwise don’t post it. Remember #1.
  3. Focus—ask your participants to focus their comments on the purpose of your space. Focus helps the conversation provide more value. You’ll make this easier for them if you clearly define the purpose for your space.
  4. Show respect—remind your participants to act respectfully. There is rarely unanimous agreement on all topics. If you foster civil discussion, the debates and disagreements should also remain civil.

Remember that one of the goals for your online space is to foster conversation and idea-sharing. These rules will help you to achieve this goal. A focused, engaged digital space can be very rewarding for you and your participants.

Handling Complaints about You or Your Company

Complaints aren’t the same as vitriol. It is important to fine-tune your customer service radar when considering what might seem like negative engagement. If a closer look shows that unfiltered anger stems from dissatisfaction with the service or products delivered by you or your organization, then you need to respond with procedures that you’ve developed in advance.

Acknowledge those comments or posts and then take them offline—not to hide them, but to ensure they are addressed appropriately. If your interaction allows you to respond to the original negativity with a follow-up post, then do so.

When You Can’t Control Posts or Comments

Most of us participate in digital spaces that we don’t manage. What should you do if you’re disturbed by comments or post in a group over which you exercise no control? The answer depends on the goals of your participation in those spaces.

Often saying nothing is the best approach because you’re not fueling a fire.

If you must respond, remember that civility rules the day. The passions that drive us, when governed, can feed creativity and thoughtful response. This can have a positive impact on difficult discussions.

Your polite response means that members of your network will consider you to be fair and balanced, even when they disagree with you. This gives you a voice in important conversations. Reasonable disagreement can lead to meaningful outcomes in many cases.

When faced with pure anger and hateful speech, there are not many ways to facilitate a positive outcome in an online discussion. The engagement can be taken offline where cooler heads can prevail. Or, when faced with unapologetic trolls, you should refrain from engaging with the provocateurs. An online stream of tit for tat will not benefit anyone.

Finally, always consider our own history of failures when you feel the urge to strike online at an individual or organization that has erred publicly. Taking the higher road is never a sign of weakness.

Blane Warrene writes and speaks on the balance of marketing, privacy and digital communications in financial services. He co-founded Arkovi and can be found at @blano on Twitter.

Happy Twitter birthday to me! A reminder to try new things

I’m astonished to find myself celebrating my fifth birthday on Twitter. On the one hand, it feels like just yesterday that I joined Twitter. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to imagine life without Twitter.

I joined Twitter reluctantly. It seemed as if all of my writer friends were buzzing about it, but I didn’t want to add another form of social media to my busy life.

At first, Twitter struck me as stupid. There were so many short, disconnected snippets of information. And the volume was overwhelming.

However, eventually I figured out that I didn’t need to read every tweet. I started using HootSuite to filter tweets. I also started interacting with Twitter users, as I described in “Why I like some tweets more than others–and the lessons for you.”

I had a “Twitter moment” when I spoke at the Financial Planning Association’s FPA Experience conference about writing more effective emails. Thanks to my Twitter friends, my session was one of the more heavily tweeted sessions, despite its being scheduled early on the first day of the conference. Even better, I met people who felt as if they knew me, even though they’d only seen me on Twitter. For an introvert like me, it’s an enormous relief when people come up to me instead of my needing to tackle them.

My experience with Twitter reminds me that I need to keep trying new things. Just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it’s bad.

If you’re new to Twitter

If you’re not yet on Twitter—or you’re still trying to figure it out—you may find these posts helpful:

Figure out YOUR Twitter birthday

You can find out your Twitter birthday by entering you Twitter name on the TWbirthday website.


Why I like some tweets more than others–and the lessons for you

How can you write tweets that attract readers, retweets, and clicks? If you’re like most folks on Twitter, you’ve wondered about this topic. Here are lessons from some tweets I recently enjoyed.

1. Deliver content that helps the reader.

Everybody’s looking out for themselves. If your tweets deliver content that helps people, they’ll attract attention.

The following tweet from HootSuite caught my eye because I haven’t always been successful in getting help from companies on Twitter. The tweet made me click and share. The words “get what you want” caught my eye. The words “kicking and tweeting” made me think this might be a fun tweet to read.

Tweets that promise tips also appeal.

2. Start tweets with keywords that interest the reader.

Readers’ eyes tend to fix on the first two words of a line, so that’s a powerful position for keywords that appeal to your readers.

As I contemplate publishing more books, the term “e-book” caught my eye in the following tweet.

3. Ask questions and engage with readers.

My tweet of “How Do You Measure Success And Quality In A Financial Planning Firm?”—the title of a blog post by Michael Kitces—sparked a multi-person conversation. Much of this was probably due to Michael’s posing a question in his title.

Don’t forget: If people respond to your tweets, it’s important for you to respond.

4. Promise interesting links from reputable sources.

Tweets with links get shared more often than those without. I think it’s because there’s the promise of more content than can be squeezed into 140 characters. It helps when the tweets are shared by reputable sources. It’s even better when those reputable sources have written the material at the link.

5. Write sensibly.

Here are some rules that should help.

  • Write tweets that run 120 characters or less. This means I don’t have to edit or rewrite your tweets to share them. (2018 update: Now tweets can run 280 characters instead of 140. So now I suggest 240 characters or less.)
  • Write grammatically, within reason. Terrible typos will distract your readers and undermine your credibility. However, readers will forgive a little fat-fingered keyboarding. They can also handle an abbreviation or two. However, you’ll lose readers like me if you spew a series of the abbreviations that seem common in texting.
  • Give your reader a reason to read. It could be a download, a question, or simply your lively personality. Referring to “you” can help, as in the following tweet from Vanguard.

Some Twitter tips that I mostly ignore, but you may find helpful

  • Use hashtags—The right hashtag can increase the number of people who find you. I’ve found this especially helpful when I’ve live-tweeted conferences that have hashtags specifically for the purpose of following the conference.
  • Ask for retweets—Asking for retweets reportedly boosts the number of retweets. This is okay in moderation, but I generally prefer to see which tweets take off on their own. What I don’t like is when people repeatedly send tweets that mention my Twitter name solely to get me to see their tweets. This seems spammy.

 What have I missed?

I’m curious to learn your best tips for writing powerful tweets.

Note: In January 2014 I edited this post to delete a reference to my Twitter webinar, which was cancelled. In June 2018 I updated the post for Twitter allowing longer tweets.


Reader challenge: What mistakes did this social media newbie make?

“I tried social media for more than a year, but I didn’t get any results. So I quit.” This is what one advisor told me when we chatted at a conference. The advisor said he had robust content, including a blog. Also, after listening to the FPA Experience panel, he wondered if he should shift from tweeting financial content to tweeting his dining choices and yoga classes.

What do YOU think?

I realize you lack sufficient details to analyze this advisor’s situation — me too, I don’t even know his first name — but if you spend much time on social media, you probably know the kind of mistakes that advisors make.

What would you suggest this advisor try before abandoning social media forever?