Many domain investors use social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to support their domain activities. In this post I look at Twitter: how it can assist you as a domain investor, hints for effective use, pitfalls to avoid, and a short list of domain Twitter accounts to follow.
Here are 7 reasons that domain investors might want to consider using Twitter:
- Most of the big name domain investors are active on Twitter and share their reflections daily. Also, almost every domain service has a Twitter presence.
- It is a great way to stay current. While NamePros does an awesome job of keeping us up to date, occasionally you will see things first on Twitter. For example, the recent one million dollar sale of
Rx.comwas first announced on Twitter by Dave Evanson of Sedo.
- It helps you reach those not part of the domain community. If you use Twitter effectively you can build bridges with leaders in niches represented by your domains. While NamePros is far superior for domain discussions and interacting with domainers, Twitter is perhaps better positioned for making first contacts with others who use domains.
- Sometimes big sales start on Twitter. Apparently the $500,000 sale of CBDoil started with reaching out on Twitter. Dave Evanson posted about the
Rx.comdomain being available on Twitter several times in the weeks prior to the domain selling, as he has done for numerous other premium domain assets. In this thread Josh Reason asked who had sold a domain for more than $1000 on Twitter. In the reply thread to the tweet Josh pointed out that he personally had sold more than $25,000 in domains during the past year in transactions that started on Twitter.
- Domains occasionally get auctioned on Twitter. I believe this was first dome a number of years ago, but domain broker Darryl Lopes auctioned a four letter
.comlast year. Have you tried it? Why not tell us about it in the replies?
- You can discuss ideas with those from outside the domain community. While NamePros is ideal for domainer-to-domainer discussion, Twitter can be a useful forum for exchanging ideas with those in related fields who are not active on NamePros.
- You can learn about deals and enter contests. Occasionally you will see special promotions and now and then there are contests only conducted on social media.
A Few Twitter Basics
There are many good introductions to Twitter, but here are a few basics for those that are totally new to the platform.
- A Twitter account is free. They have options for paid advertisements and promotions, but the account itself is free.
- Your profile is seen publicly as the default. Often it will even do well in search results, so word carefully how you describe yourself.
- You follow people on Twitter, and depending on the settings, the content you see emphasizes recent posts from those people. Anyone can see who you follow, and who follows you, unless you have made your account private.
- A tweet is a short text message but it can contain one or multiple images (or other media) and links. Links are abbreviated and checked by Twitter using their service and that provides some level of protection.
- You can like and/or retweet content from others. In a retweet you can optionally add your own comment to the tweet.
- Your tweet can contain hashtags. Use hashtags (#) but only appropriately. Proper use of hashtags can help your tweets be noticed by those in the community you want to reach. For example, if you specialize in biotechnology domain names, make sure that relevant hashtags appear in your tweets from time to time.
- Your tweet can contain tags to other Twitter users. A tag is the @ symbol followed by the Twitter account of a specific person. This is a good way to make sure your tweet is noticed, or to give credit to others, but only if the tag is appropriate.
- You can private message those who follow you. Used professionally this is another way to start the conversation with a potential client..
- Tweets can not be edited after posting, but can be deleted.
Some Drawbacks to Twitter
While I personally find Twitter worthwhile, I agree that there are certainly potential negatives including the following.
- It can waste precious time. It is easy to become addicted to the instant nature of Twitter and spend too much time on it. If you find this difficult, one suggestion is to ration a certain period of time (like 15 minutes twice daily) that you will be on Twitter.
- People can and do sometimes say mean things. While I have found the vast majority of Twitter users to be respectful and even kind, that is not to say that there are not exceptions from time to time. Twitter does allow you to block certain people if the situation becomes extreme.
- Your Twitter presence impacts your personal brand and reputation. Since anyone, even non-users of the platform, can locate tweets, you will be known by what you post. If you have any doubt about what you are about to tweet, pause a few hours and be sure you really want to say it. While you can delete tweets, their online presence can’t be reversed.
- The lifetime of an average tweet is very short – one study found about 24 minutes. If your tweet does not get liked and retweeted during that time, it is unlikely to ever be noticed. A lot of good content on Twitter, unfortunately, never gets noticed.
- Twitter is poor at organizing and archiving information. It can be really hard to relocate content you saw on Twitter. There are tricks to help, but Twitter it is not nearly as good as a forum like NamePros in keeping track of content.
Don’t Do This!
It is pretty easy to find domain investors who misuse Twitter. Here are a few of the most common mistakes, in my opinion.
- Don’t make your Twitter feed simply a series of posts on domains you are trying to sell. I have been told that Twitter will freeze or cancel your account if you do this flagrantly, but whether that happens or not it is unprofessional.
- Don’t tag people inappropriately. Some try to gain attention by tagging well known people on Twitter. This is unprofessional and irritating.
- Don’t be rude or misrepresent what others have said. That is of course true in any context.
- Know when to fold. While debates do work on Twitter, in general express your view and then let it go.
- Never buy Twitter followers. Not only will it be ineffective in building a meaningful presence, but others will just see it for what it is. It is slow to build a real following, but real followers are what matters.
- Tweet regularly but not too often. It is hard to define what is too often, and as with other forums it is the quality of what you are posting that matters. Probably anything more than a few tweets an hour is too much. Many find a tweet or two a day about right.
Here are a few hints for getting started with Twitter.
- Use your profile effectively. While the wording needs to be short, make sure it is engaging and defines your Twitter presence effectively. Also use an image and background in your profile. Almost no one follows accounts that are the default ‘egg’ image. Remember that your profile can include links to your web presence or to your NamePros account.
- Define your personal brand. Think explicitly about who you are as a domain investor, and how to represent that on Twitter.
- Do something regularly and well. Just as in NamePros we have different strengths, think about what you can contribute to the domain community on Twitter, and try to do that regularly. Some people are good at spreading the latest news, some ask good questions, some share tips, etc.
- Be personal but not too personal. You will find that people respond more to personal tweets, but don’t go overboard and tweet about things that may be meaningful to you but not to others.
- Ask yourself, would I say this face to face? You can avoid many problems on Twitter if you ask yourself this question before tweeting.
- Use the built in analytics. You can readily see how many people are interacting in some way (clicking on links, expanding content, etc.) with your tweets. You probably should aim for an interaction of at least 1%.
- Try to get a good handle. With so many users, this is increasingly tough, but the time you spend finding a memorable Twitter handle will definitely pay off down the road. It is like having a good domain name.
While we may think using social media to promote or sell domain names is new, it turns out some tried it long ago. For example in a poll on DotSauce conducted in 2010 five respondents indicated that they had already sold a domain name on Twitter, and three on Facebook.
There are good reasons not to use Twitter and you should take them into consideration. It should be pointed out that the cited article is 5 years old. As in most aspects of domain investing, it is always good to take into account the most up to date information.
Ten Accounts To Follow
If you decide to try Twitter, here are 10 accounts that you might consider starting out with.
- NamePros This should be your first Twitter account to follow!
- DomainNameWire Andrew Allemann has been covering domains longer and more actively than almost anyone, and his Twitter account covers most news from the world of domains.
- Josh Reason Josh is very active on Twitter and one of the best at posing thought-provoking questions to initiate domain discussion.
- Morgan Linton has done a particularly fine job of covering recent domain events such as the NamesCon Europe meeting and the Asheville Domain Meetup.
- Elliot Silver of Domain Investing is one of the more followed and active domain Twitter accounts. I think he presents a good balance between opinion and openness to other ideas.
- Jamie Zock of DotWeekly is the best in digging out major domain sales that have gone unnoticed.
- DNAcademy shares positive and important messages which instruct and inspire whether you have taken the course or not. Michael Cyger also has a separate Twitter account in his own name.
- Darryl Lopes has worked as a domain broker at Uniregistry and now VPN, and is author of an ebook on domaining just released. He has tried various innovations on Twitter, such as domain auctions.
- Kate Buckley tweets less frequently than most on this list, but she is a highly successful seller of high value domain names. Her emphasis on the importance of stories as part of the approach to end users is an important one. Some of her major sales started with social media contacts.
- Rick Schwartz AKA DomainKing has in recent months reactivated his Twitter presence and been incredibly active in posting videos of the domain world as he sees it. Of course he has pretty definite opinions and does not try to give both sides of arguments. But along with those opinions are some good domain business common sense.
My apologies to all the great domain accounts I did not include in this list, which I wanted to keep short. I plan a second post in a month or o that will include 10 more Twitter accounts, plus some tips for power use of Twitter as a domain investor. If you can’t wait for that, some time ago I posted on NamePros a longer list of domain Twitter accounts to follow .
- One account or two? If you are already active on Twitter, the natural question is whether you should start a second account for your domain activity. I think it depends on whether there is real synergy between your interests. For example, if your other account is about cryptocurrency and you sell mainly crypto related domain names, I would just use one account. If your existing Twitter account is about skating, but you sell technology domain names, don’t irritate your existing followers by now tweeting about domains!
- Interact. I think many misinterpret Twitter as mainly a means to speak to the world, but the most effective Twitter users interact with others. You should spend much more time reading tweets than writing tweets.
- The 10% Rule. We do want to sell domains but don’t view Twitter as primarily a way to do that directly. As a general rule don’t post promotional content about your own domains more often than 10% of all your posts. Make sure your account is worth following, then edge in a tiny bit of promotion. Even then, try to do it creatively and attractively. Kate Buckley suggests a similar rule and offers other excellent advice on effectively using social media in this article.
- Follow potential clients. One way to possibly get a domain name noticed without doing specific outbound is to follow organizations that you think might be interested in your domain. There is no guarantee they will look at your profile and notice the domain name, but they may!
- Search hashtags for use ideas. If you search Twitter hashtags you may discover possible uses for your domains that you had overlooked. Twitter allows you to search for both content and accounts. See who is using a Twitter account that is identical or similar to the domain name you are hoping to ell.
- Give credit where credit Is due. Don’t represent as your content something that is really just repeating a blog post, graphic or tweet from someone else.
- Don’t feel you need to use Twitter. There are many paths to success in domain investing. You can certainly be successful in domain investing without a Twitter presence.
- Don’t expect instant results. Getting a following on Twitter is slow, and using it to impact your domaining success will take even longer.
Call For Input: LinkedIn Users
This is the first of a series I plan on social media use by domain investors. In the future I plan to do a post on using LinkedIn. If you are an active LinkedIn user and find it helpful to your domain activities and would be willing to answer a few questions for the forthcoming article please reach out to me by a an email to bob(at)NameTalent.com, or if you prefer, through a direct message to my Twitter account @AGreatDomain.
Ask Me! Share Your Experience!
I would like to encourage those new to Twitter to ask me in the replies any question at all about Twitter. What do you want to know? I also welcome comments from those who have experience with Twitter about how they have used it in their domain business, and whether they feel it is effective.
I’m glad you identified that Twitter is great for tracking trends and for finding who are players and influencers in the keywords which make up your domains. The hashtag is a great way to find and engage these people and entities.
Simple Example. If you own great IoT domains. Search #iot. #internetofthings
I use Twitter more to connect with potential end-users than to network with other domainers.
Thanks for another great article. You are the most underrated contributor in the domain community.
Thanks Bob for this article,
To me Twitter is very useful to get updated on what’s happening on domain industry.
I also use Twitter in the decision process on buying a domain or not.
The worst in Twitter is Twitter itself as its algorithm shows you the tweets that seems to be the most interesting for you. It is a good thing in a way cause you don’t get too many crappy tweets if Twitter selection is good but it is a bad thing cause you miss very interesting tweets everyday.
Happy that Twitter showed your tweet about this article on my timeline.
Thanks for your comments, Mik. I agree that the “improved” Twitter seems to me less good at showing what is genuinely of interest to me in my feed. The great content is worth a bit of frustration along the way though, in my opinion.
Thank you for your very kind comments, Rod. I absolutely agree with the value of hashtag and like your IoT examples. It is a feature I did not adequately use until recently. I also am trying to do a better job of mixing my Twitter posts so that more of my content will be of interest not only to domain investors but also to those in niches of interest to me. Interactions with those outside domaining take time, but are so important.
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