This often comes as a bit of shock for many people when I mention it, but Twitter is not the biggest social media platform on the planet.
Indeed, Twitter has faced its fair share of challenges in recent times, with many industry pundits claiming the company is in trouble as growth stalls (meanwhile, Facebook continues to dominate and Instagram has overtaken Twitter in the active user stakes).
But Twitter is still potentially the most influential social network.
Why? Because tweets are published in real-time and, importantly, are streamed in front of the ‘public eye’ (unlike many individuals’ Facebook accounts).
Twitter is inhabited by journalists, bloggers, podcasters, celebrities and media personalities, politicians and policy-makers as well as industry and community leaders and influencers. These are the people who make the world go round, who have the ability to influence the masses in one way or another and therefore potentially can impact the way in which we work and live.
Twitter is the key social platform the media looks to for information on trends, breaking news and potential story ideas.
If you are a professional journalist and your ‘beat’ is business or marketing or technology or healthcare or property or politics or sport or whatever, you are on Twitter following the key players in those areas, people who are either setting the agenda in some way, who wield influence or have at least have a public profile so when they speak, people take notice.
What about YOU?
If you want to build personal brand awareness and grow your professional influence, you need to be active on Twitter.
If your goal is to raise your profile and build public recognition as the go-to expert in your field, then Twitter should be in your repertoire. End of story.
But don’t just be on Twitter, build a presence for your personal brand. That requires ACTION!
If you’re not on Twitter, start an account today; if you already have an account but aren’t active on the platform, then start immersing yourself in the medium. Try these tips:
ONE – Follow people in your niche, industry, profession, community. You need to become part of the Twitter community, not just be a passenger. At this stage, you’re at the back of the bus. You want to be at the front of the bus, yeah?
- TIP: Use Twitter’s ‘Advanced Search’ function to zero in on those conversations on Twitter relevant to your industry, expertise and interests – who is doing the tweeting? Follow them if you find the content they share useful, relevant and interesting. N.B. This is also a good tactic to find excellent articles to share as part of your content curation activity.
- TIP: Similar to the above, use Twitter’s basic search function to follow hashtagged conversations – these might be around a particular industry conference, for example, or a regular industry Twitter chat e.g. #tchat – start following those who are active in these conversations (don’t forget to check out who these people follow, and who follows them).
- TIP: If you log on to Twitter (via a web browser), you’ll notice in the top right-hand corner some ‘Who To Follow’ suggestions – check out these suggestions on a regular basis and follow the right people every now and then (this function also exists on the Twitter mobile app).
TWO – Tweet at least 10-15 times per day – you heard that right: Twitter works the more you put into it. If you want to be a passenger, sure, check in every week or so; if you want to be a player, you need to actively participate.
Add value! Today’s socially savvy business professional shares other people’s content more than their own. You read a lot on your topics of interest and expertise, so why not pick the best articles (or videos you watch or podcasts you listen to) and share with the broader Twitterverse; share links to this curated content and add a comment if there’s room to do so within Twitter’s 140-character limit. Other ways to add value: (a) retweet other people’s content; (b) answer people’s questions if they’re relevant to your field of expertise; and (c) advance conversations people are having around topics of interest relevant to your own.
Make Twitter part of your day-to-day habit – check in, in real-time, first thing in the morning, again at lunch time when you get a spare minute, and later in the evening; respond to people who have shared your content, retweet others in your space who are publishing interesting tweets, scan your follower feed and jump into conversations if and when it makes sense to do so.
SUGGESTED TOOLS: Here are several tools I use regularly when it comes to Twitter:
- Tweet Binder (keyword/hashtag insights)
- Buffer App (scheduling)
- Twitter Analytics (keyword/hashtag insights)
- TweetDeck (follower segmentation)
- How best-selling author Mandy Johnson uses social media to grow her professional influence on a global scale
- How recruitment industry leader Greg Savage grew his Twitter following to 30,000+