Now that you have a Twitter account, what do you do to make it work for you?
Jump In and Start Tweeting:
Social media is not exactly social in the beginning. It’s a lot of people, alone, standing at the edge of the chasm yelling trivial facts about themselves and their industry. And that’s why statistics say that up to 60% of Twitter users quit after a short time.
Take a strategic approach to positioning your brand. Start talking about what you do. Start referencing your skills, your accomplishments and your vision for a better personal or professional brand dialogue.
Find Some Friends:
Nothing is more gut-wrenching than the idea going to a party alone. Twitter has MILLIONS of people at the party, so there has to be someone to talk to, ya’ think? But how do you find them and how do they find you?
Here are some tactics I’ve used to find like individuals and thought leaders in my industry:
The first and easiest step is to follow those who your friends follow. Find a person with similar interests to yours and look at who they are following. Often times, if you work in the same industry, you’ll find people that you know (or want to know). Engage them.
Another good way to start building your network is to start with a basic Twitter search at “http://search.twitter.com“. Search terms related to your personal and professional interests (e.g. – marketing, cooking, photography, Des Moines, Iowa, etc.)
NOTE: For those that think keeping the security setting ON their Twitter account is a good idea. It’s not. Twitter is the pinnacle of social media dialogue, so why lock people out of the conversation? As soon as you set up your account, unprotect your tweets, go to Account and deselect “Protect my tweets” now!
If you’re looking to use Twitter as a micro-social venue (corporate connection hub), you may find it limiting at 140 characters per post. Also, anyone you “friend” will most certainly be a little confused when they arrive to your party and the front door is locked.
Schedule It and Tweet It:
I’ll be the first to admit that social media, especially Twitter, can be a HUGE time investment. To keep from sitting, watching… waiting, and wondering when to jump into the conversation is to simply schedule it and tweet it.
Set aside some time, every day, to get into your twitter stream. Schedule ideas to talk about based on your current projects or post questions about conversations you see in your stream. I like to schedule one hour a day to be 100% active on Social Media (that may vary based on the number of accounts you have to manage).
In that hour, start out monitoring conversations within your stream. The best way to have an engaging brand is to be a resource of knowledge for others. If you see a question or comment that you can add value to, then jump in and start tweeting.
If you’re not seeing active conversations that you can (or want to) join, have a back-up subject to start a discussion. Post a question or a comment and try to tag someone to get their attention and join the conversation. (e.g. – “@TheBrandChef — what did you think of MadMen last night?”). If that person is on line and monitoring their stream, they should reply. Often times, others monitoring specific terms “Mad Men” will find you and jump into the conversation as well. There are a lot of ways to start a conversation, but simply saying “Hello…” is always the best.
Now that you’re in the conversation, let’s look at some more other important solutions to make Twitter a TRUE brand extension for you.
Make Your Brand Unique:
Yep… the BIG “U” of TRUE Branding. If someone lands on your Twitter page and it looks like the base template (blue sky/clouds background and the dreaded “o_O” avatar), there’s nothing within that critical first second to entice them into engaging with you or your brand (Engaging is the BIG “E” of TRUE Branding, by-the-way).
Immediately after unlocking your tweets, go to Settings/Picture and upload an image that uniquely defines you/your brand. Your avatar is your online identity, so make sure you chose wisely. The photo of you and your boyfriend slamming tequila poppers at Jake’s party may not be indicative of your brand or your mission on Twitter.
If you’re tweeting as an individual, I encourage you to have a portrait taken to give your friends a little eye contact. If your tweeting on behalf of a company or a group/association, have a professional graphic designer create a fitting icon to use as the avatar that reflects the appropriate brand standards.
Although Twitter does offer you a nice collection of background themes to chose from, customizing one to your own design would help to extend your brand image to a much more unique (and professional) level. Try matching your Web site design. With that, it would be wise to have a professional designer work up a good background design for you. And then, simply by going to Settings/Design, you can customize the theme to your brand standards as well as customize the color pallet to match.
That’s Just The Appetizer Course:
Before all of those social media experts get their aviators all fogged up, I do want to admit that we’re still only scratching the surface. There’s tracking, feeds, third-party applications and even mobile discussions we can have to get you even further on Twitter. But I think I gave you enough to chew on for now.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.
Keep Cooking (unique, engaging conversations)!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef