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Seven thought leadership strategies: #3 Twitter

Patrick Nelson

For such a basic concept – get your message across in 140 characters or less – Twitter often seems surprisingly difficult for a lot of self-marketers to ‘get’.

But is it really that simple? Perhaps the first question Twitter users need to ask themselves is“Why use Twitter?”

Depending on the nature of your business, there could be quite a large list of reasons, but typically, Twitter users want to:

  1. Connect with influencers and prospects
  2. Share content, such as news, blogs, or promotional offers
  3. Engage with other Twitterers, for example by asking questions
  4. Help other users, for example by answering questions
  5. Raise brand awareness, in the hope of developing customer loyalty
  6. Keep track of the competition
  7. Demonstrate expertise in their industry
  8. And – ultimately – get more business!

Once you’ve figured out why you want to get on board with Twitter, it’s important to have a strategy for using it (as part of your overall business/marketing/social media strategy).

The biggest hurdle for newcomers to Twitter is often the question“What should I tweet about?”

A useful rule to follow when tweeting is the 70-20-10 principle suggested by Angela Mayers:

  • Share resources (70)
  • Collaborations (20)
  • Chit-chat (10)

The 21st century is all about sharing and collaboration and it’s not just about what you know, but also about what you can share that is useful, interesting, educational or entertaining for others. This means sharing other thought leaders’ ideas opinions as well as your own.

Collaboration, seen as “working together towards a mutual goal” involves connecting with and co-operating with like-minded individuals on Twitter, forging close professional and personal relationships.

As for chit-chat, this is often the stuff that makes Twitter worthwhile – finding out what people are interested in outside of work – and answers the question that Twitter was created for in the first place: “what are you up to right now?” For some, this might seem like an invasion of privacy, but if you want Twitter to work, you have to allow some of the ‘personal’ stuff to emerge. Remember – people buy from people they like (or people like them) so give them an opportunity to get to know you.

Once you’ve figured out some of what you want to tweet about – you might run into another common headache – “When and how often should I tweet?”

If you are serious about using Twitter as a thought leadership strategy and want to get your Klout score rising rapidly to the position of “Thought Leader” (or even better “Pundit”), you need to be active on a daily basis.

With apps available for smartphones, it is easy to check in whenever you have a spare moment, such as waiting for a meeting to start, on a train or in the queue at the supermarket. Try to make it part of your daily routine, for example at the start of the day, during a lunch break or at the close of the day. These are great times for telling people what you are working on or any breakthroughs or successes you have had.

It is also easy to schedule tweets for later, by using Twitter management tools such as Hootsuite or Twaitter.

If you are using Twitter to share content such as a blog or news updates, you will also find apps such as Twitterfeed and Hootsuite useful for syndication of your RSS feeds – saving you the time and effort of having to post linked updates to every new item of content by doing it automatically once you have set it up.

Twitter lists are useful when it comes to organising your followers, but getting yourself listed is also a great way to improve your social sphere of influence. Check out the popular Twitter lists on Listorious and find out who the current top influencers in your industry are. Take a look at what they are doing and consider whether it would be worth trying out some of their strategies (without just copying what they do of course!)