I’m sure most of you have been using Twitter for a while now, to follow your favorite celebrities, tweet about stuff that you do throughout the day, or simply answer Twitter’s call “what’s happening?”
But there is a very lucrative side of Twitter if you look at it from a personal branding perspective, be it business related or whatever online persona you’re trying to build.
I will outline some of the guidelines and will be using my experience with Twitter as an example for using the platform in a purely personal branding fashion.
Let’s do this!
First and most important step is to decide what exactly will be the purpose of your Twitter account. As you might have noticed I work in digital marketing, that is why I’ve decided to use Twitter as a medium to show my knowledge and expertise in the field as well as to use my tweets as a database of information. So that later when I need some info on a topic that I know I tweeted about, I can look back at my tweets and find it.
It’s essential that you clearly show the objective of your account in the description, so that potential followers would know what to expect from your tweets. Make sure to include a link that also serves your branding, for example I included a link to my Google Profile which has all the links to my online accounts including my blog and my LinkedIn profile.
Follow the Right People
Following relevant accounts with similar interests, helps in empowering your brand. Not only would they provide your Twitter feed with relevant information but they will most likely find your tweets valuable to them as well.
When I first created my account, I was fascinated by following celebs and verified accounts until I realized that it’s not really serving my objective, it’s simply bombarding my twitter feed with irrelevant tweets.
A simple search with the right keywords using Twitter Search can yield some relevant results. Listorious is another place where you can find and follow relevant accounts and lists. The one that I really like is WeFollow, it allows you to search by different categories for the most influential accounts or the ones with most followers.
Manage your Account
With all the third party tools out there, you can seamlessly manage your account in a way that would make your life easier and make your Twitter usage more effective.
Personally I use TweetDeck which I think is wicked! Once you download it to your desktop, you can start doing awesome things like adding columns and scheduling tweets. I have 5 columns; Mentions, a list of experts that I created, Direct Messages, New Followers, and Scheduled Updates. You can also filter each column using special keywords.
Scheduling tweets is another cool feature in TweetDeck, but it makes sense only if you know when to tweet. Ideally you should be tweeting at the time when others are on Twitter. I use Tweriod to give me a better insight into when exactly is the best time to tweet based on my tweets as well as my followers’. This helps in extending the reach of your tweets.
Build your Following
Consistency is key to building your following. The more active you are, the more followers you will get. People don’t want to follow dead accounts that tweet once a week. Try to tweet on a daily basis and rest assured your efforts will pay off with a dedicated following.
A clever way of reaching out to potential followers in a valuable - less spammy way is using TweetQA or InboxQ. Those sites allow you to search for users asking questions using keywords related to your field and answer them. Most likely those users will follow you because you added value to them.
Another method that I find quite useful if your branding is more business oriented is using LinkedIn “Twitter” discussions. Some LinkedIn groups have those discussions asking members to post their Twitter accounts to follow. If you are on a relevant group, the members will most likely be the kind of following you’re looking for. You might not get all of them to follow you, but a couple of quality relevant followers are not bad.
If you have profiles on other networks that have the same purpose of your Twitter account, link them. For example I have linked my Twitter account to my LinkedIn profile, so whenever I post a tweet, it shows in the LinkedIn news feed of my connections extending the reach of my tweet.
Signs of Success
This is the part where you reap the fruits of your hard work. Nothing is more delightful than a re-tweet from a stranger who thinks your tweet is worth spreading. People will start adding you to their Paper.li newspaper because your tweets provide them with valuable information. If people start adding you to relevant authoritative lists, that’s also another sign that you’re on the right track.
One of the tools that give you some nice graphs for your Twitter activity is TweetStats. It shows your tweets’ frequency by month and your tweets’ density by hour, day, and week.
Twitter is one of the most powerful platforms for building your online persona and brand. It is a matter of utilizing it in the right way to serve your goal.
Have you been using Twitter for personal branding lately? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.