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How can you Tweet well? That’s the perennial question that increasingly irks the professional class. The dilemma is: we know that everyone is on Twitter and if we want to be in the leading pack we too need to be tweeting… and tweeting well.

However often we don’t actually know what to say on Twitter or how we can engage with people or how we can grow our following? Well the best way to answer that is to look at some professional services firms that do Twitter well. From looking at strong professional tweeters we can begin to understand the simple principles of tweeting best practice.

Let’s look outside the professional services, for an example we can learn from – Open Europe, an innovative and forward thinking think tank based in London, a stone’s throw from Westminster. The think tank produces research and analysis on European policy and has emerged as a preeminent voice on the economic crisis in Europe.

Open Europe runs a small operation and is a made up of a small team of expert researchers. However, the modest make up of Open Europe belies the potency of the think tank: the research firm packs a heavyweight punch among journalists, commentators, businesses, banks, politicians, policy makers and has become the go to authority when it comes to European affairs.

A central strand to Open Europe’s success has been its Twitter account which it has used with great fluency and effectiveness. The results speak for themselves: 13,335 followers.

The first thing to say is that Open Europe’s Twitter account passes the first impressions and aesthetics test. Its page has a humorous background, a selection of photos, a nice Twitter picture and has a tidy and simple biography. These aspects are personal and welcoming and should help to stop browser bounce and draw the user in.

The second thing to say is that Open Europe maintains a quality news stream that consistently includes strong content. The newsfeed is the principle means through which the research team interacts with its target audience and by regularly broadcasting the links to their latest research, breaking news and fresh analysis, interested parties are kept right up to date.

Ostensibly Open Europe understands the needs of its clients and target audience and by targeting those needs (breaking news and analysis) the think tank has cemented its Twitter presence as a thought leader.

Importantly the tweets are not only informative but they are loose, friendly, frequent and accessible.

So what can professional services firms learn from this?

  1. To start with, first impressions and strong content is vital good tweeting.
  2. Professional services firms should tweet fairly regularly; at least 3 times a day.
  3. They also need to tweet content that is accessible and informative; that means no dry corporate stuff.
  4. Professionals need to tweet facts, news and information that is relevant to their target audience.
  5. Lastly, be loose and chill out: there’s no reason why a firm couldn’t tweet about sport, the weather, the traffic, a joke, an inspiring quote or what they’re up to. By doing that you will let the firm’s true personality come through.

All in all Open Europe is not infallible but it does do Twitter very well and professionals can learn a lot from the think tank.

This article was written by Elephant Creative Associate Brian Spencer.

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