Nov 12 '12
If you’re on Twitter you could be an influencer… what, you mean someone might actually be reading what you write? Well, no… the reality is that we all go into Twitter with the hope of becoming widely read, influential and building our organisational (and personal) profile… why else bother? Clearly, becoming an influencer (and by that we mean building your brand sufficient that people look out for what you say, read it, reply, interact and retweet) is an important motive but, alas, just because you tweet or have a Twitter account it doesn’t mean you necessarily influence others. If only it was easy as that!
There’s obviously a lot to gain from being an influential, go-to Tweeter: influential Tweeters command a big online crowd. They drive retweets, ‘@mentions’ and ‘@replies’. They drive conversation and may even trend. And with this will follow a growth in followers. And with this they should enjoy a commensurate growth in brand awareness, a more humanised brand, a clear online identity and a measure of real time personality.
With all this social interaction it’s only natural that your digital activism should convert into business growth of some form or another. So who wouldn’t want to be an influential Tweeter? I’m sure a great many… But how do you actually become an influential voice on the Twittersphere?
Well before we explain we have a word of warning: you can’t just enrol on the Twitter ranks and expect to become an influencer over night. To be become an influential Tweeter you need to tweet consistently with style, timing, potency and consistency over many months and years. Like anything, building a strong Twitter presence requires graft and hard work.
So… still interested? If so, here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming an influential Tweeter:
- Get on Twitter
- Make your Twitter page open, engaging and up-to-date. This will show that you’re following the curve if not ahead of it.
- Craft a Tweeting strategy and align that strategy to your business objectives. So decide: how often will you post? What subject matter will you generally post about? What deals and promotions will you offer? Will you just broadcast mindlessly or in an open and personal manner? Will you have a contingency plan in case someone sends off an off-hand Tweet? Who will you follow?
- Identify and follow:
– Your clients and potential clients – they are your target audience.
– Identify and follow your competitors and the other makers and shakers in your industry at home and abroad. You can learn from others, make contacts and even collaborate.
– Identify and follow industry commentators, gatekeepers, politicians, economists, journalists and opinion formers. You can network with, learn from and engage with this powerful section of the Twittersphere.
- Once you’ve built a solid base of Twitter people to follow start to listen to what people are saying. Engage with others. Share news. Tweet fresh content. Do deals and offer promotions. Tweet funny content. Post pictures. Commit to coming across as personable and approachable.
- Tweet consistently on an on-topic, niche subject matter (presumably related to your business) – by doing this you can show your followers, clients and would-be-clients that you are completely grounded in the subject matter that you specialise in; and that you have a deep knowledge in this area. From that position you can begin to influence specifically on that topic. Then naturally people will come to you on Twitter and then, we can presume, sales should follow.
- Always remember the 80-20 rule – Twitter is like a round the clock networking event; a breakfast club, business lunch and after-hours drinks rolled into one on a permanent time loop. But let me ask: would you run up to someone at a networking event and hand them a business card? Highly unlikely. So as a general rule of thumb Tweet 80% non-sales content that is personal, engaging and informative and then Tweet 20% sales related content.
- Finally, if you have a website, blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ account make sure that they’re all consistent and follow the same theme. We will look at this in more depth in a later post but it is of paramount importance that you maintain a consistent look and feel across your various digital platforms.
If you follow this simple guide you could soon find yourself as a go-to Tweeter and a source of reliable and authoritative information. To give you more of an idea of what we’re talking about here’s a list of ten Tweeters who influence:
- Knight Frank LLP (@knightfrank) – global property consultants Tweet about property and the property market. They are a go to voice on Twitter if you want to know about the property market movements.
- Mourne Seafood (@mourneseafood) – Belfast-based restaurant that Tweets about the latest food news and recipes. The go to people for fresh and exciting recipes and health tips.
- Open Europe (@OpenEurope) – this London-based think tank Tweets all the breaking news to do with Europe. These guys have their finger on the pulse of Europe – so if you want to know what’s going on in Brussels then these are the guys to follow.
- Eversheds Trainees (@LegalTrainee) – these guys are part of Eversheds global law firm and Tweet about the stories of students who are currently training to be a solicitor. So if you want to know about the law and the legal qualification process this is where to go.
- The Merchant Hotel (@MerchantHotel) – this Belfast-based 5-star hotel Tweets about anything and everything which projects the image of a personable and welcoming hotel. A real source for information on wines and cocktails.
- Riverview Law (@RiverviewLaw) – Riverview Law is an innovative and forward thinking business in the legal market that is pushing the way law is practiced. They Tweet content that leads with the bleeding edge of progress in the legal sphere. They are the big time authority to follow if you want to know where law is going.
- Cambridge Satchel Co. (@CamSatchelCo) – this Cambridge-based company makes hand-made leather satchels and Tweets about fashion and fashion news. These are the people to follow if you want to know about the latest in fashion.
- DC Shoes (@dcshoes) – this American based shoe and apparel company Tweets about fashion, skateboarding and youth culture. They post interesting and personable content. Follow these guys if you want to keep pace with the youth shoe scene.
- Starbucks UK (@StarbucksUK) – a big multi-national that Tweets like a start-up. Follow these guys if you want to know about coffee, the latest flavours and breaking deals.
- J’adore Vintage (@jadorevintage1) – this is a vintage clothing company in Manchester that Tweets with style and class. Follow these guys if you want to know the latest in vintage fashion.
Well there you go – how to influence on Twitter and ten companies who do. So what’s left for you to do but to go out and just do it!?
There’s another important element to growing your Twitter influence: your Twitter feed shouldn’t be seen as an island, entire of itself. Rather it should be one among many digital tools that gives you a platform and a voice. you should have a number of mutually interested and mutually reinforcing social media islands. You also need consistency across all digital platforms. Same font, colouring etc.
But there’s another key ingredient behind their Tweeting success: they have identified and stuck to a niche topic. They don’t Tweet in a manic scatter gun manner – they’ve picked a subject-matter and stuck to it. By picking a niche topic and sticking with it you can build a Twitter reputation as a go-to-source of reliable and authoritative information.
By doing this you can show your followers, clients and would-be-clients that you are completely grounded in the subject matter that you specialise in. From that position you can begin to influence.
Author: Brian Spencer