Yes, those pithy 140 character manifestos are the heart of the matter, but those whom you choose to follow and those who choose to follow you are of equal import. Each component constitutes your brand, so you need to think before you tweet.
Twitter offers a unique opportunity to promote your brand and your expertise but it is not just a one way street. Well it could be, but to use such a vast social media network just to promote yourself is a huge underutilization of the tool. Twitter is also a listening device and information filter. You can find the latest research and the response to that research. You can identify trends and position yourself vis à vis that intelligence accordingly. By focusing your tweets you can become an area issue expert – a thought leader – and connect with a highly targeted group that is directly relevant to your interests. These connections can be invaluable sources for new ideas and alternative, out-of-the-box ways of thinking.
Again, the beauty of Twitter is that you’re not just telling the world you are an expert. By tweeting in an authentic and transparent manner, people will take note and begin to follow you. They will find you, and Twitter is good about alerting you as to who is on your trail. I know because Twitter keeps emailing me about people who are following this blog. Even more, Twitter let’s you review your “follower’s” profile. Then you can decide if you want to be followed by that individual. If not, you can block them or, if you think you’re being spammed, alert Twitter and the powers behind the Tweets will investigate.
Once you have okay’d a follower, it’s easy to follow them in turn. However, I would caution against this until you are sure that they add something positive, credible and equally authentic to your network.
This is not a popularity contest where the Tweeter with the most followers wins. Remember, your Twitter network is very transparent and you will quickly lose credibility if it’s perceived you’re just racking up numbers and not monitoring content quality.
In the same way, don’t you start following any dog’s body under the sun. Make sure there is value added there for both you and your followers.
Last, but far from least Tweet. You need to contribute to the dialog. You have an opportunity to demonstrate your unique insights . If you provide valuable content, and share links to interesting, on-topic articles and blog posts you will gain influential followers. If your Twitter “followers” find your content useful and insightful, they may re-tweet you, broadening your network and reinforcing your position as a thought leader.
You, too, should re-tweet. What you choose to re-tweet indicates what you find interesting or provocative and becomes part of your brand. Plus, it signifies that you are aware that you do not know everything and are open to learning more. Other Tweeters like to be recognized for their expertise also – and the more you share the more people will be willing to share with you.
The ‘twittersphere’ can be a rich medium if you cultivate it with care.