• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • 30-Minute Brand Building for Twitter

    2535304529_6ecabc7839We all know that in order to use Twitter as an effective branding tool for yourself or your company, you must“engage the community” and “join the conversation.” But when you’re learning how to use a new technology platform, it’s probably not clear how exactly to go about “engaging” people.

    Here’s a 5-step guide that walks you through exactly what you need to do – spending 30 minutes or less per day branding yourself on Twitter.

    Tweet useful information (time spent per day: 5 minutes)

    By far, the best way to engage your Twitter audience is by sharing fun, useful, or witty advice that will help them solve their problems. It’s fast to come up with these – use quotes, facts from your industry, etc. I would also take advice from my blog posts. (You do have a blog, right?) In this post alone, I could probably draw out 10 bite-sized 140 character tips about how to build a brand on Twitter. If you can write 3-5 per day (that’s giving you a minute or more per tweet), you are way ahead of the curve.

    To keep the process simple, batch your tips and advice. I use TweetLater to schedule my timeless tweets, and space them out evenly throughout the day. HINT: The most active Twitter days are Monday through Wednesday and the peak Twitter times are early afternoon (noon, specifically). You could spend 25-35 minutes a week writing advice or 5 minutes a day to take advantage of this form of engagement.

    Answer questions (time spent per day: 5 minutes)

    I use Twitter’s search engine to find questions in my area of expertise. Let’s say I wanted to brand myself as an MBA Application Consultant. I would use the search term “GMAT ?” (that’s GMAT space question mark) to find people who are about to enter the MBA application process and are asking a question related to applications. I purposely picked the term “GMAT” because anyone tweeting about the GMAT is at the beginning of the application process, which gives me time to establish a relationship with them before they actually need what I’m selling.

    When you answer the person’s question with your expertise, they will go to your profile and see that you’re an MBA Application Consultant and you are tweeting useful advice for them, and most likely follow you.

    You can subscribe to any search terms you want via RSS by using “Feed for this Query” on the right sidebar. Since you only want to spend five minutes in this area, it’s really important to choose your queries wisely. The trick is to a) pick a search term that is very specific and b) include the question mark – this particular query only produces two to three items per day. Subscribe to a couple of these searches, and you’ve still got a manageable workload of questions to answer.

    Share relevant links (time spent per day: 10 minutes)

    The process I use is so simple I’m amazed how few people have discovered it. If you use Google Reader, the reader comes with a “blog” of items you’ve shared. To find your “blog,” click on “Shared Items” in the left sidebar. A message in your main window says “Your shared items are available publicly at this web page.” Click on the link to find the blog, and then click on “Atom Feed” on the right sidebar to get the feed for your “blog.”

    Now, use Twitterfeed to automatically post this feed to your Twitter account. I set mine up to check the feed every 30 minutes and to use the Title of the Post with a link.

    I have over 200 feeds in my reader, and I can go through them in less than ten minutes per day. How? I scan the titles. In the right-hand corner, you have a choice to view your feeds in “Expanded” or “List” – use the “List” format to scan titles quickly for the most relevant headlines your Twitter audience would care about. When I find something I think might be good, I read it, then hit “Share” at the bottom of the post.

    The post shows up in my Twitter stream within the hour. I’ve nearly doubled my number of followers by implementing this strategy, and I receive numerous retweets every day, which gives my personal brand more exposure and reach.

    2967021877_75663ee98a

    Find people (time spent per day: 5 minutes)

    If you are selling a product or service and trying to find your target audience or industry peers, look no further than Twellow and Twubble. Twellow is a directory that groups Twitter users into categories based on their profiles and what they tweet. Use it to find thought leaders in your area of expertise. Twubble is an algorithm that makes suggestions for who you should follow based on who you’re already following.

    If you set a goal to follow more people – say 10 people a day – you can easily accomplish it by spending five minutes a day on either of these sites.

    Respond to people (time spent per day: 5 minutes)

    I probably don’t have to explain why it is essential to respond to the people who are reaching out to you. The best way I’ve found to quickly respond to people on Twitter is using TweetDeck. It’s easy to set up and I get notified almost instantly when someone writes any tweet that has @monicaobrien in it. For those who don’t want the constant notifications, you can configure the client easily in the settings.2573812845_16e5d88fe1_o

    I respond to just about everything. People who retweet my posts, people who ask me questions, or people who comment on one of my tweets. By spending five minutes a day interacting with your already engaged audience, you can maintain your current following and grow your brand quickly through word of mouth.

    Author:

    Monica O’Brien writes career advice for young professionals at her blog, Twenty Set. You can also follow her on Twitter (@monicaobrien).

    avatar

    Monica O’Brien is an MBA candidate with years of experience in business, strategy, and technology. She currently consults start-ups in the Chicago area on establishing their social media strategies. Monica attends the Chicago Booth School of Business (at the University of Chicago), currently ranked the #1 MBA program in the country by BusinessWeek, and is one of the 2007 Chicago Business Fellows. She concentrates in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Monica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Physics, from Truman State University. Her blog, Twenty Set, gives career advice to young professionals. Monica writes candidly about her own experiences. She has also written for Mashable and ProBlogger, and has been featured in major publications like the Christian Science Monitor.

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    14 comments on “30-Minute Brand Building for Twitter
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Lorne Pike says:

      Great ideas here. Some I’ve tried, and some I’ve never thought of, but look forward to trying. I just followed you on Twitter, and look forward to seeing you in action there! (I’m the follower who shows up as lornepike!)

      Thanks again for this. Have a great day, Monica!

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      DarylG says:

      Love the Twitterfeed tip. I added the “Note in Reader” bookmarker in Firefox to be able to add items with just a click.
      Thanks

      @spirit20 on Twitter

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Rebecca says:

      Great tips Monica. I don’t know if it’s because I know you, but I thought this post about Twitter was much better than most. Anyway, I’ll throw in something else — instead of Twitter search, I use monitter – you can track three different terms passively (so for instance, I track terms like “modite” and “alice” for my personal brand and company) since it automatically updates – no hitting refresh and you don’t have to do multiple searches. Enjoy!

    4. avatar
      EXPERT

      These are really interesting ideas! I plan to give them all a try and see what works as I build my brand. Another tool that I’ve used, which is similar to what Rebecca mentioned, is TweetGrid which automatically updates new tweets on each term you specify. I’m curious as to what your goals are with building your brand. Are you trying to find new opportunities, new contacts, just genuinely trying to help people out, etc? Have you gotten any significant results by using these methods? Thanks for the great post!

    5. avatar
      EXPERT
      Dan Schawbel says:

      This is a fantastic post Monica. Obviously people retweeted it a lot on Twitter. I think the system you have in place works very well. I like to use Twitter to get answers to my questions, to connect with new people and to give value or something interesting to my followers.

    6. avatar
      EXPERT

      Monica –

      I agree with Dan…fantastic post. Building an online brand reputation is not as difficult or complicated as some might think. All it takes is a little discipline and regular daily care…just like watering a plant. Twitter is the potted soil, the air and sun are all in the community you find and create, your shared content and thinking are the seed…in short time, you’ll have the flowering plant. But be careful of over-watering…you could “water-down” your reputation. Keep it short and keep it focus. And express your gratitudes along the way! @twitter.com/kennedycs

    7. avatar
      EXPERT
      Maria Duron says:

      Brilliant post! Solid and helpful information that provides practical tips to someone wanting to put forth a workable twitter strategy.

      Someone on twitter sent me this link which provides 14 other tools you can utilize for twitter. I am anxious to hear you thoughts and insights on these. Do you utilize any of these right now? Or, your thoughts would be helpful if you have a chance to review any of these. http://hyder.me/social-media/14-tools-of-highly-effective-twitter-users/

    8. avatar
      EXPERT
      yinka olaito says:

      Thanks Monica, I will appreciate a further post to help beginners on the use o twitter

    9. avatar
      EXPERT

      Thanks for the ideas. I will share them at a presentation next Friday.

    10. avatar
      EXPERT
      Jeff Baas says:

      Thanks for the great tips on using Twitter. I’ve been wanting to start connecting on Twitter, but have always been intimidated by the perception that it would eat hours and hours of time that could otherwise be spent more profitably.

      You clearly show, though, that branding on Twitter doesn’t have to be the full-time job that other writers leave the impression that it is. Thanks a lot!

    11. avatar
      EXPERT

      Thanks to everyone for the comments, and I apologize for not responding to these earlier. I really appreciate the people who shared their own techniques for marketing on Twitter. I shared a lot about what I do, but I feel like it’s a small thing to give in comparison to what I learned in the comments section. Thanks again!

    12. avatar
      EXPERT
      krissy knox says:

      Thank you! You’ve not only shown us how to find things quicker, helping us save time, and to stay true to our brand — but you’ve helped us give our followers information that will be relevant and enjoyable to them! Bless you for this! I’m going to use it!

      krissy knox 🙂
      follow me on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy

    13. avatar
      EXPERT
      Linsy says:

      I like you advice very much and it is useful. I am a freshman on using twitter to build my network. I think your method is helpful for me. I will try it later. could you recommend me some more nice tools for twitter? thanks a lot!

      Linsy

      Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/mhlfly

    14. avatar
      EXPERT
      marci says:

      I had heard of Twellow but didn’t know what features it offered. And TweetLater was a new one for me. Thanks for these branding tips.

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    2. […] How to use Twitter: 1) Tweet useful information that is worth sharing. Add to the community. Use keywords whenever possible in your tweets because people are searching all the time for stuff. 2) Where to find your information? Set up Google Alerts, Email and RSS feeds that will automatically send you fresh & relevant content to Tweet. Set up a RSS feed for a Twitter Search. 3) Retweet (RT) other people’s Tweets. 4) Answer questions using @replies ( Eg: @JoshFialkoff ) 5) Use hashtags when appropriate. (eg: place #smx at the end of your tweet when SMX Conference is happening, and you’re Tweeting about it). Hashtags are commonly used when trade shows are happening. That way, everyone at the show can easily find who else is Tweeting. 6) Use a URL shortening service like TinyURL or Zi.ma. The thing I like about Zi.ma is that you can track the # of views. 7) Be consistent. Make it a point to use Twitter a few minutes in the morning, and a few minutes each evening. Monica Obrien wrote a great post about allocating a few minutes everyday to 5 specific Twitter tasks. […]

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    4. […] Now, I have over 200 feeds in my Google Reader. I give basically anyone who communicates with me in any way a chance, whether through commenting or sending me a message on Twitter. I add feeds to my reader without fear, because I can scan 500 posts, pick out and read the best 10 (based on titles), and share the most relevant 5 on Twitter and my blog in about 10 minutes. […]

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    7. […] Jacob Share, @jacobshare: Try to help people with your expertise as much as possible. Not just your followers either, reach out to other people asking questions across Twitter and make the introduction with the gift of an answer from an expert. For more, read Monica O’Brien’s great article here on the Personal Branding Blog, 30-Minute Brand Building for Twitter. […]

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    11. […] Try to help people with your expertise as much as possible. Not just your followers either, reach out to other people asking questions across Twitter and make the introduction with the gift of an answer from an expert. For more, read Monica O’Brien’s great article on the Personal Branding Blog, 30-Minute Brand Building for Twitter. […]

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