How to Create Evangelists for Your Brand on Twitter
This is adapted from the eBook, From Tweet to Hired: How to Leverage Twitter to Advance Your Career, which includes contributions from Dan Schawbel and Gary Vaynerchuk.
So you have a Twitter profile that strengthens your personal brand. And your bio and background image exude your core values and align with your career goals. You’re tweeting useful links, tips, quotes, advice, and experiences that resonate with your target audience. You’re answering relevant questions and effectively retweeting those who add value to you. You’re ready to grow your network – but where do you start?
1. Define your goals
As Monica O’Brien, author of Social Pollination advises, “Too often people gravitate towards their friends and forget that the whole point is to meet new people! Have a goal. Think of who you need to know to reach your goal (i.e. finding a job) – and find those people.”
What is your goal? To attract new clients? Grow awareness for a cause? Land a job? Whatever the case, you’re going to want to engage the right people in the right way on Twitter. It’s time to make a splash at the global networking party.
2. Engage major players in your industry
Industry leaders are phenomenal resources to stay up to date with the latest trends. Twitter is unlike any other social platform in this regard. Compare it to being invited to a prestigious networking event with some of the most prominent, well-known players in your field. The benefits of connecting and “talking shop” with them are immeasurable. Twitter allows you to do this every day. Simply search their blog or website to find their Twitter username.
Leaders in your field are too busy to respond to shallow attempts to connect. So ask thoughtful questions, retweet their messages, and post meaningful comments on their content. After responding directly to their tweets a few times, they are likely to follow you or respond back. When they respond, all of their followers see your name, setting the stage for more meaningful connections.
3. Engage colleagues in your industry
Start by checking out a few of the major Twitter directories to find the relevant tweeters in your field. Maintain your relationships and lines of communication and eventually you will be familiar enough to ask for an endorsement, phone call, or contribution to their blog. Imagine how far recommendations from leaders and colleagues in your field can take you. There’s only one way to find out – find them and reach out to them.
4. Proactively join relevant conversations
Thousands of people in your field on Twitter are conversing with each other. These are conversations you want to join. Use Twitter search tools to monitor keywords in your industry. Automate these searches with a Twitter management app like TweetDeck.
Keep an eye out and start interacting. Research relevant hashtags to find conversations surrounding your industry. For example, at my company, we have saved searches for personal branding, online reputation management and social media. This allows us to connect become a part of conversations with like-minded people as they’re happening, and grow a relevant network around our services.
5. Engage people nearby
Connect with people in your area. There is no replacement for face-to-face connections, but many Twitter apps like TwitterLocal allow you to find relevant people in your area and initiate relationships with people nearby.
Do not simply follow every person with “Marketing” in their bio. You look like a spammer if you follow many people without having a somewhat equal ratio of followers. Instead, focus your efforts and make sure you truly connect with those you do interact with. A network of 150 people who appreciate your tweets is far more valuable than a network of ten thousand who have no idea who you are, and don’t care to find out.
You’re now on your way to growing a network of engaged Twitter followers. Along the way, don’t forget to build your thought capital, tweet useful links, tips, quotes, advice, and experiences that resonate with your followers, and retweet those who add value to you. Your goal is to grow an engaged network, not an irrelevant one.
7. Turn followers into evangelists
You’re now equipped to grow your following by finding and engaging with the relevant people on Twitter. In my next post, I’ll break down ways you can turn these new online connections into real, meaningful relationships, and transform everyday followers into proactive evangelists for your personal brand.
Before you go: have you completed a Twitter Audit to maximize your personal branding efforts on Twitter? Also, check out the four-step process laid out in From Tweet to Hired: How to Leverage Twitter to Advance Your Career. I guarantee it will help you strengthen your personal brand on Twitter, and it includes contributions from some of the greatest branders in the world including Dan Schawbel and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Good luck! Do you have any tips and suggestions that you use to grow a relevant network on Twitter?
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.