Are You Properly Utilizing Your Twitter Account?

Twitter advice for personal accounts

  • Use a photo. And know that if you’re wearing a distinctive accessory, people may not recognize you without it when they meet you in person.
  • Find thought leaders in your sector, both locally and internationally. Find ways to engage with them, particularly if you’re just starting out in your career. You never know where Twitter will take you.
  • Share content, but avoid the temptation to retweet without reading. Headlines can be very misleading; content is sometimes lame.
  • Research ahead of time. If you’re heading to a conference, read up on the event, speakers and other attendees beforehand. When you meet people in person, the ice will be broken.
  • Follow a live event on Twitter and see how being plugged into the stream changes the way you experience a sport, breaking news or a television show.
  • Be careful about linking your personal and professional lives. I don’t use the “my views are my own” statement in my Twitter bio—to me, it’s self-evident. I also don’t often use my account as a place to shill for work. I share content only when I think it’s fascinating and in line with my audience.

Twitter advice for corporate accounts

  • Be clear about who’s tweeting. It helps to put a human face on your activity while making it obvious whom to contact if someone has a question or concern.
  • Find content partners and mine their streams for complementary sector news, particularly if you’re getting started.
  • Develop lists and use them aggressively. I use lists to keep track of conversations while making sure I don’t miss anything important. Some of my lists are public; some aren’t.
  • Seek out new audiences. Are you interested in making international connections? Many consulates and embassies are on Twitter and eager to share news related to their home countries. They can also facilitate city visits.
  • Set limits on your time. Although I check in with Twitter each day for work, I don’t live there. Make sure you start something you can maintain.

Twitter advice for start-ups

Twitter is a bit different for startups. Here are some guidelines:

  • Register your start-up’s social handles, even if you’re miles away from needing them. Why pay for a name if you don’t have to? No start-up wants to incur unnecessary costs but when deciding on a name, the availability of URLs and social handles should be part of your decision-making process.
  • Create separate identities for your team and company. Your founder might run the company Twitter account, but it shouldn’t be her or his Twitter account. Social handles are too important to be tied to any one person.
  • Be stealthy, but transparent about what you’re doing. If you’re not ready to tweet, that’s fine, but tweet at least once to say you’re working toward a launch and invite people to follow for updates.
  • You can’t invent a hashtag without an audience. Join existing conversations when you’re starting out. When you’ve got more of an audience, customize your conversations with your customers and/or community.
  • It’s more than selling. Your company is more than your product and Twitter is a conversation. What can you contribute to industry-wide discussions? Do you have wisdom to share with other teams?

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