A three step strategy for sharing expertise on Twitter: How professional firms can use Twitter to position expert brands.
Are you a little leery of jumping into Twitter? I think that’s a common feeling among many high-end attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers, and technical consultants that we’ve spoken to over the past few months. It’s not that these professionals don’t have anything valuable to say, they’re just not sure how best to get started.
All you need to do is jump online and post what you had for breakfast, right? Easy there… let’s take a step back first.
Let’s pretend for a moment you don’t need me to convince you why you should be tweeting and that you’ve already established a solid set of goals for utilizing Twitter with your branding and marketing team. Let’s assume after a long, focused discussion with those teams, your vision looks something like this:
1. Expand your network online to create top of mind awareness of your firm
2. Establish or reinforce your firm’s areas of expertise
3. Attract the top talent in your space by showcasing your firm’s thinking
You’ll want to spend some time designing a vision specifically for you, but that’s a good direction to begin implementing your Twitter strategy. From here, nearly everything you’ll need to get started can be included in one of the three following categories: Start, Share, and Expand.
1. Start – Basic recommendations to get you tweeting:
- Choose your handle. Visit Twitter.com to select your own unique handle. It will be your username, and your posts will show up with “@” in front of them. Pick something like your name or your company’s name. I’m @joshmiles. You can also upload your own avatar or photo and customize your page.
- Explore different user interface options. You don’t have to be on Twitter.com to use their service. Tweeting functionality is built into various websites, smart phones, and desktop applications. One of my favorites is a free desktop application, which has a companion iPhone app called TweetDeck. It allows you to manage tweets in groups, shorten links, post photos, and even allows for multi-account support.
- Make smart posts. In general, stick to what you know. This doesn’t mean you have to be robotic, but if you’re tweeting about sushi more that you tweet about your area of expertise, some followers may lose interest.
- Schedule your tweeting. Choose specific times in the day or specific days in the week to spend some quality time on Twitter. It could be 5 minutes or 5 hours a day, depending on how Twitter best fits into your overall communications strategy. Bottom line – decide how important it is to your own strategy, and get in the habit of making regular updates.
- Follow smart people, or anyone you like for that matter. But since we’re talking about building up the reputation of your firm, be smart about who you choose to follow. Clients, vendors, coworkers, and even other experts are great people to follow.
2. Share – What to tweet:
- Share your firm’s thought leadership content. One obvious use of Twitter is to share your firm’s ideas, links, and articles. Just remember: share, don’t “sell.” Users follow people for various reasons, but few will continue to follow users who post blatant sales messages.
- Share great posts, blogs, etc. Anytime you read a great relevant article, post a link to it. You can also forward other users’ posts to your own followers, called a “ReTweet.”
- Don’t limit your thinking to what you can fit in 140 characters or less. You can link to longer content such as websites, videos, blogs, etc.
- Company Blogs. Speaking of blogs, every posting at your firm would be greatly complemented by a Twitter mention.
- Email Newsletters. Do you have an e-newsletter? Provide occasional links for email newsletter sign-ups.
- News, Events, and Awards. Twitter is a great platform to make announcements, share news, awards, mentions, etc.
- Have Fun. If used in good balance, Twitter is a great way to showcase some of your firm’s culture or some of your personal interests. But like we discussed earlier, don’t get carried away on the personal stuff.
3. Expand – Don’t stop there…
- #Hashtag Keywords. For some topics, you may want to “tag” your post the with the pound sign such as #branding or #followfriday – click here to learn more about #hashtags.
- Stay on top of your account. Keep an eye on who’s following you, and choose who makes sense to follow in return. Find other users who talk about similar keywords, and consider following them as well.
- Hello my name is @joshmiles. Add your handle as another piece of contact info: email signature, email newsletter, blog, website. If it makes sense, consider even adding your handle to print materials (business cards, etc.) or sharing it in articles, presentations, or networking events.
Remember to commit some time to discussing your goals and strategies before jumping right in, but don’t sit back for too long. Being an active Twitter user may be one of the best ways to position your brand as an expert firm.