Twitter can be an incredibly effective tool for positioning you and your business as a market-leading company and expert source of information. Creating that position as an expert requires time and patience. The key methods to do so on Twitter include creating a personality, becoming involved in conversations and interacting within (and beyond) your industry.
Have a strategy
Engaging on Twitter should be an element of your overall communications plan. You should have a Twitter strategy aimed at achieving a specific objective. For instance, it could be you want to be known as the most respected business consultant in the construction industry. Your strategy should encompass the type content you will share, your tone and the type of audience you want to connect with and influence.
Each Tweet may only be 140 characters long but your Twitter feed is a live, real-time auto-biography. Personality on Twitter really counts and simply trying to sell or promote doesn't work effectively. Telling your own and your company's story, in your own words, creates a sense that there's a real person behind the keyboard. The internet is a difficult place to gain trust but Twitter allows you to develop a personality which, in turn, helps to build that trust.
Learn to listen
Many of our conversations now occur online but the art of conversation is older than the internet. There are two sides to communication and the most important part is listening. Interact with your followers, follow them back and respond to their comments. Engagement is a two-way process in both the on and offline worlds. Be interactive and you'll find your followers are far more engaged with your story.
Interact with influencers
Search out others in the same, or similar, fields and follow and interact with them. Comment on relevant issues, stories or new topics. This approach helps to place you as a leader or expert in your own field and it can even create some surprising and possibly lucrative partnership opportunities.
Connect with media
Many journalists use Twitter and the platform offers a great way to connect and engage with them. You can do this by following them, commenting on and sharing their stories and also messaging them from time to time with relevant information. Not only could these interactions lead to possible media opportunities, it may also help you reach a new audience that's relevant to your industry that's following the journalists you're interacting with.
Manage your reputation
By monitoring your mentions on Twitter you can also deal with any negative issues relating to your brand. Customer complaints on Twitter can be damaging but monitoring for these (and having a strong presence on Twitter) allows you to respond quickly. Ideally, a direct message and a personal response to the issue can be the best way to get these negative conversations offline. With the problem resolved the customer may well become a great advertising tool, impressed by your response and helpfulness.
Twitter can be a powerful tool for positioning yourself as recognised expert and there are many things you can do to get noticed, convey a particular message about yourself and build strong and beneficial business relationships.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of 'From Unknown To Expert', a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders and influencers in their field. www.UnknownToExpert.com. Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.