Q: While I can certainly appreciate the value of Twitter to a start-up, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of ‘‘noise’’ there is. Are there practical ways to build a brand on Twitter, resulting in relationships that are more meaningful than the random favoring of tweets and a seemingly endless competition to see who can get the most followers?
A: It’s understandable to be overwhelmed by the noise. One might liken it to attending conventions as a member of a large organization. On the first visit it can seem like you are alone in a sea of chattering people who all know each other; it’s tough to know what to say when, and where to say it. In truth, if we could pull back the camera to look more broadly, there are likely many other people feeling like you.
After attending a few times, you not only know the way around the convention presentations and cocktail parties where social conversations happen, but also the trade show floor where business gets done. Plus, you have identified the people who want to focus on subjects you care about, and where they cluster.
From a practical standpoint on Twitter, consider first of all that there are conversations related to your niche happening somewhere. You must hang around long enough to learn who is having them and how to find them. Then introduce yourself and your brand to the conversation, in that order. Plus, keep hanging around and engage in the conversation.
For the advanced maneuvers, put yourself in a leadership position, either elected or volunteer. Not only does this lend credibility to your voice, but you will have reasons to position that voice in the broader conversation. Finally, if you can’t find a leadership structure in which to engage, create one. If the space you want to claim is viable, you will be in a position to draw your newfound followers together.
Mike Peake, writer, Huffpost.com/mike-peake, www.Bymikepeake.com
About the author
Mike Porter, director, Master of Business Communication Program; University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business