HR Pros: Build Your Personal Brand with Twitter

Twitter is the third most popular social media site in the world and can play an important role in building your personal brand. By establishing a Twitter presence, you create a network that helps you connect with relevant people, get eyes on content you’ve created, and have more influence in your field. Here are some tips for getting started on Twitter and using the platform productively.

  1. Decide What You Want Your Twitter to Be About

Authenticity is important when building your Twitter presence, but you should try to home in on how you want to present your personal brand before you launch into using it. For example, if you’re the CEO of a solar company, you might want your Twitter to focus on issues relating to your industry, such as sustainability, innovation, and energy. This doesn’t mean you can never tweet about anything else, but determining what you’re going to bring to the table content-wise can help you attract the right kind of users and avoid getting lost in an otherwise saturated sphere. Sometimes niche is better when it comes to building an online following.

  1. Don’t Be a Robot

Companies and business professionals often make the mistake of being too clinical on Twitter—in short, too boring. As a result, their followers mainly consist of bots and automatic follows from other unengaged users. Connecting with people requires more than just tweeting out article links once a day, and your content should portray personality if you want people to care about you as a brand. Use humor in your personal brand whenever you can and mix up your tweets’ formats regularly with things like images or videos. Don’t be afraid to inject more of you into your tweets—it’s your personal brand you’re trying to build, after all.

  1. Post Consistently

If you’re worried about coming up with content frequently, consider scheduling tweets in advance to ensure you stay on top of it. Services like Hootsuite and Buffer let you do that, making it easier to manage various social media accounts. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to schedule your tweets—Apple CEO Tim Cook rarely tweets and has an excellent Twitter presence, but his title does give him a bit of an advantage!

If you decide to schedule tweets, make sure it doesn’t affect your ability to be personable. Don’t schedule various tweets for the week and forget about Twitter—keep it in your mind so when something that might interest people pops into your head, you can tweet it out in the moment. You may also want to weigh in on more current trends, including daily trending hashtags, as this will boost your engagement and relevance, especially while your audience is still small.

  1. Time Your Tweets Right

Certain time periods generate more engagement than others on your tweets. To be more successful on Twitter, learn what these times are and make the most of them. For example, early morning hours tend to generate the most clicks, but evenings are better for getting favorites and retweets, according to a 4.8 million-tweet research study conducted by Buffer. Of course, tweeting isn’t an exact science, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what time periods your audience reacts the most in.

  1. Learn from the Success of Other Twitter Users

Identify successful people and brands in your field to learn more about building your online presence and figure out what works. You don’t have to copy what others do, but mimicking their style a little, or even getting some inspiration from them, can help you better establish your brand in a way that’s constructive. You’ll notice that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for building an effective Twitter presence, but most successful users and brands choose vulnerability and authenticity over pushing their authority.

Twitter regularly updates its “Success Stories” page—keep up with it to see what’s working well for people and brands, and pick up some timely tips. In the meantime, here are a couple of examples of great Twitter presences.

Successful Twitter Influencers

Tesla CEO’s bio simply says, “Tesla, SpaceX, Tunnels & OpenAI,” and he almost exclusively sticks to those topics in his tweets, while also offering semi-relevant hot takes such as “Rollercoasters are awesome.” Musk’s personable approach to his customers and Twitter followers adds to the appeal of his personal brand. He has 7.6 million followers, despite following only 40 people—so don’t expect a follow back from him anytime soon, unless you’ve joined NASA.

UK-based smoothie company Innocent is an excellent example of a good Twitter presence because it doesn’t try to push its products much. Instead, it opts to tweet about charity efforts it’s involved in, chatting with its customers, and weighing in on what might happen at the Oscars this year. The company recently used its following to help a woman find a certain type of wool to finish knitting a blanket. No word yet on whether she found it with the help of Innocent’s 268,000 followers, but fingers crossed!

Developing Your Brand While Maintaining Security

Even though generating a Twitter presence for your personal brand might seem daunting at first, using these five steps can help you get started and hopefully find success just around the corner. Also, remember to use caution as you create your personal brand on the internet—stay safe and keep your personal information private. Following a few simple safety steps helps you stave off threats and keep your Twitter use beneficial to your personal brand. And don’t forget to monitor who is following you and liking your posts, as hackers are always trying to target users and spam is prolific on sites like Twitter.

Photo Credit: Tom Raftery Flickr via Compfight cc

Be The Influencer You Admire

“You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Influencer. This is a word bandied about quite a bit. It’s usually associated with someone in a leadership, management or pop culture position. Being labeled an influencer has a positive connotation and it’s a compliment. It means the person with this brand has earned his/her stripes and is now being recognized for their knowledge and strengths, but along with this acknowledgment comes a huge responsibility. Specifically, the responsibility lies in how someone wields this position.

Not exactly the opposite of influencer, but different in subtle and meaningful ways, is the manipulator. Many people define this person as someone who acts to gain an advantage for the sole benefit of him/herself. When comparing the two, influencers, elicit a profoundly more positive opinion. In a business setting, influencers are likely, people in a leadership role with oversight of other individuals. However, there are plenty of situations where someone wasn’t a member of leadership, initially anyway, but through dedication to his/her cause rose to the influencer distinction (and more).

Two such people are Crystal Lee Sutton a.k.a. “Norma Rae” and Lech Walesa. So what did these people do that brands them an influencer rather than manipulator? They used their voice and actions to find a better way for the many.

Influencing For The Good

In the case of Ms. Sutton, she fought for the rights of herself and fellow co-workers who endured hard work and long hours for very low wages that were not in keeping with the labor laws at that period of time. She symbolically became the voice of the people within her organization, and with that she galvanized her co-workers to unite and fight for the rights due them.

For Lech Walesa, he fought for the rights of skilled labor in communist Poland. He rallied his co-workers to unite and deny the factions that set out to deny their labor rights and benefits. He used his influence to gain advantages for the disenfranchised and for that he was later recognized and elected the President of Poland.

Ms. Sutton and Lech Walesa are two people who bridled their motivation and used their influence for the betterment of many.

Thinking back to recent history, there are many stories about influencers who used their voice and actions to advance mankind or simply to advance the mission of their organization. Often times, these people were in leadership roles and because of this, could gather an audience by request.

One person who stands out this way is Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, who uses his notoriety and influence to create programs for veterans suffering from PTSD and young adults in need of a job. As Shultz states, “Success is best when it’s shared.”

Not Always In The Spotlight

The people I mention have all done great things to advance improvements in their particular situations, but what about the people who have not gained fame for their ability to influence positively? Through my own business dealings I know many. They’re not the people you read about on The Huffington Post or in Time, but they are people who use their influence carefully, skillfully and with intent to do good rather than harm.

Be Mindful

Being able to reach people through the spoken word or with actions is a very powerful statement, and as I mentioned, it comes with tremendous responsibility. Often times, the best way to inspire is to live beyond the spoken word and influence by example.

Organizing your strategy and clarifying intentions is helpful before you take action. It’s important to recognize the difference between intentional manipulation and stalwart influencing. Next time you’re in a position to use your influence, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I doing this for my gain or the betterment of other people, or my organization?
  • How will everyone benefit from my words and actions?
  • Have I thought this through carefully?
  • Will anyone/thing be harmed by the outcome?
  • What approach will be most effective without intimidating people?

By addressing these questions, you’ve examined your own intentions. People who want to, truly, cast influence without the effect of manipulation, consider it second nature to contemplate this before taking action. People who influence responsibly are not instilling guilt, being confrontational, withdrawing support, or making people feel “on guard” or trapped to acquiesce. Responsible influencers prefer to provide substantive information to help build their case and implement reasoning to help people understand. Though the end-result may benefit the influencer, others will, also, benefit and gain from listening and choosing to take the suggested path.

Everyone has the ability to influence, and utilizing your emotional intelligence can be very helpful in steering your approach and guiding your moral compass. Just be the influencer you respect. If you see the good, others will likely, as well.

photo credit: Osaka – Umeda Sky Building via photopin (license)

#Nifty50 & Showing #Gratitude Social Media Best Practice

Today, I have two amazing reasons to be grateful: Cheryl K. Burgess (@ckburgess) and Pam Ross (@pamelamaeross) have nominated me for the “#Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012” and “The Five HR People You Meet on Twitter,” respectively.

Social media is fast and always changing. The pace of it all can be distracting. But it is essential to take a step back and take time to express gratitude — better yet, #gratitude. Showing #gratitude is a best-practice in social media. Here’s why:

  • It humanizes the business and separates the business aspect from the person behind the business.
  • Stronger relationships are built through appreciation and positivity toward one another.
  • #Gratitude is one of the reasons why social media business is developing rapidly as people connect with each other at different levels!

I’m just as much a mentee as a passionate mentor, I am learning much, much, much from all the generations every day — this whole business of social media works on the foundation of “Reverse Mentoring.” It is an honor to be nominated to these lists and recognized by other mentors in the same business. I heart Social! I’m very grateful to the amazing friendships, weekly inspiration and connections I have gained along the way.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I never take my valued relationships for granted. This made my week!

Image Credit: WoodleyWonderWorks on Flickr