I’m often asked how I built a 300,000 follower Twitter account from scratch, without even using my name. Corporate communications types, television producers, others ask what’s the secret, and how can I (or my company) do it?
First, let’s take a step back. It’s important to remember that social media - once an afterthought for many a company - should now be an integrated part of your overall communications and marketing strategy. People today are busier than ever, over scheduled and pressed for time. The speed and directness of a tweet or Facebook post simply can't be beat. lt has disrupted - and is faster than - television and newswires, an astonishing thing. Social media, now an essential tool for journalists, companies, even governments, ceased to be an afterthought quite some time ago.
Aside from speed, social media is even more advantageous when you consider how more and more people consume information today: on a small screen - an iPhone or iPad, for example. You're encouraged, if not forced, to think in terms of fewer words. Get right to the point. Less is more.
That’s where Twitter comes in. I started @WestWingReport in the White House press room many years ago because I saw it as disruptive, lightening fast and targeted. The only people who follow are those with an interest in knowing what’s going on in the White House, and they have to go out of their way to opt in. By the way, I prefer to call my followers customers, because I serve them every day, and there are many other places they can go to consume information.
Of course, anyone can have a Twitter or Facebook account. But to build - and keep - a big audience, here are a few quick tips:
• You have to deliver the goods, day in and day out.
• You must convey intelligence, authority, credibility and transparency.
• Stick to the high road. Stay on message.
Consistency is the key here. Adhere to these high standards every day - and I mean every day - and you’ll soon find yourself gaining followers, and retweets. Retweets are terrific. They’re the equivalent of free advertising, when others spread your message at no cost to you. Is there anything better?
But there are even greater advantages. A thoughtful, pro-active social media strategy can help companies protect their hard-earned brand reputation during a crisis; ideally, it can help prevent the crisis from occurring in the first place. Don't think of social media as an extra burden.
Think of it as a way to win new customers, keep old ones, drive revenue and ratings, expand and enhance your brand. Employees, customers, investors and other key stakeholders are counting on you.
That’s why I think a good person running your Twitter (and Facebook) accounts is worth their weight in gold - if done right.
Want to know more? Need help? Or need a speaker on the ins and outs of Communications, Social Media and Marketing for your next event? Give me a call. 917-359-3702 or email email@example.com
Paul Brandus: 917-359-3702 / firstname.lastname@example.org