Twitter ROI for Communication Professionals
Shashi Bellamkonda, Speaker and Digital Marketing Expert, is the VP of Marketing at Leap and Adjunct Faculty member of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. He is known by many as the “social media swami,” and is a marketing leader who has worked with many entrepreneurs and local businesses and teaches Digital Marketing Strategy and Marketing Analytics at Georgetown University as an adjunct professor. Shashi is passionate about helping small businesses and has spoken on small business and social media tools at conferences like SXSW, IABC, PRSA, Mid-Atlantic Summit, MarketingProfs and Affiliate Summit.
As I wrote this piece, I crossed off a bucket list item: being quoted on the program Marketplace on NPR. The opportunity came from seeing a tweet from NPR reporter Matt Levin about New Year Resolutions.
Since I joined Twitter, my ROI has been a speaking opportunity in Europe, a home mortgage, an appearance in WAMU, Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, and most importantly building a community of people who will support you, educate and share with you.
I was also instrumental in setting up the first social media strategy for Network Solutions in 2008, which has been mentioned in about 19 marketing books.
For communication professionals, my advice is to mimic real life. Make friends, connect, converse.
Here are a few tips:
Building your online brand: The best reason to be on Twitter is Google Search results. If you establish a presence on Twitter and post regularly, there is a good possibility that your Twitter profile will appear in the top 10 results for your name.
Making connections: People today choose to establish their presence in different networks but will engage only in a few of them. You can make connections with other professionals who are active on Twitter. When I started on Twitter, I searched for everyone who lived in the Washington Metropolitan area and connected with them. Now I create or follow Twitter lists depending on the topics. For example, the Washington Post has a list called Washington Post people.
Joining Conversations: On Twitter, content is fast-moving. To optimize your content, use Twitter lists. You can opt to have a home thread that uses Twitter’s algorithm to give you content it thinks interests you versus a chronological feed. For more important contacts, you can set up notifications for people you want to interact with the most or you want to be notified about when someone posts an update. The Twitter search feed is another place to find trending topics, and you can set location if you want news from another geographical location. Twitter also has an advanced search feature that you can save for keywords and find content posted by particular Twitter users and posted from particular locations. Your mix should be 40% content about you and your brand, 40% about industry or thought leadership content and 20% more causal off-topic celebratory social posts.
Events and note-taking: Events are great ways to connect. Look for the organizer’s hashtags and connect with people attending. I use Twitter as a note-taking app by tweeting takeaways and connecting with the speakers and using the hashtag to connect with others tweeting.
Building a community: You have to give more than you receive. You have to be genuine and friendly and devote time to building relationships. When people like your content, you can reciprocate by checking their content. Put reporters who have covered you in a list that you can frequently check. You can look for passionate people who speak a lot about the cause or mission of your company.
Curating the right content: I have always discovered content is not always logical. Sometimes I am looking at streams of followers or searching keywords. Sometimes I look at Twitter’s trending topics. In the Twitter algorithm feed, you will see posts from your followers and also posts that they like from their feed. Liking others’ posts helps increase the reach of their posts to your network.
Thank You Strategy: Set aside time every day to converse and amplify others’ content. Check people’s feeds who have covered you before and continue to engage.
Reporters use Twitter a lot. They often have their contact information on their Twitter profile and welcome DMs. They are not expecting regular inbound pitches on Twitter. What they will appreciate is finding sources for stories that they are already looking for. They will post this on Twitter with a tight deadline. If you follow the reporters that cover your topics, Twitter will be a good place to connect and look for context. Sometimes if you tweet something of interest, they may reach out to you if they can use it for a story.