Combine self-discovery with branding and you will find ways to join the online conversation.
Story posted: July 20, 2009 - 6:01 am EDT
Finding your voice on Twitter often requires blending your personal and professional brand. I knew even before I registered that although my Twitter presence would be for personal use, I needed to be conscious of how it would reflect on my company. If your company has social media guidelines, they may help you set some parameters.
Next, I suggest asking yourself, “What conversations do I want to be part of?” By combining my interests in marketing with my passion for small business, I was able to create a voice I felt represented me both personally and professionally.
Also ask yourself, “What value will I bring to that conversation?” Think about what you want to say and how it fits with your brand. I've found that a few guiding principles can help you determine how you join the conversation:
• Provide a unique voice. While you could continually send links to other content, it is important to offer your own perspective. I try to maintain at least one-third original content.
• Be professional in your tone and content. I tend to keep personal (family) content to less than 10%, and I refrain from making negative comments.
• Be considerate. Try to provide enough information with URLs to tell what the content is about. Also consider the frequency of your tweets; too many too often may dominate conversation.
Following the right people can also inform your voice. I looked to people producing great content within my areas of interest, starting with the contributors on OPEN Forum and eventually adding people they follow. I then added marketers I admire, as well as people with interesting cultural views.
By following the right people and creating the right guidelines for your voice, you may find joining the conversation to be easier (and more valuable) than you thought.
Marcy Shinder is VP-brand management at American Express OPEN. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @marcyshinder.