How a Consultant Can Use Twitter: Coffee with Nat

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I enjoyed a Harvard Square coffee visit at Peet’s the other day with Nat Welch, a consultant at CFAR: Center for Applied Research.  I checked in on Foursquare of course 🙂

Nat and I used to work together at Viant and it is always good to catch up. Nat is already an expert in collaboration and in particular in helping people impact change in organizations.  Naturally the conversation led to marketing digitally and using social media. I was giving Nat a few of my headline perspectives on why he might want to use Twitter to establish an online presence.  There is a lot written about this already and for many of you this is “101”, but here are some of the points that I shared that I think might provide a summary framework for management consultants and business professionals on how to think about using Twitter vs. other tools like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Summary takeaways – for those of you getting started:

  1. Pick your place on the long tail. Clarify your unique position and area of expertise. Identify your perspective and core messages. It is hard to track all the conversations that may interest you – the more focused your area of expertise or offerings, the easier it is to follow and be followed in the space.
  2. Set up your Twitter account and link it to your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts
  3. Use nice tools like Tweetdeck where you can set up columns for the areas you like to follow. HootSuite is good for team collaborative tweets and managing multiple identities.
  4. Set realistic expectations. Most of your clients are not looking for you on Twitter, but over time a presence will reinforce your credibility in the space. Think of Twitter as another outpost in your digital presence.
  5. Listen and follow. Find people talking about and sharing information about your area of interest, follow them,  Retweet the good ones, click on and follow the blogs that interest you. Very quickly, you will have a mosaic of content and people that surround the subject that you are focused on. Good etiquette suggests we do not use Twitter as a bully pulpit, but rather add to the conversation. Ask yourself if your tweets are adding value and adding content. Twitter is not for direct self-promotion.
  6. Weigh in on the conversations – offer your perspectives
  7. Set up a Reader account and follow the blogs.
  8. Syndicate your own blog. If you don’t have one, it may be worthwhile to set up a blog where you can share your content and articles about your area of expertise. Blogs use RSS standards that make it easy to share through tools like Google reader. You don’t have to write something every day- even once a month would be valuable from a presence and credibility perspective
  9. Maintain presence. LinkedIn is particularly valuable for the management consultant and business user. Facebook extends your personal networks online.
  10. Do what I say, not what I do. I wish I had more time to follow and engage in the conversations. Pick a window of time each day or two to follow the conversations, people, and weigh in with your comments, share your posts and find the valuable expertise that you can bring to your clients and enhance your value.
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