Building Professional Relationships on Twitter

Building Professional Relationships on Twitter - #TwitterSmarter chat with Samantha Kelly - April 23, 2020

We’ve all heard it: people saying that good relationships are their key to success. Even in highly-dramatic movies, we hear actors talk about their supportive community, friends, and family. Surely, social media would be the same?

We invited Samantha Kelly, social media strategist, speaker, and founder of Tweeting Goddess to help us understand why we should build professional relationships on Twitter and how to go about it.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Samantha Kelly
Topic: Building Professional Relationships on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What’s the best way to start a conversation on Twitter?

The easiest way to start a conversation is to join a Twitter chat. As Lisa mentioned, chats are already established channels. You don’t have to go out of your way to start a conversation. You only need to greet everyone with enthusiasm, respond to their comments, share your ideas, and before you know it, you’ll be comfortable at tweeting out to a new person just to say hey.

When you’re trying to engage on Twitter, it’s important to share valuable stories. This varies according to your industry and even socio-economic situations. For instance, now, during this pandemic, people don’t want to hear sales material. Instead, share stories of kindness, hope, and positivity. You can share behind the scenes incidents, and experiences that’ll encourage and put a smile on people’s face.

One way to spread inspiring stories is to talk about what’s going on with you. Be genuine and share your personality with your audience. As our guest pointed out, you can also use relevant hashtags to help your stories reach a larger community.

In our #TwitterSmarter chats, we’ve discussed the importance of video a lot. Not only do videos arrest your audience’s attention in a busy feed, but they’re also great to showcase your spontaneity. Live video takes things a notch further—it’s an ideal tool for you to initiate conversations and engage with others in real time. Tag those you admire, talk about what a great job they’re doing, and that paves way for an interesting conversation.

Q2: Can you gatecrash an existing conversation thread?

Er—yeah! That’s what Twitter is all about. Like Christine pointed out, the fundamental element of Twitter is that it’s all public information. It’s out there in the open so that anyone can get involved.

As long as you’re not barging in with a negative, know-it-all attitude, you can totally get involved in an existing conversation. Etiquette is essential on Twitter. Be decent and people will welcome you with cheery GIFs and genuine getting-to-know-you questions.

However, as Laura rightly said, it’s not ideal to jump into a conversation to make a sales pitch. That’s creepy and not very Twitter-like. You’ve probably come across brands, with amateur social media managers, jumping into threads that mention them only to make a pitch about how great and helpful they are. That’s not social. Unless the users in the conversation explicitly request for a brand’s help or pricing information, brand handles shouldn’t interfere.

Q3: How can you make your profile stand out on Twitter?

Start at the very beginning. Choose a Twitter handle that resonates with you and reflects who you are. Our guest is a good example herself. She’s the Tweeting goddess, because that’s her forte. If you follow her profile, you’ll see how frequently she tweets and how well she keeps her audience engaged.

Profile pictures are crucial for any social channel. Twitter is no different. Make sure you have a professional headshot. If you’re a business owner, don’t shy away from investing in a photoshoot—a proper photo is the first step to establishing your brand. And make sure you update your profile photo to remain current.

Once you’ve got an ideal handle and profile picture, move on to your bio. Write it down and read it like a stranger would. Does it cover your brand personality and showcase who you are? Would you, if you read the same copy on someone else’s profile, follow them?

Dr. Hecht made a couple of other important points as well. Just filling up your profile isn’t enough. To stand out on Twitter, you need to engage with your audience consistently. Initiate conversations, share useful content, run polls, and make your Twitter feed fun to follow.

Another good thing to do is to pin an interesting tweet on your profile. This could be a sightly longer version of your bio or a work you’re particularly proud of and want to share with a larger group of people. A pinned tweet is the first thing people seen your profile after your bio and photo, so make it worth while.

Madalyn also has an article that covers top 11 tips to make your profile stand out on Twitter. Have a look.

Q4: Is there a connection between relationships and sales?

We’ve talked about this before as well. And Samantha emphasized the importance of building genuine relationships if you want to succeed in sales.

72% of people will buy from someone they know and trust. Think about it—would you rather buy from your local farmer, who you know and chat with every week or from an unknown trader reselling someone else’s produce? It’s always more comforting when you know where your purchases are coming from and who you can talk to about it.

And if you still think that relationship building is only for B2C companies, Chris has a word for you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing business with end consumers or other businesses. Whether you’re B2C or B2B, ultimately you’re selling to humans. That’s why nothing can beat human to human interactions.

Q5: Share some tips for building relationships on Twitter.

The key to building relationships anywhere is to be kind and approachable. Show people that you genuinely care about them and that you can be a good listener and a friend when they need you.

As Jim nicely put, be yourself. The more you try to mimic someone you’re not, the harder you’re making it to present yourself on Twitter. Don’t show up with fancy pants when you’re not a fancy pants person.

Hannah shared some great tips well. It matters to your audience when you retweet their content, share opinions about content you’re consuming, and follow-up with them. Do you regularly come across someone on a chat? Ask them how they’re doing, understand what’s going on with them, and show you’re genuinely interested in their life.

Like our guest pointed out earlier in the chat, use videos to show people a little more about yourself. That’s a great way to invite people into your life and make them feel involved and welcomed in what you do.

And of course, as Madalyn emphasized, don’t shy away from engaging. That’s essential for social media. Consistently communicate with your audience. But that doesn’t mean you have to talk about yourself all the time. No—real engagement is bringing everyone together and sharing ideas and thoughts.

Q6: What’s the best way to engage with an influencer?

An influencer isn’t an alien. They’re the same as any other person. To engage with them, as Marianne said, treat them as you want other people to treat you—give them the respect they deserve, and they’ll return the gesture.

When you come across a person on Twitter whose content you admire, you should tell them that. It’s important to acknowledge those who inspires you—influencers aren’t different. Tell them how they make you feel, what you learned from them, and how their perspective has helped you. Reply to their posts and appreciate them as you’d appreciate your friend on Twitter.

Sab gave us a few more ideas to interact with influencers. Aside from commenting on their posts, you can also reach out to them about provious articles they’ve published. Just tweet out to them saying you read and enjoyed a specific piece. They’d love to hear about the value you’ve derived from their work.

Q7: Should you only build relationships with influencers?

Of course not. Relationships should be rooted in mutual respect and appreciation. If you’re only looking to build relationships with influential people, then you’re treating them as a sales strategy and not a person. Don’t do that—it’s vile.

Instead, build relationships with people you find interesting. That could be anyone from a business owner to a social media novice. Your purpose should be to know more about that person and to spend time with them.

That said, if you’re trying to forge relationships with random people who don’t add any value to your life, you’re wasting time. This can happen more easily than we realize. We all like keeping an eye on our favorite celebrity. However, responding to their photos, sharing their statuses, and showering them with likes probably won’t impact your life in a meaningful way. Find people who will genuinely uplift your life and build relationships with them.

After all, as Phil reminded us, just because someone has a million followers doesn’t mean they have an engaged audience. Sometimes, someone with far fewer followers can have a much more tightly-knit network.

Q8: Can influencers help you get more sales through Twitter?

This is a subjective question. If you choose an influencer who resonates with your target demographic, then you have a good chance of getting sales through a partnership with that influencer. As our guest explained, she once helped someone reach business women, because she already has an established network of the target audience.

Even if you do find an influencer whose audience fits into your target group, getting sales directly through Twitter can be a lengthy process. On the other hand, with a display ad on search engines, you can get a sale with fewer steps and more easily-traceable click throughs. If you don’t want to be disappointed afterwards, it’s important that you understand the Twitter processes before you hire an influencer.

Gabriela explained why it might take a long time to get sales through Twitter. You should definitely connect with influencers, but don’t ask them to sell for you. Instead, seek their help to expand your reach. They can help amplify your message and brand just by sharing your content with their network. Even if that doesn’t translate into sales, it is excellent word of mouth marketing.

Remember when we talked about getting a professional headshot for your profile picture? Well, Samantha tweeted about her photographer, which in turn helped him get more sales. That’s a great example of getting sales through Twitter.

Well, folks that’s all from me. Thanks for reading, and for more insight from our chat, take a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you’ve got some time on Thursday, join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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