Using Twitter to Own Your Narrative and Find Clients

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Twitter is perfect for branding. From your name to your nemesis, you get to define everything that everyone sees and says about you on the platform. That’s why Twitter is also a good place to find clients—you decide how they perceive you because you control the narrative. Whether you want to take a break or do a marathon of threads, you choose what and how you want to share. However, as good as that sounds, it can also be a bit overwhelming. This week on the #TwitterSmarter chat, we invited Berrak Sarikaya to talk about how you can take ownership of your Twitter account so you can find ideal clients without having to burn yourself out. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Berrak Sarikaya
Topic: Using Twitter to own narrative and find clients
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Why is Twitter an important tool for finding clients?

Twitter offers many good opportunities to connect with like-minded people. You can build your network by sharing your experiences and expertise through posts, Twitter chats, threads, and Spaces.

The more you expand your network, the more you’ll find that your connections can help you connect with your ideal clients, even if you don’t get a chance to connect with that client on Twitter directly. The best example of this is events and industry conferences where you might run into your Twitter connections in real life, and they might be able to introduce you to a client in that event. Twitter relationships go way beyond Twitter.

Julia from NOW Marketing Group made a good point about how people in your network can eventually become your clients too. You might come across someone on a Twitter chat and engage with them because you think they’re cool. You might not expect that friendship to go beyond amiable online interactions, but when they (or someone they know) need a service, you’ll be the first person they think of. That’s the power of genuine friendships—we all recommend our friends to our other friends. Twitter is a breeding ground for such platonic relationships.

Q2: Do you keep your personal and professional brand separate?

How you differentiate (or don’t) your personal and professional brands depends on what you offer, who you’re offering to, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. In our guest’s case, as an individual business person, she wanted people to know who they’re working with. Personality and character are essential to develop and maintain a good working relationship with clients. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Think of Nick from Hootsuite. He manages the brand Twitter handle and so for questions and conversations about Hootsuite, he uses his professional handle. For every other fun and personal stuff, he uses his other account. That’s not to say that he has a strict divide between the two, though. If you’re going to have two separate handles, you have to accept that you’ll have some degree of overlap.

Q3: How are you using your bio and/or pinned tweet to help you stand out?

It’s important to keep your bio up-to-date. As our guest mentioned, modify your bio as and when your personal/professional priorities evolve.

For your pinned tweet, however, there’s no single perfect strategy. Most people use it as an extension of their bio and introduce themselves more with a pinned tweet. You can also pin a thread of tweets so you have even more space to convey your message.

Madalyn also shared a long and helpful thread discussing how to write an effective bio, using pinned tweets to promote your latest content, using videos in your pinned tweet, and so much more. Have a look through this thread:

Q4: What are some ways to announce you’re looking for new clients?

The best way to do this is to ask directly. You can use your pinned tweet, as our guest suggested, to tell your audience what you’re offering and what sort of client you’re looking for. Then of course, tell your Twitter connections that you’re actively looking for some business. Just a small word in their ears goes a long way.

Be wary of your phrasing though. You want business, yes, but you don’t want to seem like you’re not getting any business at all, as Jim pointed out. That’s not to say asking for help is wrong. On the contrary, if you come across as desperate, people might have doubts as to why you haven’t had any business so far. Even if you’re doing reasonably well and only want to expand your portfolio, unless you choose your words with caution, you might send the wrong signals. You want to appeal to them without sounding alarm bells.

A simple way to hint that you’re looking for clients is to state what you have to offer. Christine put it well. Consider this, “If you need help with this, that’s exactly what I do,” or something to that effect.

Q5: How do you step out of your comfort zone?

This will look different for each of us. Twitter’s barrage of new updates means that we now have so many new ways to interact with our audience. That can be scary. Making a video, for example, or being a speaker on Twitter Spaces, or even sharing your opinion for the first time on a Twitter chat. Whatever your zone is, identify that and then take small steps to expand your horizon. Remember that at every step of the way, you learn new things, meet new people, and develop meaningful relationships.

For more on comfort zones and breaking them with care, have a look at our guest’s newsletter where she covered this topic.

Jennifer takes a strategic approach to getting out of her comfort zone. Every month, she chooses to experiment with something she’s never tried before. This is a good way to make sure you don’t linger too much on failures and move on to the next one, if and when something doesn’t work out as well as you’d hoped.

Q6: What do you do to avoid Twitter burnout?

We’ve all been there. Regardless of how serious you are with Twitter, you’ve likely experienced social media/internet burnout at some point. The best way to avoid getting burned out is to set simple limitations for yourself. So many of us open Twitter every morning instinctively. That’s where the news is, the action, and the drama. Instead, take a moment to be aware of why you’re on Twitter and tell yourself what’s the most important thing on the platform that you need to know. When you consciously prioritize, you’ll automatically realize the not-so-important things and avoid them. This is a personal exercise. What burns me out won’t necessarily burn you out.

For example, to avoid burnout, our guest has special weekend settings. She changes her notifications and avoids logging in during the weekends so that she gets downtime to focus on other things. Naturally, that means she’ll miss some trending conversations and topics, but that’s a choice she’s made. It’s the best decision for her personal and mental health.

Jim told us he blocks time out for social media so that he has specific hours in the day where he responds to notifications and engages in conversations. Outside of these times, he doesn’t force himself to respond immediately.

Q7: Why are trending hashtags important?

They’re important because they are a good indication of what’s happening across the world at the time. It’s a one-stop-shop to knowing the latest. However, participate only if the conversation’s relevant to you and/or your business.

Alyx echoed the same point as well. She also added that trending hashtags help keep a tab on high-profile people and if that’s relevant to what you do, share your own voice. These trends are also easy to spot and categorize based on location or topic, making it easy to see what’s happening in highly localized places/industries.

Q8. How can you take a break from Twitter without feeling disconnected?

Breaks are important. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’re weak, but instead, it shows that you’re strong enough to walk away from something that’s draining your energy to refuel. It shows that you respect yourself enough to put yourself first. When you come back, your community will be here for you, cheering you on.

Don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling like you should be online all the time. When you take a break, you’ll naturally miss conversations, events, chats, and discussions, but none of that is as important as taking care of yourself.

How you take your break depends on you. Some people tell their community in advance, but some don’t. And as Maiko said, even if you don’t announce that you’re taking a break, most people will understand when you get back. Your Twitter is yours, and you should be able to make your own choices. If that’s taking a break without notice, then so be it. You’ll probably also find out who your real friends are when you come back from a break.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks so much for reading through, and for more great insights from our chat with Berrak, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you have some spare time next Thursday, join us live for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. We’ll be on from 1pm ET. Catch you then!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the 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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