Twitter allows me to open up, share my personal side, and make an emotional connection with my audience.
Sharing personal information helps my audience get to know me beyond my profession. If all of my tweets or retweets were business-oriented, my Twitter feed would be dry and robotic.
A lot of people have a hard time being personal on Twitter. Many tend to overthink their tweets. The truth is the way you network offline is the same as the way you network online.
I was recently on the phone with a partner of a large agency in the Midwest. He asked if I could give him some examples. I came up with the following, and thought I would share them for others who have the same problem.
Here is some of the personal information I have shared on Twitter:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When others are nice enough to retweet your posts, you should acknowledge them and pay it forward.
Another way to show appreciation is to have a two-way relationship. It shouldn’t be all about you.
When people follow me, I follow them back. A few years ago, one of social media’s early adopters decided to unfollow thousands of people. He had more than 200,000 followers, and unfollowed all but a few hundred. A number of other people followed suit. I didn’t do that. It’s respectful to treat others equally.
2. Personal recommendations and opinions
Here’s an example of a recommendation tweet: “If you are in retail you should follow @Ball_Brad, former CMO of McDonald’s, Warner Bros Pictures, Nascar Entertainment.”
I also share my likes and dislikes. For instance, I like Southwest Airlines and greatly dislike US Airways.
Here’s a recent rant of mine via Twitter: “B’ham News keeps throwing these free papers onto our driveway. I’m saving them up so that I can dump them all on their doorstep!”
I choose not to share my political or religious views via Twitter. I only share what I would feel comfortable sharing in person in a mixed setting, such as a business meeting, trade show, seminar, etc.
3. Location and travel information
Some people are paranoid about sharing where they are. I’ve never been that way. Since I use Twitter as a networking tool for new business, I’ve found it beneficial to share where I am.
For instance, I recently tweeted that I was on my way to Nashville. By the time I arrived, I had three meetings lined up with prospective clients.
Here are some of my travel and location tweets:
When I’m relaxing: “I’m at Goose Pond Colony Marina (Scottsboro, AL)
When I meet celebrities: “@tjholmes it was a pleasure to see you briefly at LaGuardia yesterday. I know you are going to land a big gig soon.”
When I meet interesting people: “Ms. Mae has worked for the Lambert – ST Louis Airport for 34 years. She’s 71 yrs old pic.twitter.com/REimLUmlzm”
When I’m in a cab: “Gave my name to the limo driver to take me to the airport. On the way he realizes I’m not the person he’s to pick up. Back to hotel.”
When I’m at a conference: “Just finalized and sent my #Mirren New Business Presentation deck. Looking forward to my 11:15 am session Tues in NYC”
4. Inspirational quotes and statistics
Great quotes and important statistics are always appealing, and they often become viral when you share them on Twitter. Here are some of my recent tweets:
- “By 2014, video as a total of Internet traffic will rise to 90% – source CISCO”
- “Survey: Over 86% of respondents reported using bureaus for recommending and hiring professional speakers http://ow.ly/kTS9F”
- “The first step towards [sic] getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – John Pierpont Morgan”
5. Emotional experiences
I occasionally share my emotions. For instance, I wasn’t happy about spending the weekend on some major yard work projects. I had a number of guys chime in with disgruntlements about their own honey-do lists. I guess it’s true — misery loves company!
Here are a few other tweets I wrote that share some very emotional experiences:
- “My Favorite Aunt Passed Away http://goo.gl/fb/XH6Su”
- “I Have Lost My Most Faithful Companion http://dld.bz/cynTf” (More 1,000 people responded in some way to this article.)
6. Article and book recommendations
Most people rely on word of mouth and trusted friends to find good content. I’m often asked to recommend reading on business development, social media or agency presentations. I write a good number of book reviews and share them on Twitter. I also recommend and even help promote resources I feel will help my audience.
- “I just bought: ‘How To Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets Of The World’s Most Inspiring Presentations’ http://ow.ly/kJnLQ”
- “Why Is Facebook Blue? The Science Behind Colors In Marketing By @LeoWid”
- “You have to check out the video trailer for @jaybaer new book, #Youtility. Very cool! http://ar.gy/YoutilityTrailer”
7. Personal interviews
Interviews are a tremendous tool for personal branding. They build credibility with your audience and allow you to showcase your specialty. Sharing them through Twitter allows your target audience to see, hear and get to know you.
- “Podcast Interview: Fueling Ad Agency New Business with Michael Gass http://ow.ly/kBYw2″
- “How to Win Agency New Business: Interview | Branding Magazine http://dld.bz/cFGcF”
8. Hobbies and projects
All of your communications through Twitter do not have to revolve around business. Twitter is a place to enlist conversations, help and resources when you are engaged in a project or want to nurture a hobby.
- “Sodding the backyard … My DIY project when I return from my business trip. pic.twitter.com/59fioKWQVi”
- “Almost finished with re-teaking the interior of the boat. pic.twitter.com/v0ZFWOaOlH”
9. Photos and videos of family, pets, travel, vacations, etc.
Photos and videos are powerful because people are visual. Photos and videos can help to quickly create an emotional connection between you and your Twitter audience.
Here’s a sampling of photos and videos I’ve shared:
- “Sun rising over Lake Erie #Cleveland pic.twitter.com/eSa6fmPuT0”
- “4th of July Celebration on Lake Guntersville vine.co/v/ha5BdwM1BEL”
- “It looked like snow in my hometown of Winchester, TN yesterday. Soft hail called Graupel http://ow.ly/i/232bu”
- “We have a new addition to our family. Any suggestions on a boy’s name? pic.twitter.com/4jSQFgRIQq”
10. Contests and polls
Conducting polls and engaging in contests provide a lot of opportunities for engaging with others. Here are some examples:
- “Should people be given the freedom to work from home? http://twtpoll.com/glrwjj via @michaelgass” (This poll sparked more than 200 responses.)
- “Are you a Mac or PC person? http://twtpoll.com/1s5hx5”
- “Fuel Lines’ ‘Ad Agency Blog of the Year.’ Vote for your favorite from among these ‘Blog the Month’ winners: http://twtpoll.com/ifkezk” (This tweet received more than 3,000 responses.)
Forty-seven percent of Americans learn about causes via social media and online channels.
Liz Strauss is a well-known social media strategist who has been battling throat cancer. Fighting the cancer required extensive chemotherapy and radiation. On top of her treatments, Strauss also broke her hip and shoulder. As a result, she was in the hospital for several months. Her friends created an auction fundraiser where all proceeds went to Strauss.
Tweets like the following helped spread the word quickly:
- “The Official Liz Strauss Fundraiser is Finally Live http://ow.ly/2xvRLY Via @lizstrauss”
- “Liz Strauss Fundraiser – Liz was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. Help her and her family if you can http://ow.ly/mo3wx”
- “@jasonfalls If there’s anyone in the social media world most of us owe a little something to, it’s @lizstrauss. She needs us: http://buff.ly/14zGGMK”
12. Events, TV shows and movies
I’ve tweeted TV events like the Oscars, and shared my opinions on Super Bowl ads. I’ve engaged with others via Twitter while watching programs such as AMC’s Mad Men and The Pitch.
Here are some of those tweets:
- “‘You know the rules. I don’t make plans and I don’t make breakfast.’ #MadMen”
- “@ThePitch_AMC: #ThePitch returns August 15. Check out the full list of brands and agencies featured this season http://bit.ly/15ao7xQ”
- “Another coach has left The Voice – who do you think should sit on next season’s panel? http://bit.ly/13pb3YI”
Michael Gass is an international new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. He is also the founder of Fuel Lines. A version of this article originally appeared on BrightIdeas.co. (Image via)