Last Tuesday in Mountain View, CA, social media expert Shel Israel gave his only talk about his upcoming book, Twitterville where he talks about the impact of Twitter on the business world. During the Q&A session, someone asked about how they could leverage the microblogging application to their advantage to help promote their expertise.Â The answers that people gave me were rather startling.
Basically the original question was along the lines of: if I wanted to promote my expertise in a certain area, how can I leverage Twitter to help show my influence?
Answers to this included folks simply promoting their expertise by tweeting advice, insights, and their own experience as it relates to that specific industry/project/product. These are all well and good, but I think people are mistaken into thinking that by them starting on Twitter, it’s not an avenue for them to expound on their own knowledge. Just typing in 140 character text messages will not help gain you influence nor will it help bolster your credibility as a Subject Matter Expert. Twitter is a two-way mechanism that allows you to give AND SHARE info. So don’t think that just be pushing out your knowledge would be the only way to help grow your expertise.
It may seem like a gray area, but you need to make sure that your Twitterstream is NOT just blog posts and your own insights. Rather, you need to engage your audience and the community. Start following like-minded individuals and go ahead and reply back to them. Start having conversations with them either through replies or through direct messaging. As you know, we’re not all naturally smart and we learn from our experiences, so why not gain more insight and do your job better by having the community give you some knowledge?
This also goes with other forms of social media and web marketing, not just Twitter.
But what you should also realize is that if you engage your community, don’t ever forget that while you’re being sociable online, you should still maintain some sense of professionalism in talking to folks. Be careful with what you say because while you may have a rapport with your followers and buddies, it’s still being placed online – where ANYONE can find it. You might think that it’s placed on Twitter that it’s closed off to just the Twitter folks, but no…things can spread virally and MUCH faster than anyone can control or stop. If you want to communicate some sensitive information to someone, I would recommend not using social media. Think about social media as being a big convention. You’re going to need to shout to be heard amongst the crowd. If you think you’d be comfortable with shouting it in a crowded room, then go ahead and say it online.
It’s all about credibility & common sense.