People often ask me "What are the recommended tweeting practices for professionals?" Of course, there's no definitive answer to this question, but there are some best practices to be shared. Twitter is a great tool for keeping in touch with clients. Once you've got a solid following, you need to take care so they don’t lose interest. There is plenty of advice out there about must-do’s on Twitter, but don’t burn yourself out trying to follow all of it. In this post I'll try to give you some recommended tweeting practices for professionals. Basically, you need to be (1) consistent and (2) focus on areas related to your work. Use Twitter to help brand your work, business, and market your particular expertise. For example, if you work in a family law practice, keep your tweets focused on those issues. Similarly, if you are an accountant or physician, tweet on topics your clients are likely to ask you about.
Tweet Information, Not Advice
Some lawyers have wondered it tweets might be taken for legal advice. But if all you do is provide information—such as “legislative bills affecting custody arrangements” with a link—you aren't giving advice, just the facts. Some professionals add a disclaimer to their bios stating they are not providing advice or even agreeing with the information they tweet. However, not everyone who sees your tweet will read your bio page. It may not be very effective, though, and it certainly doesn't reflect your work.
Pay Attention To Your Bio
Twitter redesigned its profile pages this past April to make it more attractive for professionals. New users will get it right away, while it will be rolled out for existing ones. The profile, or bio, page now lets you feature your “best” tweets—those with the most retweets and responses (“engagement” in Twitter-speak). It also lets you highlight (“pin”) a past tweet that reflects your best work.
Basic Best Practices On Twitter
I’ve read a lot of best practices. Some contradict one another. Here is a list of those I’ve personally found are effective and are easy to incorporate into your routine:
- Retweet genuinely interesting and applicable pieces
- Follow at least some of your own followers—you can learn from one another
- Engage followers and fellow tweeters through retweets and replies
- Put hashtags (#) before a keyword, which Twitter expert Dan Zarrella says gets 55% more retweets; your tweet will also appear on the hashtag’s page, giving you more visibility
- If you’re focusing on building your brand, tweet on weekends when Mashable says brand engagement is 17% higher
- It may take some time to master this, but try to keep your tweets under 140 characters so your followers can retweet (RT) with their own comments
Follow Professional Groups On Twitter
Professional associations and specialty news sites are well-represented on Twitter.
- Attorneys can check out LexTweet, Justiacom, GovTwit, and Legal_Alerts
- Accountants should look at AccountingWEB, AccountingToday, and AICPA
- Physicians will find just about every medical organization and journal has a Twitter feed, including the AMA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (@AmerAcadPeds)
To find a specific topic, search with a hashtag. For example, typing #cardiology in the search box brings a drop-down list with hyperlinks to photos, news, and videos related to cardiology including the journal Cardiology Today and the American College of Cardiology.