Whether or not you are using social media in a personal or professional capacity, your end game is the same: to promote a brand. 

This can be your personal brand, your company’s brand, or even a mix of the two, such as promoting yourself as an expert in a certain niche. If you’d like to explore how to create an online presence for yourself or your company, please contact me (mbrown918@gmail.com) for a consulting session. 

You should definitely hire me if @alexatheyorkie has more followers than you (209 & counting)

Once you’ve established what your purpose is, you’re ready to expand your network. Here are a few quick tips for making friends and influencing people via Twitter. Again- if you’d like more information, please feel free to e-mail me to set up an appointment!

Tip #1: Repeat after me: “I am NOT Justin Bieber.”

Justin Bieber has over 17 million Twitter followers. Kim Kardashian has over 13 million Twitter followers. Ashton Kutcher has over 9 million Twitter followers. You, most likely, will not.

These celebrities are a prime example of how no matter how good your SEO/PR/marketing department/awesome consultant named Megan is, you will most likely not garner this many Twitter followers ever – at least not without some sort of offline popularity. And that’s ok. Most people on Twitter aren’t celebrities, and beyond that, you should NOT be so follower number focused. 

The prime rookie mistake people/companies make is assuming that Twitter is a numbers game. It isn't. 100 engaged followers are far more valuable than 5,000 silent ones. I usually tell clients (jokingly) that if they only want to gain numbers, they might as well spend their money just literally buying followers - which is possible, but in all reality, I strongly advise against it. You don’t want people mindlessly retweeting links to articles you’ve written without actually reading the article. You want to find your niches and become renowned within those one or two areas – not join “team followback” or run gimmicks and become lost in the crowd as just another social media spammer. 

Twitter is a platform for you to share and promote yourself, but also to engage. If you’ve spent time writing a blog post or creating a product- don’t you want people to read it or buy it? Just ‘existing’ is not enough- engagement is the key to success.

Once you accept that Twitter is NOT about numbers, but about engagement, then you will become both a social media contributor as well as a thought leader- and people will flock to you for valid reasons that don’t involve your derrière (I’m looking at you, Kim K). 

Tip #2: You can’t buy love. 

I’ve already stated outright buying followers is a practice that makes me cringe. However, many Twitter users think they have come up with more clever ways to do the exact same thing. Here’s a hint: It’s not as clever as you’d think and it involves everyone’s favorite words. 

FREE STUFF. Not going to lie, those words do get my attention when I see them. I love free stuff! In fact, I will even take bribes! But that doesn’t mean I’ll fulfill my end of the deal- and, like me, the internet is a very fickle place. 

Giveaways, contests and promotions do have their value, but when you are on a small scale to start, they are usually inefficient cost-wise, especially depending on which platform you advertise them on. You’ll probably end up with a lot of spammy followers just for tweeting the word “free.” Those who do enter your contests probably already had some respect for your reputation to begin with. While it’s great to reward those who stood behind you from the very first tweet, you should probably wait to build up a following before you do so. Then, more people than your mom and mooching second cousin will enter to win it- and those who do win will be a lot more apt to tweet about what a wonderful new experience/product/kitten you’ve given them because they beat out all those other people. 

You can’t buy followers, directly or indirectly- at least not ones who will last.

Tip #3: If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

You have an e-mail address, you’re on Facebook, you’re on LinkedIn, you might be on G+, you have that MySpace you made ten years ago, and you should probably delete your Friendster account. 


Leverage is your best friend. Put simply, the leverage process is strengthening and using what outlets you already have (your website(s), social media profiles) as well as creating other profiles you may need on niche social media networks (outreach blogs, maybe getting involved on niche forums, etc). Through these, it's very simple to naturally build followers via reputation and outreach by creating your site as a resource as well as valuable participant in your niche. 

From putting your Twitter handle in your e-mail signature, to adding a Twitter widget to your WordPress site, to making your family and friends wear shirts that say “@thatgirlmegan knows more about #baseball than I do” (oh yes, this is going to happen), get the word out to the people you already know and to people you want to know! 

Use hashtags more often or join a Twitter chat relating to your area of expertise to meet others with similar interests. Your Twitter bio is even searchable on Google: REWRITE IT. Cute quote Twitter bios are for celebrities and people’s dogs. There are a million articles online about what is searchable, what you can optimize, which niche networks are the most important in your area. Go read them! And if you want someone to do the work for you, then pay me to do it (For real. I do this for a living, make sure my yorkie gets to eat tonight)!

Optimize every aspect of not just your Twitter profile and tweets, but also your other social networks as well. You may have already done this in some respect, but please take a second look and make sure you are sticking to your message: you or your company’s brand. Yes, you have more interests than kung fu fighting, homemade piñatas, and Bratz dolls, but if you want to garner an audience, you need to be focused. Once in a while you can Tweet about other topics, but without a message it is very difficult for people to connect with you or know what you/your company is really about.

You’re on the internet for a reason. Make it known on every outlet possible- but be careful to not fatigue audiences by overdoing it.

Tip #4: Put a ring on it.

Take the plunge: Get engaged! …with your Twitter audience, that is.

What you want is to make people come to you, not have to ‘follow for a follow.’ By participating in niche conversations, Twitter chats, forums, etc. you establish yourself as a resource on your niche topics. Once you become a resource, you gain reputation. Once you have a strong reputation you become a thought leader. Once you become a thought leader… the possibilities of influence are endless.

Engagement is a bit more in depth than just simply ‘talking,’ though. Analyze who the existing thought leaders are in your interested publics (audiences), why these personalities or organizations are thought leaders, and then engage with them as well as their followers. Again- if you don’t want to do this groundwork, I don’t blame you. Hire me to do it for you! 

At first, you will be in a way riding these thought leaders’ coattails, however, this is integral in order to get them to help you build your reputation without outright stating your agenda. You'll at first gain followers via osmosis, but then others in your niche will naturally start coming to you as you yourself are established as a thought leader.

Tip #5: Use your powers for good.

Google is changing its search algorithm to better reflect user/site online reputation, and it is because this is exactly what internet users want. When you want to read the news, you look for a brand name news site that speaks to you - even if it is a niche site, for some reason you trust its reputation. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’m pretty sure it burned down in less than that. The same goes for your online reputation. Make sure that all of your outlets are accurately reflecting what you stand for- even your personal sites that have a limited audience. You never know who is looking over someone’s shoulder. If you are having someone else manage your social profiles for you or your company, feel free to lay down some ground rules so that they know what is expected in regards to language, tone, and personality. 

A tweet can be deleted, but its impact lasts a lot longer than those 140 characters it took just a few seconds to type. Make sure you aren’t losing clients or alienating followers due to something as simple as straying from you or your company’s values. Yes, you should have personality and be yourself- putting a face on a company, even, is always a good idea. But you should know the norm within your area so that you are familiar with what will and won’t be acceptable to those around you.

I know this may seem simple, but even a misplaced curse word can cost you. Know what it takes to fit in with your peers in your industry or niche. You don’t need to use Howard Stern tactics to be noticed (unless that’s common in your area). You will stand out because you provide quality content, relevant contributions, entertainment value, and, most importantly, a standard of excellence.

Bonus! Tip #6: Hire me!

I'm in the business of creating resources and reputation, not adding meaningless numbers or page hits. 

No one can truly brand themselves as a social media expert, given the changing atmosphere of the online community as well as the fluid nature of technology. 

However, my 6 plus years of experience helping companies build their online social media reputations gives me room to confidently state that I have enough online marketing and mixed media experience to know what works and what doesn't. 

From creating strategy in the hospitality industry with Schahet Hotels, a franchise that owns and operates Hilton and Intercontinental brand hotels, to social media consulting in the entertainment industry with Playboy Golf, I have efficiently and effectively been able to create messaging, improve ranking, garner followers on all social media and relevant niche media platforms, all while strengthening online reputation. 

I'd love to help you build an online reputation via social media!

Here are a few ways to get in touch with me so I can help you and/or your business become a respected social media thought leader in your industry:

E-mail: mbrown918@gmail.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thatgirlmegan

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/thatgirlmegan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megan.brown

Google+: https://plus.google.com/104925629302385815418

Site: http://www.thatgirlmegan.com