Let’s start with a story. Because stories are awesome.

A few years ago I got fired from an advertising agency I worked at. We didn’t get along; my mindset was totally different from theirs. Our paths just went into different directions.

But still, I was warm and fuzzy there. I didn’t need to look for clients. I didn’t need to think about business growth. They brought everything on a platter. I just did my work, and that was it.

But then that day came. They called me in the conference room and told me the news. I saw it coming, but hey, no one’s ready for this.

I decided to do my own thing. Grow my own business.

But I had no clients. The clients I worked with before belonged to the agency.

I had 0 referrals. And practically no entrepreneur friends that could help me get my first customers.

But the most frustrating thing of all was I had absolutely no knowledge of how to even get my first clients. Sure, I read about several different tactics a bunch of times, but I wanted to find something effective, yet new and different.

Something people aren’t put off by.

Experiments are gold

I experimented with cold emails combined with cold calling and other different things. Nothing was as effective as I expected. The prospects were fed up with this approach. Cold emailing was something everyone did.

The prospects weren’t great either. I was automatically in a subordinate position because I was reaching out to them and not the other way around. With this kind of arrangement, it was very hard to set limits and act determined.

That led me to try something different.

And I tried Twitter.

Let’s do this social media thing

If I wanted to get better results with my social media actions compared to other people in a similar industry, I needed to do something different.

The vast majority of my competitors didn’t think of Twitter as a channel for building authority and doing valuable outreach. Their Twitter strategy consisted of opening Twitter on their phone and just … I don’t know, doing something.

That approach yielded under-average results for them. They were on Twitter for the sake of being on Twitter. And nothing else.

But I wanted to be deliberate in my actions. I wanted to grow my audience, build my authority and slowly pave my path towards an effective social media strategy that constantly draws a stream of prospects my way.

I had a clear goal that I managed to achieve. And this is how I did it.

The KEY to an effective Twitter presence

First step: Schedule 60 minutes a day for nurturing your Twitter profile.

And by scheduling, I mean putting it on your calendar. Really.

You have to be deliberate about it like you’re intentional with the work you do for your clients. You have a business you need to grow. You are your client. Schedule the work you need to do for your own business.

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Next, your Twitter presence should be structured around three pillars:

  • Authority
  • Personality
  • Engagement

Authority

When I started with growing my Twitter presence, I asked myself: “Which people get the most out of their Twitter actions?”

Authorities.

But you can’t become one over a course of one day. It’s like walking into a room full of people talking to each other and shouting — “Hey, I’m an authority” — expecting them to believe you, make a circle around you and listen to everything you say.

It doesn’t work that way. You have to build your authority. You have to earn it.

In the beginning, no one asked me questions. No one was looking for my help. No one was asking for my advice on something related to social media.

No one considered me as an authority. So I needed to go out there and build it.

How I did it?

By being proactive about it and looking for people in need of social media help.

I used Twitter search to find them. I searched for specific keywords, related to the industry I worked in. I went out there and found them.

When I found them, I genuinely helped those people. Not with links to my blog posts, but rather with communicating the solution to their problem right there on Twitter.

They implemented their newly-gained knowledge, seen results and helped me build my authority with talking about my knowledge, retweeting me, following me.

Best thing of all? Some of them also came back for more. And that “more” was something I charged for.

Personality

You know I talk about personality a lot. Especially because it’s sad how companies just can’t wrap their heads around the simple fact that people want to engage with people.

“I’m so happy to be following a faceless brand that sounds like a robot,” said no one ever.

Robot

People need a face to connect with. They need to see a personality behind a business. They need to be aware what differentiates you from other competitors.

I was very personal from the very beginning on Twitter. That set me apart from others and attracted even more prospects.

But how can you achieve that?

Don’t be afraid communicating your unique opinion on things. Twitter is personal, make it personal. Share your philosophies and stand behind every word you say. Strong personalities attract people.

Share little snippets of content from your personal life. You think that’s not professional? You’re the face of the business. Everything should be personal.

Personality enables your audience to connect with you on a level they can’t with other brands. It sets you apart and puts you in a position where clients want to work with you and not any other service providers.

When that happens, you’re in it for a win. Suddenly you’re in a much better negotiating position you were before with the cold calling. They’re looking for your help and not the other way around. And they’re willing to do anything to get you to their side.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Make it happen

Two people I really admire when it comes to communicating your personality on social media are Gary Vaynerchuk and Amy Hoy.

They’re both strong personalities that attract lots of followers and leads. And the people they attract are going to stay with them forever.

Take a look at their Twitter profiles and see what they’re doing differently. Do that.

Engagement

The third and probably the most important piece of the puzzle is engagement.

With who you’d rather go for a drink with — someone who can’t shut up about them and doesn’t listen to you?

Or someone who listens, replies to your comments and acknowledges what you’re saying?

Thought so.

But let’s check in with reality now. 95% of Twitter profiles (and I’m being very modest here) are the first version of that. They just can’t shut up about themselves and later wonder why no one wants to talk to them.

Don’t be that guy. Or gal.

Be different and engage with people. Open Twitter and go through your timeline. Are there any tweets you can reply to and express your opinion? Can you add value or humour to the tweets you’re seeing? Do it.

Show the people of Twitter you’re there and you care. You listen, because you’re different. You engage because you care about other people’s opinions.

Action Plan

The three pillars you need to include in your Twitter strategy are Authority, Personality and Engagement.

But how do you tie all this together?

Each day you’re going to dedicate 60 minutes for Twitter. That’s 20 minutes for each pillar we discussed.

Twitter Schedule

Start with Authority. Build your authority with helping people in need of your professional advice. Find those people, don’t wait for them.

Then communicate your Personality. Share your unique opinion on things. Show your audience backstage, into your personal life. Differentiate from others.

And finish with Engagement. Go through your timeline and engage with the people you’re following. Prove them you’re different because you care.

Results

You’re building a foundation with this approach. Foundation that’s allowing you to build your palace on.

When I went from cold emailing to using Twitter as a channel for getting leads, everything changed. I raised my prices easily because I had people knocking on my door, wanting to work with me and not with someone else.

I’ve built my authority on Twitter, but that transferred to other channels as well. That brought speaking engagements and other awesome opportunities my way.

I grew a highly-engaged audience that follows me everything I go and supports (morally and financially) everything I do.

Your take

What about you? What are you going to do differently on Twitter from now on?

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