7 actions smart thought leaders prioritize when they join Twitter

© Tweeter Linder 2021 – All rights reserved – photo by iStock

You are a vital contributor to your company’s thought leadership, either as an industry expert articulating the thoughts or supporting an executive giving the perspectives authority. Creating thought leadership is half the job, and the other half is about securing broad distribution and reach. Aim to mimic great trailers for movies or inspiring book tours for a book. Here are five actions to kick start your Twitter presence and quickly get fundamentals in place. 

Pick a name you want to build your personal brand around

When establishing a Twitter account, you get to choose a name on your Twitter handle. At this time, you pick a name like you would have selected a name for your own company. This name will be the personal brand you are about to build on Twitter. Common twitter names are: 

  • @Firstname – if you have a unique one. A strategy used by the first ones on Twitter like @jack (CEO Twitter) 
  • @FirstnameLastname – ideal, and still possible with a special name combination 
  • @FirstnameMiddleinitialLastname – a great second option 
  • @InitialLastname – easy to memorize 
  • @LastnameFirstname – a great option 
  • @Firstname_Lastname – mainstream 

A basic profile – beyond the default egghead 

Your profile gives your audience the first impression. Avoid the common mistake of starting with the default “egg head” picture. Bare minimum is 

  1. Profile picture – reuse your LinkedIn picture for personal brand consistency 
  2. Two short sentence texts on who you are, one professional and one with a private twist 
  3. Name 3-5 fields representing your area of expertise. 
  4. Background picture – same as the LinkedIn background 
  5. Consider changing your LinkedIn name to the same as your Twitter name for full alignment. 

Follow your first fifty people strategically 

When going live on Twitter, you want to find fifty people whom you can learn from quickly. Such as:  

  • Five customer representatives that are active on Twitter – to give you a feeling about conversations they engage in  
  • Five expert influencers in your industry – active in shaping industry agendas
  • Five colleagues from your own company – great with sparring partners close to home 
  • Five journalists writing about your industry – bring you up to speed on what is hot and what is not. 
  • Five industry analysts covering in your market – for insights on more complex aspects of your business 
  • Five super connectors – who master the art of engaging on Twitter 
  • Five stars in your favorite hobby/sports – to thrive on Twitter, you need both professional and private elements 
  • Five industry organizations your company are members of 
  • Five competitors or their executives, to observe how they position themselves on Twitter 
  • Five marketers in your own company 

Define the hashtags you aim to engage around 

Conversations on Twitter happen around hashtags. Longer running hashtags or new ones are popping quickly up to around a hot subject. 

Pick a handful of hashtags you want to follow. Participate by going in daily to watch the discussion. Listen for vital questions. Learn which type of tweets attracting you. Aspire to understand what are essential topics under each hashtag. Large and generic hashtags are the hardest to get a grip on in the beginning. 

Fifty followers that can accelerate the reach of your posts

Be strategic on whom you want to follow you. Before anyone following you, it is unlikely they will engage with you. Getting your audience to engage with you is easier if you first engage around their tweets by commenting or retweeting, and then after a while following and expecting them to follow back. Aim to find :

  • Ten people you know that are most likely to like, retweet, or comment on a post you make. Target good friends with decent networks early. 
  • Ten people with a large base of followers can give your tweets a boost when they comment or retweet. 
  • Ten internal influencers in your company or external influencers your company works with are vital as your tweets’ accelerators.  
  • Ten colleagues whom you know have a Twitter presence and are a step ahead of you. Steal with pride. 
  • Ten suppliers/partners, you interact with frequently. It is hard to see how they will not follow you. 

Listen and let other’s refer to you as a first step

In the initial stages of your new digital life, you want to “listen” more than you “talk.” Pay attention to how people write to make you click on an asset or engage in a conversation. Let others connect with you, and then follow back. 

Next, start sending a mail with thought leadership assets and your handle to people you think can promote them. Include a few of these people in your tweets to make it easy for them to engage with you. 

With the presence described above, you get access to a new world when seeing how tweets around your thought leadership assets are perceived. Promote your thought leadership contributions from both your own LinkedIn and Twitter account. Track performance, adjusted for the different strength your networks have. Pick up old assets and give them a fresh twist if still relevant. Expect the productive life for a tweet to be less than 30 minutes.

Start posting around company-curated content 

Beyond promoting the assets, you create yourself; you want to tap into good material worth sharing. You can find such content in employee advocacy programs – with daily curations of content made ready to share. Share it with your own personal comments and relevant hashtags. 


These ideas cover a good start of the beginning, suitable for expert influencers and those of you supporting an executive. In the third decade of this millennium, it is hard to get traction with thought leadership on LinkedIn alone, and a Twitter presence is essential to get noticed. The time and effort you have invested in developing your subject matter expertise and thought leadership assets is worth great promotions. 

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