You can click “retweet” in a second of your time and absolutely zero thought. You can look at what the so-called “influencers” are sharing and mindlessly reshare everything they share without ever reading a single word in the articles your tweets say you endorse.
You don’t even have to be on Twitter to use it. You can automate your posts from Facebook and Instagram to go to Twitter or create a whole year’s worth of automated tweets in a single day.
But if this is all you do, don’t expect any member of the KOTAW Girl Gang to follow you!
Tweet More, With Meaning
Twitter moves so quickly (type in “how many tweets per second” in Google and the average that comes up is 6000) that most people don’t think it matters what they tweet. Figuring their tweets will quickly get lost in the clutter, many people tweet just for the sake of tweeting — the “as long as I’m tweeting something I’ll look like I’m involved approach”.
If your tweets don’t have meaning and purpose, don’t click tweet. It’s as simple as that.
Going through the motions of using Twitter but not actually putting in the work does more harm than good for your personal brand.
Plus, in all honesty, what’s the point?
In a year’s time, if you were to scroll through all your tweets from the past 365 days, would they make you smile, warm your heart, make you laugh, remind you of your successes and happy conversations, enliven your sense of style and aesthetics?
Or would they just be a bunch of boring, meaningless links?
Aim for the former.
Tweeting Your Brand Story
The KOTAW Girl Gang method of using Twitter involves thinking of your Twitter account as your portfolio — not as a bunch of random tweets destined to get lost in the abyss.
That means that anyone should be able to click on your Twitter page at any moment in time, scroll down your feed for up to 30 seconds, and get an idea of who you are and what your brand story is.
HERE ARE THREE TIPS ON HOW TO USE TWITTER AS A PORTFOLIO FOR YOUR BRAND STORY — AND TO UP THE CHANCES OF EARNING NEW, GENUINELY INTERESTED TWITTER FOLLOWERS:
1. Know who you are and why you’re on Twitter.
Not to sound like a 9th grade English teacher telling you to define your thesis statement, but your core essence and brand story should immediately stand out to anyone who clicks on your Twitter profile. For starters, this means having a high quality, professional and personable looking profile picture and a branded Twitter banner that visually tells your story.
For instance, click on our mom, Katherine Kotaw’s Twitter page, and you’ll immediately see the beautiful Twitter banner that Kelsey — who is responsible for all KOTAW eye candy — created for her. It features a picture of our mom and our pittie-pie Ivy (KOTAW’s Pit Bull Brand Ambassador) hanging out on the grass, alongside an image of a woman’s red manicured nails typing on a desk covered in pink flowers. The text on the banner reads “Branding + Storytelling (and Spreading the Pit Bull Love)”.
Next comes your bio, which should complement your visual content and explain — very simply — who you are and what you stand for.
Our mom’s Twitter bio reads: “Writer, Storyteller & CEO of KOTAW, branding + storytelling studio. My #KOTAWGirlGang & I are on a mission to rebrand Pit Bulls as loving dogs.”
And don’t forget to choose a poignant pinned tweet. Our mom’s consists of a collage of her and us when we were children alongside a collage featuring the three of us as adults with out Pit Bull Brand Ambassador Ivy. The rest reads “We are a mother-daughter-daughter-pit #brandstorytelling team! #KOTAWGirlGang” and includes the link to the “Who We Are” page of our website (along with book, heart and dog emojis!)
This is how you paint a picture with both visual and written content.
2. Be consistent.
Before Twitter became a visual platform (and it’s becoming more and more visual every day) you could more easily get away with clicking “Tweet” or “Retweet” at random. It would likely do you no good — KOTAW advises everyone to have a clear idea of their brand identity before beginning to use any social platform — but when Twitter was simply a long stream of black and white, you could blend in like Waldo and not have to worry about creating a bad impression due to bad images (or inconsistent visual branding).
That is no longer the case.
The KOTAW Girl Gang method of using Twitter involves being very clear about your personal brand story AND your visual branding.
Which means to only share an article that aligns with your brand’s values (an article you’ve read and think others would find helpful) AND to only share images that complement your visual brand identity.
Yes, this gets tricky — often a great article will contain an image that is not at all in your brand’s style — but try to be as consistent as possible with sticking to your visual style (even if that means finding an image of your own to attach to your tweet).
The goal here is that if someone goes to your Twitter page and clicks on your photo and video gallery, there will be visual as well as content consistency.
The bigger goal is that if a tweet of yours shows up in the Twitter feed, your visual brand identity will be so strong that your followers will immediately know that tweet is yours.
3. Be generous (and flattering!)
It’s common knowledge that sharing other people’s work is one of the best ways to get people to recognize you (and in turn, hopefully share your work as well).
What most people don’t realize (or take the time to focus on) is that being genuine on social media sets you apart from the countless people who are obviously just resharing everything their favorite “influencer” is sharing in some ill-advised attempt to suck up to them.
Being genuine is a good business tactic. It’s also a good way to really be. So don’t fake it.
Faking genuine caring or kindness is not only a bad character trait; it’s a surefire way to lose business. (No matter how many times you use “positive” or “kind” in your social media bio, if your actions don’t correspond with your words, you are branding yourself as fake with each and every post you share.)
So how do you set yourself apart from the 320 million active Twitter users?
- Rather than just clicking retweet or sharing a default tweet (such as the title of a blog post) sum up what you’re sharing in your own words and say what you found helpful, tagging the author in your tweet. People love to be praised — it triggers a dopamine/pleasure reaction in the brain — and bloggers love to know their blogs are not only being read, but making an impact. Think about it: Doesn’t it make YOU feel good when someone tweets your blog saying how AMAZING it is and references something specific you wrote about that they LOVE? And doesn’t it make you want to check out the person who took the time to personalize their tweet to you — and follow them if their Twitter portfolio tells a clear, cohesive brand story that interests you?
- If you think a blog you wrote would interest someone specific, tag them to let them know. You just might intrigue them to read your blog and even — if they really feel their opinion is of value to you — leave an ever-so coveted comment. This doesn’t mean spamming all your followers by tagging them in every blog post you write. It means being considerate. For instance, the KOTAW Girl Gang gets giddy when people tweet us happy pictures or stories about Pit Bulls, saying they knew we’d love them. It’s flattering when someone thinks of you. And day-making when your brand story is so clear that (in the case of the KOTAW Girl Gang) when someone sees a sweet Pit Bull, they can’t wait to share it with you.
- Be bold! When you have a new blog up on your site, don’t be afraid to keep sharing it. But don’t bore or spam your audience. The KOTAW Girl Gang doesn’t automate our tweets, which means each one is crafted with care (and shared in real time.) We don’t tweet pitches with links — we tell stories. Which means we switch up our copy and, if Kelsey has created multiple images for the same blog, we switch up our images too. This keeps our audience engaged. And no, we don’t just keep sharing our same blog over and over again in a row. That doesn’t look good visually and doesn’t promote a brand of generosity. Share other people’s work in between your own and don’t be afraid to stand out or, when appropriate, tag a celebrity. Tagging Ashley Judd to tell her she’s mentioned in a brave and inspirational personal branding blog by Bri prompted Ashley Judd to share Bri’s blog with her 273K followers. Tagging Natasha Bedingfield to tell her that Kelsey used her song “Strip Me” to explain the difference between visual branding and visual storytelling prompted Natasha Bedingfield to tweet “Very insightful thoughts about branding using my song,” with a smiley face, the link to Kelsey’s blog and the hashtag “KOTAW Content Marketing.”
And that’s pretty KOTAWesome.
This blog was written in honor of the entire KOTAW Girl Gang now being on Twitter! (Our Poodle Doodle LuLU, who LOVES being Poodle Popular and LOVES to have us read her all her fan mail on every adorable picture and story about her on social media, wants us to clarify: Technically, only the human/non-furry members of the KOTAW Girl Gang have they own Twitter accounts. But seeing as Katherine, Bri and Kelsey all regularly post pictures of Ivy, LuLU and Doosis — and include them in most stories on social media and on the KOTAW blog, we don’t think any of them ever have to worry about being left out!) If you haven’t already, please follow us on Twitter and tweet us to say hello. You can also say hello to all members of the KOTAW Girl Gang (furry members included!) in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!
PS: KOTAW Girl Gang members Bri and Kelsey made a video on how to use Twitter to tell your brand story. Actually, the process of making this video is what convinced Bri to finally join Twitter, so seeing as she inspired herself, you should definitely watch, share and get inspired too!