How to win followers and influence people on LinkedIn and Twitter
Lesa Beaty is a copywriter at Ready for Social. She has written for various newspapers and magazines throughout her career.
If you aspire to become a business influencer on LinkedIn or Twitter, I have good news for you. You don’t have to be “lucky” to attain influencer status. You can accomplish this goal through methodical strategy, investment of time, and interaction with influencers, followers and others who interact with you. Ready to begin?
LinkedIn vs. Twitter
LinkedIn is the largest social media platform for business professionals, with more than half a billion users around the globe. More than 80% of B2B businesses use LinkedIn, as do 96% of B2B marketers. If you succeed in building a good reputation on LinkedIn, it will translate to real-life credibility with business associates.
If you’re looking to attract B2B clients, LinkedIn is probably the way to go. LinkedIn relationships usually yield more conversions, and you’re often reaching higher intent people within your industry. The average conversion rate for LinkedIn ads is 6.1% in the U.S., illustrating that LinkedIn is where people go to do business.
Twitter is a social media platform whose primary purpose is to connect people and allow users to communicate with a large audience. Each Twitter account is unique, and each user can curate theirs to match their wishes. Some users tweet poetry, some opine about politics, and, yes, many utilize Twitter as a marketing tool. You can create an account that’s strictly business and follow people in your industry the same as you can on LinkedIn.
Twitter has 206 million users worldwide. Sixty-seven percent of B2B businesses use Twitter, along with 82% of B2B marketers. The average conversion rate for Twitter ads in the U.S. is 0.9%. Now that we’re done comparing: Have you decided whether you want to use one or both of these platforms to help grow your company? We hope so because it’s time to get into details on becoming an influencer.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn
An influencer on LinkedIn is a thought leader within a certain industry who creates and shares organic content with a large LinkedIn audience.
To be considered an influencer, you must have at least 501 followers (more than 500). It’s not advisable to randomly add followers, however. Connect with people who are interested in your content, such as industry peers.
To attract people to your account, optimize your profile. This will enhance your LinkedIn persona. Create a header that’s relevant to your business. Photos of yourself speaking at a business event, photos of your team members or graphic calls to action are all excellent choices. These types of photos present a dynamic image that encourages engagement.
Now that you’ve attracted some visitors, take stock of your “about” section. Don’t write your life story. List impressive accomplishments and credentials. Mention facts that are relevant to why someone would consider you a valued coworker. LinkedIn automatically populates your headline, but you can edit it. For example, if your headline merely reads “Marketing Manager,” you may want to change it to something more interesting, such as “Leading a team of innovative marketers who are crushing it at Acme Advertising.”
The quickest way to establish yourself as a LinkedIn influencer is to create meaningful content. LinkedIn highly values comments because they encourage conversations. The best way to inspire comments is to post high-quality, stimulating content. Make your content thought-provoking at times, but be careful not to alienate anyone in your target audience. That said, you won’t gain followers if your content is too bland, so try to maintain a balance. When you think of content, remember to mix things up to keep your posts compelling. Use a variety of formats when you post. Including links to articles, other posts, videos or slideshow presentations will keep your readers intrerested . Seek out topics that will add value for your followers, even if you occasionally post something that’s meant to be purely amusing.
It’s all about relationships
I’ve saved the best advice for last. Becoming influential on social media is all about relationships. Be sure to interact with your followers. Make it a point to respond to at least one-quarter to one-third of those who contact you, says Jim Keenan, founder of sales consultancy “A Sales Guy.” Comment on others’ content and share it if you find it of value, tagging the creator to generate even more engagement.
LinkedIn says becoming influential on its platform can be attained with consistency, depth and the genuine desire to create conversations.
Creating a sphere of influence on Twitter The same advice regarding header and profile optimization applies to Twitter. In addition, try to make it search-engine optimized and use hashtags. It’s also beneficial to provide relevant information about your business, such as URL, Twitter handles and contact details.
Everybody starts with zero followers on Twitter. If you’re already famous for something, you may amass thousands of followers in a few seconds, but that’s not the case for most of us. Influencers are broken down by the numbers for Twitter. You can be a micro-influencer with as few as 1,000 followers. To be a mega-influencer, you need at least one million followers. Other tiers of influence fall in between these numbers.
Speaking of numbers: It’s better to have 1,000 active followers than to have 20,000 inactive followers. It’s all about relationships and engagement.
To nurture these relationships, tweet regularly. Your followers expect content from you, and you risk losing their loyalty if you don’t tweet for days or weeks. By the same token, don’t overwhelm your readers with too many tweets. You can automatically set times for your tweets to be broadcast right from the Twitter app to keep your tweet schedule consistent. Set aside time for tweeting, responding to audience engagement and engaging with other users’ content.
Establishing influencer credentials
Follow others in your field and like, reply or retweet their tweets. While you’re doing that, keep your thinking cap on. Observe how they compose their tweets and replies to build engagement, especially if they are influencers who you admire. Think about how they present themselves on the platform. If it’s a persona you’d like to emulate, take notes.
As with LinkedIn, engagement is key. Be sure to respond to followers, respond professionally to trolls and create opportunities for conversation. It’s perfectly fine to ask for retweets or responses to your questions or surveys. You can say something like, “If you learned from this tweet, please pass it on to others in our field” or “Reply to me with your thoughts concerning this issue.”
Choose your content wisely
Old tweets never die. They just get retweeted when they can incriminate you. If you’ve always advocated for environmental responsibility and all of a sudden endorse a product that does not follow that credo, your credibility will suffer.
Don’t lose sight of your goal. Before you tweet, determine whether this tweet fits in with your overall strategy to become an influencer. How will this tweet affect your overall business voice and your branding? You are your brand. How you present yourself is entirely up to you.
Keep your head down and keep working at it. While it is true that some people get lucky with a viral tweet because they were in the right place at the right time, it is also true that if you consistently create quality content, you will get retweets and enlarge your following and influence. Timing and persistence are key.
Ready to begin?
Are you ready to start your journey toward becoming a social media influencer? Have you already been working at it? Did you find value in this article? Please comment and tell me about your experiences building a following on social media.
Photos by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels, Cristian Dina from Pexels, Brett Jordan from Pexels