Choosing a Twitter Strategy

Develop a mission statement for your Twitter strategy

Twitter tweet box, choose a strategy
Illustration: Les Walker

Every social media user needs a Twitter strategy. Learning how to use Twitter doesn't just mean figuring out how to cram your thoughts into 280 characters or identifying the best apps for viewing tweets. It also means defining your communication goals and tweeting strategy so you can develop savvy ways to achieve them.

Two questions Will Help Define your Twitter mission:

  • Who do you want to reach with your tweets?
  • What do you want to learn from reading tweets?

Answering those questions should go a long way toward shaping your strategy on how to use the short-messaging system.

Priority: Personal or Professional?

Many people find that the hardest part about using Twitter is finding a focus. Should your messages primarily be about day-to-day personal life? Commentary relating to professional activities? Hobbies, passions?

And what do you want to read about? Many people choose different subjects for what they read on Twitter than what they write, which leads some users to create multiple Twitter accounts.

You can tweet and read about all of the above from the same account, of course, and many folks do just that.

But for effective tweeting, it's better if one topic is the primary focus of what you write about and is the subject of most of your tweets.

It’s All Fair Game in Social Tweeting

If, for example, your main goal in using Twitter is connecting with friends and building a stronger social network, then go ahead, tweet your heart out about the ups and downs of daily living in Youville.

Criticism of what your town mayor did yesterday? Sarcastic summaries of that not-so-blockbuster flick you saw last night? Both are fair game for social tweeting. What you think about just about anything, if said cleverly, or with humor, or in double doses of personality, might be considered tweetworthy for the social side of the messaging network .

Professional Tweeting Adds Value With Each Tweet

Personal tweets might not make the best tactic for attracting followers in your industry or profession. If you want to use to the network to advance your career, you'd be better off sharing links and commentary that others in your field find useful. Tweets that provide business value of any kind will more likely attract professional followers, especially if it includes thoughtful commentary on trends related to your profession.​

Mix It Up in Your Twitter Strategy

This bears repeating: You can and should tweet about both personal and professional topics. In fact, most popular Twitter users typically offer a diverse mix of messages with plenty of personality thrown in. Nobody wants to sound too impersonal in a medium that is decidedly personal.

It's just a question of emphasis. A majority of your tweets should be aimed at your primary audience because a barrage of irrelevant or trivial tweets could drive the followers you want most to unsubscribe.