Twitter is exceptionally valuable for understanding the latest news, following potential clients or acquisitions, and staying in touch with your colleagues and competitors. Last year we wrote two articles covering the 13 established journalists and 15 up-and-coming journalists you should be following on Twitter to say up to date on the middle market. This year we decided it’s time to take one step back and write about the best way to get started on Twitter – giving a few tips to make it easy to use early on.
To get you started we’ll walk through some of the best techniques and tools for keeping up with the right groups in private equity, even if you aren’t ready to start writing your own tweets.
Follow Interesting People
The most common misconception about Twitter is that you have to be constantly sharing inane updates. One of the biggest strengths of Twitter is its role as a news aggregator. More than anything, it has become a place where industry experts share interesting news and commentary.
For example, while we tweet the latest news from @axialco, our main content writer @billyfink1 tweets infrequently. He does, however, use his account to follow industry experts and reads articles from Twitter on a very regular basis. His feed has become a curated news source, giving him exactly what he needs to read each day even if he rarely sends his own tweets.
One way to quickly get started on Twitter is to simply follow interesting people. To make it easy for you, we compiled lists of people worth following if you’re doing middle market transactions:
Click any of the lists above and press the “subscribe” button on the left side of the page. Instantly you’ll be following everyone on the list. Everyone on the lists who are critical to follow if you work in the middle market. The lists range from @wsj – The Wall Street Journal to @GaffinMark – a middle market deal professional. Following all of their tweets will keep you up to date quickly and easily.
Manage the Noise – Get the Important Details
The first thing you’ll notice after following any of the lists above is a nearly unlimited amount of tweets to read. There is no way to keep up with every tweet or every article shared by someone in the industry. Don’t even try.
The quickest way to get the most important news out of Twitter is to use one of these two services – both of which will send you a daily, curated email of the best tweets:
- Paper.li – Paper takes your entire twitter feed, sorts through all the tweets of the day, and selects the most popular tweets. Then it pulls out all of the links and creates a newspaper for you. Simple, quick, and once a day – it’s easily one of the best ways to read Twitter. An example is the Axial daily paper that we read internally.
- GetPrismatic – Prismatic is a more tailored version of Paper. It too reads through your twitter stream and pulls out the most popular articles. But instead of simply putting the tweets into a paper, it uses machine learning to understand which articles you read – learning which types of tweets you prefer. Over time it starts surfacing more and more relevant articles for you.
Going beyond the news to start sourcing deals
Ultimately, as a deal professional, you probably want to either find companies to invest in or uncover potential clients. Using social media sounds good, but how does it contribute to the bottom line?
Twitter can be one of the best ways to get news about companies you could potentially work with. By following the CEOs, heads of marketing or the company itself, you can get a sense for how well they’re doing. Furthermore, by following their competitors and journalists in the space, you can get a solid grasp on the major trends, new developments and hot companies in the industry.
Using a site like FollowerWonk can help you find the CEOs and businesses operating in the industry you’re targeting. Search for relevant keywords, click in to see details about the people returned, and then follow them if they’re relevant. Once you start following enough people in an industry, you’ll notice your paper.li or Prismatic stories starts to reflect the industry. Even if you never log back in to Twitter, you’ll receive a nicely curated feed of information delivered daily to your inbox.
While Twitter will never replace all of your research, it is a great way to cover the middle market and the companies you’re considering. By following the right people and using a few tools, you can stay up to date quickly and easily. Be sure to follow us at @axialco to read the latest in private equity, investment banking, and the rest of the middle market.