Twitter is a “micro-blogging” platform that allows you to send short, 140-character updates to your “followers,” as well as receive “tweets” from the people you choose to follow. The service can help you establish a personal or professional brand, get news super fast (i.e. deal updates and real-time middle market activity from @AxialCo and @peHUB), follow the thoughts of experts and newsmakers who run and buy companies (such as @Rich_Lawson), share your M&A expertise and advice with those who are interested in your ideas (like “@gladiuscapgrp is our go-to for transaction advisory”), and grow your network through new interactions (drop us a note @AxialCo, we’ll talk to you!).
Building a network and strengthening relationships are critical parts of how M&A professionals engage with entrepreneurs, develop and maintain a consistent presence in front of potential clients, and build their reputations as part of their overall engagement strategies. Twitter’s architecture makes it a very public and short-form medium, so it makes sense that this social network has been more slowly adopted by M&A professionals. Despite its limited usage within our industry, it’s a powerful business tool to assist on two fronts: expanding your network and developing an outstanding reputation.
Here are three ways to begin using Twitter:
1. Dive In & Start Following
You don’t need to actively tweet to generate value from having a Twitter account. It’s easy to set up an account on Twitter and simply begin following people. One of the biggest benefits of Twitter is that updates get deployed in real-time, sometimes just seconds after news is announced or an event takes place. For any Tweeters you find interesting, simply hit the “Follow” button and their tweets will be added to your news feed, the stream of content which is tailored to your interests based on who you decide to follow. If you want suggestions on who you should follow, click on the aptly named “Who to Follow” link in the top navigation of your Twitter account. Or, use the search bar to find people who tweet on subjects like “mergers,” “private equity,” or any other topic that interests you.
2. If You’re Timid, Retweet
Tweeting your own tweets can feel foreign or intimidating for Twitter rookies. To ease in to Twitter, try “retweeting” (often abbreviated as “RT”) any interesting tweets you come across. Retweeting helps to disseminate ideas and information to your followers, allowing you to ride on the coattails for the time being of the more advanced users you follow. It helps you to begin building up your public profile feed with interesting content too. The benefits of retweeting aren’t one-way though. The person who you retweeted will appreciate that you helped to amplify their message across the network, and may even thank you for the retweet. Retweeting helps you get noticed by these experts, and is a great way to easily engage with other Tweeters, even if you’re too shy to put your own words, wit, and wisdom out there yet.
3. The Bold Reply
Feeling confident with Twitter now that you’ve mastered Following and Retweeting? Replying to tweets with your own perspective and insight is the best way to interact with the people you find interesting, make connections that begin building valuable relationships, and lay the groundwork for your own thought-leadership and personal branding on Twitter. To start, if you agree or disagree with a particular tweet, hit Reply and formulate a response. The original Tweeter will most likely read your Reply, and may even respond to begin a conversation with you or retweet your reply. The only thing you have to do now? Master writing it all in 140 characters or fewer.