How To Establish Thought Leadership On Twitter

9 minute read

An image of Neil Schaffer.

How many of your employees are already on social?

Every time I get an email from one of my 220,000+ followers on Twitter who reaches out to me because they think of me as an expert, I smile.

The openness, unique role in the news and media industry, and sheer number of searches being done on it make Twitter the perfect place to extend your company’s brand through its employee and establish thought leadership for anyone in your company that wants to invest a little time in the effort.

Twitter is so powerful that one startup who’s social media I managed was reached out to by the Dr. Oz show merely 3 1/2 months after launching.

This was done by constant posting on a specific subject, engaging appropriately, and finally having something to link to that those interested in the subject would find compelling.

The above is a summary of the formula I would use to utilize Twitter as a vehicle to establish thought leadership in any industry. The following is the way to do so in more detail in as quick as a few months.


Build Reach

Human beings see credibility in those who seem to attract a lot of attention. Whether it is blog posts with lots of social shares or comments or celebrities on Instagram with tens of thousands of followers, numbers count.

That’s why thought leadership begins with building reach – and with it virtual credibility.

Online marketers have many options for getting subscribers; all with varying costs, most of which relate to how competitive your market is, how it is segmented, and of course the industry you are in. So, to gain subscribers on Twitter keep in mind the following two facts:

  1. Twitter’s focus in on followers and not on likes or friends; and
  2. Reciprocity, a part of cyber-culture, is embraced on Twitter

The focus on followers is self-evident on Twitter, but reciprocity is a new marketing paradigm.

Basically, as it applies to Twitter reciprocity means that when you choose to follow a business or individual, many of them that are active on Twitter will follow you in return.

Take a look at the power of reciprocity on the following chart:

The Power of Twitter Reciprocity
EventPercentage of Survey Respondents
People who follow SMBs Retweet content from that business78
Feel better about an SMB after following and reading its Tweets75
Have purchased from an SMB after following them on Twitter69

Source: Twitter

A Facebook Page or LinkedIn Company Page cannot follow other people, and many Facebook users or LinkedIn users might not want to be your friend or accept your connection request.

Twitter is fundamentally different in that you can organically start to build reach through the simple act of following others that are relevant to the audience you wish to build.


Become a Content Curator

Reach alone does not build thought leadership on Twitter. Content does. Twitter represents the convergence of information and communication, and simply put, you need to have something to say to engage on Twitter. Twitter engagement is done through the communication currency of information.

Now, unless you are regularly publishing blog posts on a daily basis, you need to have something to talk about that will help introduce other Twitter users to your thoughts and unique perspectives.

That’s where content curation comes in: It gives you the ability to begin to engage with content that, while not your own, showcases your unique perspective on whatever it is you wish to be known for.

Curating content is as easy as simply posting to Twitter the industry news that you are reading everyday. Better yet, if you have an employee advocacy program that is powered by a tool like EveryoneSocial, you already have content curated for you on a platter and ready to post.


Become a Content Creator

If your company has an internal blog, you have the perfect avenue to both contribute to your employee advocacy program as well as begin to yield more thought leadership as you showcase your own ideas.

It is difficult to establish thought leadership simply by sharing the content of others. Only when you begin to add your own perspectives, especially on a blog post where you can expose upon them in more depth, do you begin to become a memorable entity in your industry.

This is where it gets challenging: Establishing thought leadership isn’t about self-promoting your own or your company’s posts all the time. It’s about establishing trust with Twitter users by showcasing ideas from a variety of sources.

I created the 9-1-1 algorithm to highlight the right amount of which type of content to share in social: Share one of your own pieces and one promotional piece of content from your company for every 9 pieces of curated content that you share.



Twitter gives you the ability to send social signals: Take advantage of it! Follow those that are relevant to your establishing thought leadership.

Retweet content from influencers who you want to be recognized by. Create lists of your fans that share your content.

With every social signal you send, you appear in the notifications section in someone’s Twitter profile, and that helps you cut through the noise and get noticed by Twitter users that matter to you.


Content is King. Consistency is Queen.

Consistency breeds followers. In fact, if Content is King on Twitter, Consistency is Queen.

Post to Twitter on a regular basis and keep to your schedule. Warn your followers of upcoming vacation time or work crunches that might not let you make your regular post – pick up where you left off quickly.

Start by tweeting twice a day, and when you become comfortable you have a system (or tool like EveryoneSocial) in place where you feel confident you and tweet more frequently, slowly increase your frequency.


Experiment with Twitter Chats

Search Twitter for chats that involve your industry and regularly participate in them. It takes an effort to make a statement in the Twitter required 280 characters or less allowed, but Twitter Chats allow your tweets to be seen by large audiences and your thoughts to influencer others on a larger scale.


Conclusion: Thought Leadership for You (or Your Employees) on Twitter is Yours for the Asking

Twitter is a free platform for users and has a wide-spread audience. With just a little diligence, a little work, and no cash outlay, you too can become a thought leader in your industry on Twitter.

Spend a little on Paid Social and you can accelerate your quest for thought leadership.


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