Social media experts obsessed with engagement are quick to point out that tweeting links works. According to Adam Bain, Twitter President of Global Revenue, 80% of Twitter engagement is link clicking. At first glance, that is a powerful statistic, especially for companies and brands looking to drive thought leadership initiatives. Theoretically, spreading your industry knowledge to a relevant Twitter audience could generate leads and revenue. But you need to have your best practices ducks in a row in order to make this theory come to fruition.
- Thought Leaders, Know Your Followers – Articles on the importance of engaging your followers are published ad nauseam. The strength of social media is squarely in the consumer’s hands. They don’t want to be told to read your brilliance. If you’re followers are from your specific industry, chances are they are following the same publications you are. Try tweeting links directly from the publication site. It’s much less of a hard sell.
- Embrace the Retweet – Bain added that the remaining 20% of engagement stems from normal tweets and retweets. While that figure might not appear as striking as its 80% counterpart, it is actually more important. Remember that bit about the consumer being the straw that stirs the social drink? Well, if you are a budding or established thought leader, the retweet is a much favored concoction. If a reader deems your article worthy of spreading socially, the retweet is the seal of approval. And if you’re base of followers is industry savvy, they won’t regard it as just another link.
- Link Tweeting = Link Building? – Recently in Graywolf’s SEO Blog, Michael Gray asserted that the desire to acquire Facebook Likes is becoming the equivalent of black hat link building. Couldn’t the same be said of certain Twitter follower building strategies? With Twitter feeds influencing organic search rankings and with link clicking engagement at 80%, it’s plausible that tweeting links for the sake of tweeting links could eventually get Google’s attention. As more and more social networks pursue IPOs, like and tweeting practices will be heavily scrutinized. Again, this brings us back to point #1 – ensure your follower base is relevant to your industry.
Building up a strong thought leadership program requires driving awareness. Leveraging social media channels is a great way to go about it, as long as you know your audience. Tweeting a link to a piano playing cat might get you followers in the short-term but it’s doubtful many will stick around when your social conversation turns to high level topics that are of no interest to them. After all, a true leader never has to ask for followers. They just come naturally.