Building relationships is essential to social media success. Because Twitter is a faster-paced social network, your approach to relationships built through Twitter needs to be more thoughtful and purposeful.
The best way to build relationships on Twitter is to be personal. If all you post is links, if you never engage or start a conversation, you are not being personable. Why do your clients do business with you when they can get insurance on their own from a gecko? Because they like you. Because they trust you.
Twitter allows you to open up and share more than your business-oriented self. It creates an emotional connection with your audience. When you share personal information, your followers get to know you beyond "Bob sells insurance." If everything you share on Twitter is business oriented, your feed would be little more than cold and robotic.
There is a fine line between sharing and oversharing though. If you'd like to start being personal on Twitter without sharing every minutia of your life, here are nine tips for you.
Social media is a two-way channel. When people are nice enough to follow or retweet your posts, acknowledge it with a thank you and pay it forward. “@ChrisBeeler hey buddy thanks for the follow. Enjoy the ride known as my personal twitter feed.”
2. Recommendations and opinions
You could recommend other people to follow. For example, if you have a strategic partnership with a real estate agent, he or she would make a great recommendation. If you’re a big fan of a local restaurant, share your favorite menu items. Share your likes and dislikes, like if you prefer one airline over another. You may choose to share your political or religious beliefs. Keep in mind that it might alienate some of your followers. When deciding which of your beliefs, opinions, etc. to tweet about, post only what you would share in person in a mixed setting like a networking event or trade show. Some recommendations and opinions I’ve shared on Twitter: “People really need to take a listen to @karnivool. Great band. You are missing out.” “When I go to a bad looking website, I don’t trust them.” “En route to @Cattleackbbq. Best #bbq in Dallas.”
3. Emotional experiences
Emotions can be shared occasionally and still have a big impact on your Twitter relationships. Maybe you would rather be at a game instead of doing yard work. I bet you have more than one follower that could commiserate with that sentiment. Don't forget to share the good too. For example: “I love what I do, sometimes I just want to be home.” “An hour away from turning off my corporate email on my phone & tablet for the next 2 weeks. Let the over/under wagering begin. #vacation”
4. Personal interviews
When you’re interviewed by a local news outlet or another blogger, share that link. It is a tremendous way to show your expertise and build credibility. “Mentioned a few times. http://agncy.bz/9RM8UL … #brag (via @ijournal)”
5. Hobbies and projects
A great way to get personal on Twitter without being too personal is to share your interests, hobbies or projects outside the office. Do you do a lot of DIY projects around your house? Do you run marathons? I am a licensed pilot so I like to tweet about flying from time to time. “My #flight #instructor made me hand fly 95% of the time. Automation takes the fun out of flying. http://agncy.bz/dLKzaA … Thanks #CFI Andy P.”
6. Events, TV shows and movies
Live tweeting during a popular TV show or event like the Super Bowl or Academy Awards is a great way to share that personal side of you without oversharing. When you use hashtags, you’ll be able to participate in a conversation and engage with other people who may not be following you yet. Here a couple of my tweets: “When watching @WalkingDead_AMC and the theme music comes on, it pumps me up.” “Stoked, watching the new #survivorman with @reallesstroud”
Visuals can be extremely powerful as we have seen with the rise in popularity of Vine and Pinterest. Photos and videos can quickly create a connection between you and your Twitter followers. Here are a couple examples of some of the photos I’ve shared on Twitter: “Awards for @InsTechCorp pic.twitter.com/V5vVwtKu7C” “The @InsTechCorp @TurboRater appreciation party at @TopGolfColony was an absolute blast! Everyone was a winner. pic.twitter.com/egrF4mnWWg”
8. Inspirational quotes and statistics
People like to share quotes and statistics. These tweets can become some of your most engaging posts through retweeting, and they make great conversation starters. “51% of our #ie visitors use versions 6, 7, and 8. 63% of our visitors use Internet Explorer, @Microsoft please update these lost souls.”
We are learning about different causes through social media as our friends post links and talk about what causes they support. If you have a cause you’re passionate about, tweet about it and help spread the word for your favorite cause.
About the Author: Laird Rixford, president at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), currently consults agencies nationwide on their online marketing initiatives. Laird and the Insurance Website Builder team have launched more than 2,500 insurance agency websites nationwide. In addition to Insurance Website Builder, Laird has designed the AgencyBuzz drip email marketing and lead management solution exclusively for the insurance industry. To learn more about ITC and its products and services for insurance agents, visit www.GetITC.com.