|How can B2B journalists and publications tune up their Twitter feeds? Emedia Vitals gathered some tips from the B2B Twitterer of the Year for Business Journalism.
The B2B Twitter of the Year Awards (B2BTOTY), now in its third year, recognizes successful B2B Twitter accounts in several categories, including business journalism. This year's winner in the journalist category is Brian Anthony Hernandez, a staff writer for TechMediaNetwork's Business News Daily, which covers small businesses and startups.
Candidates are nominated via Twitter and judged by a panel of social media experts. The journalism category admittedly didn't have as many nominations as other categories, but Hernandez was in good company, competing with big names from publications such as The New York Times and BusinessWeek.
Hernandez started tweeting in 2009 as a reporter at The Arizona Republic to keep tabs on key agencies and public figures and cultivate relationships with readers, he said. Now as a reporter for BusinessNewsDaily.com, like many journalists, he uses the platform to engage with readers, business professionals, fellow sources and fellow journalists. He offered a few of his tweet tactics over email.
EMV: What are your goals on Twitter?
Twitter is one way for my followers to keep their fingers on the pulse of the business world, particularly on news and trends about entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups. With that constantly in the front of my mind, I strive to be the lifeblood of business knowledge by dispersing what I know and learn to my publication's readers, which are primarily entrepreneurs, startups, business owners, people dreaming of starting a business and professionals who want to help those dreamers thrive.
That's my main goal, but I also use Twitter to find new sources, ask questions and drive traffic to Business News Daily so that my followers can stay updated on subjects that affect their online and offline lives.
What makes tweets successful in B2B journalism? Can you offer two or three tips?
I describe successful tweets as "super tweets" - messages that have personality, value and information in 140 characters or fewer.
- Personality: Just be you. If you're laid-back, then be conversational in your tweets. If you're humorous, then include tasteful humor in your tweets.
- Value: Be valuable to your followers; don't just talk about your business. Tweet or retweet links to news stories, events and advice related to your business, products or services. The more you help your followers, the more they will trust you, which will motivate them to start routinely reading your tweets and clicking on links in tweets about your business. This trust potentially could lead to sales and brand loyalty.
- Information: Include essential keywords. Turn one or two of them into hashtags so people who don't follow you will see your tweets, too. Mention sources in your tweets using the @username construction. People who are mentioned often retweet these to their followers, who also may retweet them again to their followers and so on.
It's difficult to balance a personal persona and journalistic persona - what works for you on Twitter?
I know many people who struggle to find their identity on Twitter. What works for me is that I've pinpointed my audience (business owners, entrepreneurs, social media users, consumers and consultants) and focused the majority of my tweets on helping or informing those audience members. I also add personality and pictures to my tweets. For a journalist, it's vital to remain unbiased to topics in which he or she covers.
Does your publication market your individual Twitter profile?
Business News Daily promotes my Twitter handle at the end of every story I write. My publication also retweets my tweets, as do our sister Web sites - such as Space.com, LiveScience.com and TechNewsDaily.com - whenever my content falls into the realm of what their followers enjoy reading. Our parent company, TechMediaNetwork, plans to promote our Twitter accounts more prominently in the future via reporter bio boxes on every story page. [TechMediaNetwork has seen tremendous growth in the last year.]
Like many social media tools, Twitter is both helpful and distracting for journalists. How do you keep it from being a time suck?
I don't view Twitter as a distraction. When I'm on it either posting or reading tweets, I find this to be a valuable experience because I'm always learning something new or helping my followers learn. To manage my time effectively, I use HootSuite to organize my home feed, keyword searches, direct messages, pending tweets, mentions and sent tweets.
Any last words for B2B publishers still trying to figure out how Twitter works into their content strategy?
Add something to the conversation. Pimping your own stuff can only get your company and reputation so far before your tweets just become noise and the Twitterverse tunes you out. Interact now. Good luck.
Source: Emedia Vitals