It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the importance of Twitter in the social media world. With the news that Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has taken a $300 million stake in the social media site, it’s just about impossible.

Is it time for financial advisors to start “tweeting”? (Tweeting is the term used to refer to the act of sending a message via twitter. A message sent on Twitter is referred to as a “tweet.”) As a Twitter user my self (@TJ_Gilsenan), I can attest to the fact that more and more financial advisors are setting up Twitter profiles and testing the waters.

Whether you are new to Twitter or seasoned vet, here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of the platform.

1. Participate in the conversation.

Where is the financial community on Twitter? Who are the leaders? What kind of content is being shared and what language are they using? Being a part of the industry on Twitter will connect you to a more relevant audience. To learn what other financial advisors are "tweeting" start here AdvisorTweets - an aggregated, curated collection of what financial advisors say on Twitter.

2. Follow people that you want to know.

Don’t just follow anyone with the hopes that they’ll follow you back. From industry experts to potential leads, follow people that you’re interested in and that you want to attract.  Connect with me on Twitter here @TJ_Gilsenan.

3. Introduce yourself.

Social media is like one big cocktail party. If there are people that you are really focused on getting to know, simply introduce yourself. It’s easy and more effective to make a personal introduction. You can also make a comment about their blog or ask a question.

4. Stay focused.

If you’re on Twitter for business keep it industry focused. Don’t tweet solely about your kids or what you ate for lunch. Although some personal interaction is acceptable, discussing relevant financial topics will attract a more targeted audience.

5. Don’t rely solely on automation.

If you use automation tools (e.g. Facebook status posted directly to Twitter), make sure you create pertinent messages and schedule posts over a varied period of time. Automated only posts can look very impersonal and be seen as SPAM.

6. Tweet a balanced mix of information.

Include content from your blog as well as your thoughts on market news or links to interesting articles.

7. Join Twitter discussions.

Get involved in discussions about financial topics to draw attention to your expertise.  Use the Twitter search tool or search by hashtag (#retirement planning, #stockmarket, #financial) to find relevant topics.

8. Retweet (RT).

Retweet posts that you find interesting to increase your visibility. People who follow the person you retweet or the hashtag you include will see you as someone with similar interests. Make sure you use the @name when you mention other Twitter users to help build relationships. If others are monitoring conversations about themselves, they will notice your retweet.

9. Listen to your audience.

Pay attention to what your audience is talking about. What questions are they asking? What information are they requesting? If you provide valuable Tweets to your followers you will likely attract more quality followers. Respond to questions with quality content and people will see you as an informative resource, follow your Tweets, and may even Retweet you.

10. Promote your Twitter handle.

Add your handle (your @name) to your email signature, business cards, website contact information and your blog.

How do you attract more quality followers and leads on Twitter?  How do you decide who you’ll follow?




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