How to Build Your Brand on Twitter

Lesson from Leo Polovets

In the beginning, Twitter was like youth discovering their voices. There were no rules. No guidelines. And not much you’d want to read either. 

Now, more than 14 years later, and with an additional 140 characters to bare your soul, Twitter has become an incredible marketing tool. But there’s also more noise than ever to overcome.

We reached out to Leo Polovets—general partner at Susa Ventures and Twitter extraordinaire—for advice on cutting through the clutter and using the platform to build your personal brand.

At Renaissance Collective, we’re constantly reminded of the value of concise communications in telling an effective story. It's how you inspire colleagues to contribute to an initiative. How you get customers to buy your product. And how you convince people to invest in your company. 

Effective and concise storytelling is the name of the game on Twitter. We learned a lot from our talk with Leo, and we captured some of the most insightful tips he shared with us in hopes that it inspires you to build your brand—one tweet at a time.

On Strategy

Start with a goal. What do you want Twitter to be? Who do you want to reach?

Are you a founder looking to network with other founders? Are you trying to recruit people? Are you looking to get on investors' radar or simply establish yourself as an expert? Being clear about your goals will help inform your Twitter strategy.

Be original. Find a topic that you know better than anyone else. Or combine multiple strengths to create an unique advantage. Two great examples in action: David Perell, who has built a brand on his knowledge of writing, and Web Smith, who created a following around the intersection of media and commerce.

Be consistent. The key to getting followers is a long game of consistency vs. the occasional viral tweet. Make sure you keep quality high, even if it means less content. Most importantly: don't be afraid to get started—don’t worry about getting everything perfect. Twitter is about authenticity, and everyone is human. You’ll make mistakes; just keep posting.   

Be kind. Share the likes, retweet things you believe in, and be grateful to others. Try to engage with people as much as possible. You'd be surprised by how many followers you'll get from following the golden rule.

Borrow audiences. Posting replies to a celebrity or expert’s tweet can be more effective than posting on your own feed. Everyone will see the reply, and if it's an interesting tweet, they’ll follow it back to your account.

Use visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words. Visuals get more engagement and more views.

Provide snippets. When sharing an interesting article, give readers a preview—give them a reason to click. 

On Writing Great Content

Be succinct. Our attention is short—get to the point quickly. 

Dig into the data. Look at your recent tweets and compare the number of impressions and engagement. You'll eventually see patterns in the type of content that resonates with your audience.

Be curious. Observe the world around you. Keep a journal of ideas you are passionate about. Share your insights with your audience and get feedback from your audience.

Final Thoughts

Your tweets are an extension of your brand. Make each one count. Think of every tweet as value that you’re giving your audience—you’re either teaching people something, curating information for them, or entertaining them. Every tweet contributes to these goals or detracts from them. And yes, it can take many months and many tweets to build a quality following on Twitter, but the good news is that getting started is as simple as one thoughtful tweet. 

Many thanks to Jen Yip and Jonathan Lai for contributing feedback and thoughts to this post.