Twitter for entrepreneurs: using social media to build your personal brand

T.A. McCann is many things to many people: entrepreneur, mentor, angel investor, America’s Cup winner … (I could go on). On Thursday, April 23, the founder of Gist (which sold to Blackberry in 2011) and Rival IQ assumed the role of social media pro and spoke to a room of up-and-coming entrepreneurs about how to use Twitter to build their personal brand and promote their companies.

McCann’s presentation, called Twitter for Entrepreneurs, was packed with solid social media advice and anecdotes. We’ve included a few of our favorites below. You can see McCann’s full slide deck here.

1. Twitter is for learning

Always be learning “Twitter is this amazing place where many of the smartest people in the world are pushing their ideas out in real time,” says McCann. Experts, CEOs, and thought-leaders are on Twitter sharing information that they feel is of value.  If you follow the right people, they will educate you on whatever it is that you care about.


2. Twitter is for building relationships

building relationshipsTwitter is an amazing resource for building relationships with people you don’t know, but with whom you share a connection. McCann didn’t know Brad Feld (a well-known investor, entrepreneur, and co-founder of TechStars) when he first contacted him on Twitter. What he did know was that they shared a connection–a love of running.  McCann reached out to Feld with a simple tweet prior to a conference they were both attending: “I know you’re a runner, and I’m hoping to run while I’m at this conference. Can you recommend any good places to run while I’m there?” Feld replied and suggested the two of them meet up and run together. So they did. Feld ultimately ended up leading the series A financing of Gist. McCann used Twitter to build a connection that  led to success for his company (and a great friendship).


3. Once you’ve got the hang of it, become a thought leader

thought leader“If you like using Twitter,” says McCann, “you will evolve from purely consuming (listening and learning) and connecting, to sharing your own perspective with your followers.” Once you develop your perspective in a particular area, you have the opportunity to become a thought leader, someone Twitter followers look to for opinion on a given subject. “Once you become a thought leader,” says McCann, “you’;; begin to accrue value to your business.”


4. Bottom line: CEOs who aren’t on Twitter are letting their company down

CEOs on TwitterAll CEOs use Twitter in different ways. Some use it to communicate with customers or other industry leaders.  Some act as thought leaders and create their own content. And some simply amplify others’ content. But the bottom line is that once the leader of a company has a strong following on Twitter, it becomes a powerful marketing tool. On March 30, 2015, Tesla Motors’ CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted a major announcement, and Tesla’s stock price suddenly shot up:











5. Don’t forget the 5-3-2 rule

5-3-2Does Twitter seem overwhelming? Don’t worry–you don’t have to spend all day tweeting and re-tweeting. Just remember the 5-3-2 rule: For every 10 posts:

  • 5 should be about your space: What does your company do? Find thought leaders that do the same and re-tweet their content
  • 3 should be your thoughts on a particular subject: Have an opinion on news that applies to your company? Share it!
  • 2 should be personal: Show some personality? Tweet about your favorite new song, or what you think will happen on the next Game of Thrones

Don’t forget to check out all of T.A. McCann’s Twitter for Entrepreneurs slides, and share this post on Twitter: