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How to Give Yourself a Purpose on Twitter in 3 Easy Steps
By: Judi Cutrone
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Recently, television star Courtney Cox joined the legions of American celebrities on Twitter. New York Magazine's Vulture blog had this comment:

Courteney Cox joined Twitter today and is still in that early phase where it's like the star is hanging out on the street and chatting with whoever walks by and says hi.

Cox is currently busy promoting the mid-season premiere of her show Cougar Town and her ascent into Twitter, as Vulture suggests, may be short-lived to suit the show's publicity purposes. Some heavy tweeters may take offense to that, but celebrities who use Twitter to promote themselves are only guilty of using the platform with purpose and a lot of brands, whether it's an author, start-up, or an established brand, would do well to take note. After all, blanket marketing without purpose is just a lot of white noise and a costly waste of your marketing time. Luckily, whether you're using Twitter privately or professionally, it's easy to give yourself a purpose on Twitter in just three easy steps.

1. Visualize Yourself as A "Go-To."

Successful brand building through Twitter is all about garnering influence; the more influence you acquire, the wider your audience spreads and the more powerful your brand becomes. If your intention as a global service provider is to provide crucial, personal customer support through Twitter, then you first must visualize yourself as "The Go-To Place for Customer Support for This Business." If you're an aspiring songwriter, it might be, "The Go-To Place for Commentary on Songwriting." Don't be afraid to be specific. Try to put into words how you desire your audience to ultimately see you — what will your audience "go to" you for, first and foremost, before they go anywhere else?

2. Put Your Audience's Needs First.

You have two possible retweets to choose from: the first is a funny political joke about a presidential candidate and it accurately reflects your own feelings and political views. The second is a link to an article you just read, related to recent federal tax laws and your work as an accountant. You've already decided how you want to be perceived on Twitter and who your audience should be. Now ir's time to think about what they need from their "go-to" guy. If you're trying to connect with others who share your political views, you share the first tweet. If you're trying to build your professional profile as a financial expert, you retweet the second. If they're listening for both, then share both. Being considerate about your content doesn't necessarily mean limiting or censoring yourself — you're just making a commitment to sharing content with intention rather than abandon.

3. Don't Be Afraid to Adapt.

Finding your niche online isn't always the result of a carefully considered, stringent brand strategy. Sometimes, your strategy establishes you in one place while the needs and wants of your audience demand that you evolve into another. Don't let your established guidelines and boundaries blind you to untapped opportunities. If there's a way for you to help your customers or clients on Twitter and it aligns with your big-picture goals, consider the ways in which your marketing messages can adapt to meet those needs. Your role on Twitter may be slightly different than where you started but at least you're marketing with real purpose, for all the right reasons.

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About the Author
Judi Cutrone is a social media strategist, novelist, and food blogger. She is an appreciator of good television, muppets, and the music of Phil Collins.
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