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March 12, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:11am

5 ways CIOs can get the most out of Twitter

How to tweet without being a twit.

By Joe Curtis

Social media can be a whole swathe of uncharted territory for company execs. It’s important to be professional, of course, and personable. We all know that.

But how do you make the most of Twitter as a knowledge tool, and how do you get people interested in what you have to say? Well, let’s have a look, shall we?

Follow people who interest you

You’re an IT pro, right? Pick the CIOs, computer whizzes and hackers you admire most and follow them. Not only will you get an insight into how they tick, you’ll also benefit from their 140-character pearls of wisdom all day long…

You can find relevant people using something like WeFollow, or you can start with our own suggestions.

Just don’t follow too many at once – you don’t want to lose the signal in the noise.

Share stuff that interests you

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Want followers? Be interesting. You might not think you have much to say on a subject, but you’ve got the world at your fingertips, so sometimes it’s easier to link to someone else’s deep thinking if you haven’t had the chance to get around to doing any of your own yet.

Sharing the knowledge makes you worth following, and accumulating that knowledge will leave you with your own opinions to start airing.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow people back!

Make lists

Okay, we’re a little biased, but we at CBR think lists can be pretty good. Especially on Twitter. They help you categorise people’s tweets so you can quickly filter your feed for the latest tweets from people specialising in, say, business intelligence.

This helps you get what you want quickly out of Twitter.

Here’s some to start off with:

Most Influential in Tech

Tech News People

100 Tech People You Have to Follow on Twitter

Twitlistmanager is a good tool for managing your lists, but there’s others out there too.

Engage – don’t just self-promote

It’s important not to be a shill: if every tweet, or even every other tweet you send is about how great X, Y or Z in your company is, you’ll get unfollowed, fast.

The best way to view Twitter is as a big conversation. Or rather, a million big conversations, all happening at once. Pick your followers and be part of their conversations. Share knowledge, engage with people, and maybe then you can promo your company a little.

Use Twitter tools

As we’ve established, Twitter is a great big beast of a thing that won’t be tamed. So go easy on yourself and use tools to simplify things. Apps like TweetDeck and HootSuite keep track of multiple accounts and can also open separate, adjacent bars for your feed, lists, messages and interactions.

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