A valuable lesson for you, from Anand Mahindra’s astute use of Twitter

This conversation between Anand Mahindra and Anant Rangaswami is a must-watch, mainly because of the way Anand talks about how he uses social media (Twitter, in particular). I have set the video’s timeline to start at the point when they start talking about Twitter.

In many of the personal branding workshops that I have conducted for CXOs since April 2018, most CXOs have told me that they believe they don’t have the time or patience for Twitter. But here is Anand giving you multiple reasons on why Twitter is one of the best places to be in. This has nothing to do with the larger problems plaguing Twitter – you can make it work for you, if you plan it that way.

In my workshops, I help the participants arrive at the brass-tacks of their personal brand through an interactive exercise – the basic tenets of their personal brand. This becomes useful to understand what to do online, on social media, consistently, instead of meandering pointlessly, reading and sharing with no specific purpose.

To give them practical examples, I cite tweets from Anand extensively, since I have researched every single tweet of Anand Mahindra, from April 2009 to August 2018, to reverse engineer the brass-tacks of Anand’s personal brand, from his Twitter content. This research also figures prominently in my upcoming book (on personal branding through social media) too, where I have listed the key content buckets Anand shares often and several sample tweets to showcase how consistent he is in sticking to those themes, and how those themes help him in more than one way – as a link to Mahindra’s various business, to the kind of person he is.

Also, during my search I did notice the tweets he is referring to in his interview, from Korea! Kim Jeong-wook and Lee Chang-geun from Ssangyong Motors climbed on to the chimney at the plant as a form of protest. And they tweeted to Anand (including a tweet in Hindi!) from the top of the chimney! All this happened in early 2015, and I’m amazed that Anand not only remembers these tweets, but also found it relevant to speak about them, even though the context around those tweets are negative, from a brand perception point of view.

Beyond this, there is a compelling reason for including Twitter to the personal branding process, and not merely stick to, say LinkedIn. LinkedIn is no doubt more ‘professional’ in its approach compared to Twitter. But Twitter has Google’s blessing – Twitter is the only social media platform, besides Instagram to some extent, that is monitored by Google and actual tweets appear prominently in search results.

I have worked extensively with social media monitoring tools in my digital marketing agency-side and client-side days, and one common thread in all the tools is that in the results, 90% is from Twitter because the platform is completely open. Facebook posts don’t even figure in the results (only a small portion of them that are posted as ‘public’ posts), and LinkedIn is barely present (just the profile, not the timeline posts).

This is an opportunity, from the personal branding point of view. If you know Google search favors Twitter, you can make use of that Google-visibility to your advantage by being purposeful and focused on what you say on Twitter, and make it align to your personal branding themes.

The thumb-rule to remember is this: Twitter is the megaphone and LinkedIn is for conversations. Earlier, Twitter was for conversations, but the platform has outlived its conversational utility value given that people don’t seem to think it is necessary to be who they are in real life, on Twitter. But, by and large, they all behave better on LinkedIn because their business card and CV is tied to everything they say on LinkedIn. So, putting Twitter to use as a broadcast mechanism works brilliantly for the personal branding process, along with selective, purposeful conversations.

The full interview is a great watch too, given Anand’s definition of a ‘brand’ and the points on his leadership/management style, Mahindra Rise, among others. When Anand says that a brand is nothing but a collection of stories, that works perfectly for the ‘personal brand’ too. And you get to build stories about yourself (rooted in reality, because you cannot keep the fake for long and it is bound to bite you at some point) for your personal brand.

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