A Twitter Nation of Thought Leaders

By Dave Kerpen, CEO, Likeable

Our internal core value statement here is:

We are driven, passionate, transparent thought leaders. We are Likeable.

Focusing on the value of thought leadership, I've decided to run a contest at our company on Twitter. Over the next 30 days, I've challenged our entire staff to tweet their way to more followers - sharing great links, articles and insights and engaging with the 200 million+ registered accounts on Twitter. As a Twitter Promoted Products beta partner, we also have access to Twitter's Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts advertising platforms, and so I've given each full time staff person an equal ad budget as well, to use however they'd like to grow their follower count. From strategists to designers, planners to developers, everyone has an equal shot - even our I.T. guy.

The winner on May 15th will receive 3 fun and valuable prizes in conjunction with our core values. (Since it's a surprise for my team, I couldn't include transparency here).

But I suspect that there may be lots of winners here:

Our clients: By all of us playing around with Twitter's new ad platform on our own, before we launch it for clients, we'll deeply learn the ins and outs, pros and cons, and help establish best practices.

Twitter: We'll be able to report back to Twitter with all of our results, so they'll have lots of interesting use cases to absorb and share.

Our company: We're growing leaps and bounds, but we're always thrilled to take on new business. Having lots of people tweeting wisdom and engaging with marketers won't hurt our cause.

Smart and social-media savvy companies everywhere: Most important, my thesis is that Twitter is about people - and therefore, for companies to be represented, it's not just about their official "brand" @handle or their CEO's @handle. Every employee is an ambassador of his/her company. As the CEO of a social media agency, part of my job is to be a thought leader. But the truth is, I can't personally work with all of our clients on a day-to-day basis. Clients want and deserve for everyone they work with at a social media agency to be a thought leader, and we can use Twitter to demonstrate our collective and individual thought leadership.

If my thesis holds true for a social media agency, it might be applicable for other professional service firms. I'd love to see a law firm, accounting firm, pr agency, consulting firm, or financial services company whose employees are all tweeting away, sharing their knowledge and insights and personality with the world and demonstrating their leadership. Not just the CEO or Marketing Director or Social Media Coordinator, but the people who I would actually be working with if I hired their company. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't it be cool to use Twitter to get a sense for the people you'd be working with before you hired them - in any field?

What do you think? Will you follow any of Likeable's thought leaders below? And could Twitter be part of the job description for everyone at any other company? I'd love to hear your thoughts - do comment and tweet away!