Billionaire Elon Musk has always been active on Twitter. But in a surprising number of cases, business owners can learn a thing or two about how he goes about it.

In just the last several days, Musk's Twitter account has once again come under scrutiny. Over the weekend, he denied follower requests to credit an artist when he published a piece of artwork. And on Monday, an odd tweet that has since been removed-- but I screenshotted before it was deleted-- said that he was quitting Twitter.

They were the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Musk's Twitter account, including brushups with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying he would take Tesla private, and plenty of arguments and less-than-kind words for hosts of people.

But if nothing else, Musk's Twitter account has become a core component in what makes Tesla's chief such an impactful CEO. And anyone who owns a business and wants to make an impact could learn a thing or two about his tweeting.

Be kind whenever possible.

This is one that Musk could use some help on.

The fact is, Musk sometimes uses his Twitter account to get into wars with followers or say things about people that eventually land him in hot water. He doesn't seem to care and apparently gets a kick out of some of the arguments he gets in, but it's not the best idea for most business owners.

Like it or not, the internet is awash with people who will complain about you, your product, or your service. And people will often push your buttons if you allow them to. But that doesn't mean you need to act out in anger. Indeed, in most cases, ignoring those people or simply responding with some questions and understanding can go a long way in preserving your brand and not getting you into trouble.

Twitter is a tough place for the business owner. You don't want to make it even tougher by getting into spats with people who share what you say and send it to the press. It's a bad idea.

Think about your brand.

Musk is a master at understanding that Tesla's success comes in large part from him and the things he says. It's also why Tesla's marketing budget has been practically zero under Musk. He can do it all himself.

Musk has found a way to turn his Twitter account into a veritable brand builder for Tesla and SpaceX. If you want to know about what's going on in Tesla's world, you can go to its website, but why not check out Musk's Twitter account instead? You'll get everything you want there -- and a hefty dose of entertainment.

Ultimately, Musk has been one of the few CEOs to realize that leveraging a Twitter account is a great way to promote a brand on the cheap.

Use Twitter as a press outlet.

You should know that most journalists are constantly on Twitter, reading to see what's happening in the world and seeking news they can report on. For a journalist, Twitter perusal is a must.

Musk also knows that. And that's why, at least in the past, he would use his Twitter account to share news. He wouldn't necessarily tag a journalist, but he knew that his followers would retweet his content and it would soon find its way to websites across the Internet.

It was an ingenius move and one that more business owners should consider. Yes, Facebook and Instagram have a place in today's marketing mix. But for CEOs hoping to build a brand or share important news, Twitter is a critical -- and free -- place to be.

Musk knows that and you should, too.

Published on: Jun 20, 2019
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