Written by Shemariah Butts Tuesday, December 04 2012
Lissa Rankin is a social media superstar. In addition to being an integrative medicine physician, she is an author, speaker, artist and founder of LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com. Her compelling and compassionate voice has helped Rankin build a global, online community committed to healthy living, grounded in a shared understanding that patients have the capacity to heal themselves. With more than 144,000 followers on Twitter alone, Rankin is read around the world, and she credits her connectivity to being authentic, 140 characters at a time.
Womenetics: How long have you been on Twitter?
Lissa Rankin: I started in April 2009.
Womenetics: What’s your Twitter style?
Rankin: Authentic and transparent.
Womenetics: Do you tweet strictly about your business endeavors?
Rankin: No. I tweet about everything from my business to my vision to my family life to my spiritual life to my sex life. I never hesitate to share my business mistakes or failures with my followers, and I have a strict un-guru policy. No pedestals allowed. Because a lot of what I teach in my business revolves around becoming perfectly imperfect and unapologetically who you are, this style is in alignment with my business.
Womenetics: How do you try to have genuine interactions with your followers?
Rankin: I respond to almost every @LissaRankin message I receive. I also ask questions of my Twitter followers to engage them and start dialogues. Someone once told me I was "twaccessible" (she defined it as "a celebrity who's personally accessible on Twitter"). I was happy to hear that because I set out to use Twitter for what it was meant for – a genuine way to connect, human to human. Twitter is the law of attraction in action, especially when it comes to tribe building. If you express yourself authentically and put yourself out there, the tribe of people who fit you like a glove will find you.
Womenetics: How many times per day do you tweet?
Rankin: Ten to 30, depending on what's going on.
Womenetics: How has your Twitter following directly impacted your business and personal brand?
Rankin: I credit Twitter with much of my business success. When I first started blogging in April 2009, I had no idea how to attract readers to my blog so I could realize the vision in my mind. Then I found Twitter, or more accurately, Twitter found me. Within three months, I had a large blog readership, a book deal, the attention of national magazines and 30 guest bloggers writing for OwningPink.com. I also attracted several corporate spokesperson gigs via Twitter, as well as television, radio, newspaper and magazine attention.
Many other magical things have happened via Twitter. When I wrote my book "What's Up Down There?", I tweeted that I had a fantasy that Dr. Christiane Northrup would write the foreword for my book. One of my followers tweeted right back that her best friend was Dr. Northrup's daughter. Dr. Northrup wound up writing my foreword, and her daughter is now a close friend.
Womenetics: What kinds of tweets receive the most responses from your followers?
Rankin: Questions I ask of my readers, such as this one I tweeted recently – "Give me one good reason your greatest fear is NOT going to come true." When I invite my readers to engage, they do. I think we all long to feel heard, and since I read every single @lissarankin mention and respond to almost all of them, it's a way of bearing witness to the truth of another individual. Don't we all want to be heard?
Womenetics: What is the biggest Twitter mistake you have ever made?
Rankin: Underestimating the power of Twitter. I made the mistake of thinking that Twitter was great for tribe-building and attracting blog readership but not for sales of high-ticket items. When I launched my platinum mentoring program aimed at visionaries who long to be part of the healing of the world, I made the mistaken assumption that the only people who would consider paying $10,000 to work with me would be those dedicated enough to subscribe to my newsletter. So I didn't post about it on Twitter or Facebook. But I did tweet about the interviews I was doing as part of the application process, and my Twitter followers quickly proved that I had made a mistake! Two of the 10 people who wound up in my mentoring program came solely from Twitter and had not been on my newsletter list. Anyone who discounts Twitter as a potential source of business miracles is sorely underestimating the power of social media.
Womenetics: What is your advice to women who want to use Twitter successfully?
Rankin: Don't be afraid to be yourself. Let your followers glimpse your essential self. Don't give in to the pressure to wear masks or pretend you're more of an expert than you are. When you're honest about your imperfections, your vulnerabilities and your failures, you engender trust. Twitter is full of posers trying to pawn themselves off as "experts," so those who are the real deal automatically stand out. It may seem paradoxical to expose your imperfections to those who you hope to attract as clients, book editors, advertisers or others who might help you grow your business. But honestly, making that conscious choice has distinguished me from most other physicians on Twitter, and I believe the same will be true for you, regardless of your profession.
More social media advice:
Shama Kabani, who wrote her college thesis on Twitter's capacity to change how we do business when few recognized its potential, capitalizes on her social media know-how as the CEO of the Marketing Zen Group.
In the first part of Jennifer Dunphy's crash course on Twitter, she provides helpful advice on when to tweet for maximum engagement and dissects three major business campaigns that got it right.
Jennifer Dunphy encourages us to learn from the mistakes of others by offering insights on Twitter campaigns gone wrong.
Shemariah Butts is a young professional who firmly believes innovative thinking and communication are the keys to social change. A Georgia native and graduate of the University of Georgia, Butts has extensive public relations experience and has worked with Brunner Advertising, the Andrew Young Foundation and the League of Women Voters of Georgia. Butts is currently pursuing a master's degree in public relations/issues management from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.