Once entrepreneurs set up their social media accounts, the next challenge is figuring out what to say.

How do you determine what your followers, connections and fans want to hear in your tweets and posts? What do you do to turn readers into engaged clients and prospects? Do you pay attention to your ideal clients’ values and goals, and cater to their interests in your content?

A study by Kurt Luther, Michael Bernstein and Paul André investigated the value of a 140-character tweet on Twitter and what made a message “worth reading.” According to their findings, detailed in the May issue of Harvard Business Review, just 36 percent of tweets are worthy of a reader’s attention.

“Exciting” and “funny” tweets tended to elicit a higher rating than those that are irrelevant, the researchers found, and the one-third of information-sharing tweets that were considered worth reading usually contained a link to breaking news (stories that are a few hours old should be avoided) with some context to the article.

Try to avoid the kind of tweets that merely reassert your presence – such as the researchers’ example of a post that simply said “Good morning world” – or that drop in on a private conversation with no context. If you were to receive a question from a Twitter follower, respond directly to their message rather than retweeting his or her post. If the inquiry is one that you think your wider audience would find useful or interesting, consider expanding your answer into a blog post, and then tweet the link to that piece. You can also utilize #hashtags in your tweets to highlight a particular subject. With only 140 characters, it is important to be concise and personalize your content. 

“The key is to be aware of one’s audience and how different people’s values may differ,” André told the magazine.

This is a sentiment that we at The Covenant Group also convey in our training. Whether you’re marketing to prospective clients or sitting in a meeting, explaining to a person why they are in need of your services and understanding their values and personal needs will allow you to present a message that resonates with them.  

As Norm Trainor explains in The 8 Best Practices of High-Performing Salespeople, by identifying the needs and business issues of those people in your target market, you will be able to tailor your efforts to suit the individual. This will involve a mixture of reading the same publications they read, putting yourself in situations where you can socialize and network with them and using the knowledge you already have. Whether crafting a blog post or sharing a news article or quote via Twitter, these tactics will help you amass client capital through both your marketing and sales efforts. Social media offers a venue for professionals to convey their interests, values, expertise and mission to create a connection and sense of trust with prospective and existing clients.