While Twitter has been around since 2006, many fail to leverage it as a tool for their professional career. Follow the tips below to get started using Twitter to gain industry knowledge and connect with industry experts and other key influencers. With 140 characters or less, the key is learning how to make it work for you.
1. When creating your Twitter profile use your real first and last name, avoiding nicknames if possible. You want to have a name that is easy to find and easy to remember.
2. In your bio or headline, add keywords or skills sets that people would use to find you. Include a link to your blog, LinkedIn profile or online portfolio.
3. While this may sound obvious, be sure to include an updated professional picture of yourself. People will use it to help identify you when meeting you for the first time.
4. Adjust your privacy settings to ensure your tweets are not protected. After all, the reason you are on Twitter is to be heard and connect freely with others!
5. Build your network by following others. You won’t be heard unless others are following you back.
6. But wait, before you start following others, start out with a few tweets. You want to show that you are worth connecting with. You wouldn’t want to connect with someone who isn’t talking or adding value, don’t expect others to either.
7. Start tweeting about anything from industry news, events or tips you may have for other like-minded professionals. Be social, but be professional. Aim to tweet at least 2-3 times a day to begin.
8. Actively follow individuals, organizations and industry experts. Use Twitter’s who to follow feature to help you get started.
- TIP: Focus on the quality of those you follow, otherwise, your newsfeed will only be clogged up with irrelevant information or those you do not wish to hear from.
- Tip: Do not follow too many people at once or more people than that are following you. As a best practice you want to keep your followers and following ratio fairly close.
9. If you need a more advanced search to find others or conversations to follow, use Twitter Search.
10. Organize your contacts by creating lists from the start. A list is a way to categorize individuals into a group. For example, if you’re a digital marketer, create lists that will help you organize those you follow by creating lists named: Facebook Gurus, Blog Experts, etc.
11. Tweet with and follow hash tags. A hash tag is created by including the hash sign (#) in front of a word or phrase, without spaces, allowing Twitter users to create, categorize and follow tweets by topic. When attending a conference, determine if there is a hash tag associated and tweet with it. You can then follow others tweeting from that same conference, create a list and follow up with your new contacts at a later time to discuss relevant topics from the event.
12. PARTICIPATE, participate, participate! Twitter is all about making connections and paying it forward. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it’s a quick, fast and efficient way to connect worldwide with experts in your field. Don’t be afraid to jump into ongoing conversations and ask questions.
13. Connect off-line. With a limit of 140 characters it can sometimes be a challenge to have an ongoing conversation. If you find the need to continue your conversation, ask if they would be willing to chat or email offline.