Building Your Personal Brand on Twitter
So many older worker seem to be afraid of Twitter. It is almost as easy as sending an email. A couple of weeks ago I talked about how to simply build your brand on Facebook. While Facebook is a great starting point for connecting with people you meet, it is not enough if you plan on expanding your online network based on interests and knowledge. You will need a different social platform to do so and that platform is called Twitter.
What is Twitter?
Imagine sending a very short email to anyone that said they were interested in what you had to say. It’s a social network through which users micro-blog short bursts of information in 140 characters or less. It’s a way to demonstrate your expertise by sharing or “tweeting” your thoughts on current events, articles, or topics you are passionate about to a broader audience.
While tweets and Facebook status updates can overlap in content, there are subtle differences between the two networks. Twitter is set up to be a little more anonymous than Facebook in that you aren’t asked to fill out an entire profile with personal information and life history. And while Facebook status updates are limited to your connections, Twitter updates are fed into a network-wide stream such that they can be read by any of the 10-million+ users that Twitter has.
The name of the game is to gain “followers.” Followers are people subscribing to your updates. No one wants to subscribe to a boring person, so be sure your tweets are concise, witty, and informative. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because it takes some adjustment to become well-versed in the Twitter format and lingo. The investment will pay off when follower numbers start to grow.
Why Do I want to be popular on tweeter?
If you become really popular, future employers may take notice of your tweets. So yes! You can tweet yourself to your dream job, but before you get there you must learn the rules of the Tweeting Game.
“Statistics show that job search networking is much more effective when you make ‘loose’ connections – touching base with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are much different from your own.”
Rules of the Tweeting Game
Rule 1: Brand your profile
Before you start using Twitter, you need to think about how others will view your profile. You are your own brand. There are 4 main components you need to carefully plan out to distinguish your Twitter profile.
Your brand name is your Twitter handle, or username. If you’re looking for a job on Twitter, a professional username is more appropriate. Use your real name or some combination of your name and profession that sounds good and easy to remember, like JohnSmith or TechJohn.
An absolute must for your professional Twitter profile. Unlike most social networks, Twitter only allows 160 characters for your bio. Make it short, sweet, and to the point. List professional and personal interests. Being clever is a bonus, but keep it tasteful.
Add a link of your blog or website on your Twitter profile. If you don’t have one, it’s okay to put your LinkedIn profile.
Much like your Facebook profile, a Twitter profile pic, or avatar, is necessary to make your profile come alive and add credibility. The default is a picture of an egg; usually profiles with this default are seen as spam accounts.
Rule 2: Tweeting
Before you follow anyone, post some tweets first. This will get help you get acquainted with Twitter and get in the habit of writing your thoughts in less than 140 characters. A good start is to tweet about an article or an opinion on a current event. Whatever you do, DO NOT tweet about useless things like what you had for lunch. Here are some tools can you use when you tweet:
You can use hashtags, or the # symbol, to tag your tweet with a certain subject. Hashtags are used to collect metadata and to group tweets such that they will be displayed together when someone searches for a particular topic, event, location, etc. Popular hashtags at any given moment will be seen as Trending Topics. For example, any tweet about the Super Bowl can be ended with “#SuperBowl” “#NFL” “#Giants” or any relevant descriptor.
If you like another user’s tweet, you can “retweet” their tweet by clicking the Retweet link when you hover your cursor over their tweet. The retweet will show up on your profile but still credits the original user.
Replying to someone’s tweet is the easiest way to start interacting with that user. Simply click “Reply” when you hover your cursor over the tweet. Your reply will automatically link to that user by placing a “@” in front of their username.
Rule 3: Following and Followers
Once you get the hang of tweeting, retweeting, and replying, it’s time to start building your network. You can start by adding people through your email address book, but try to maintain an even ratio of followers and following, and aim to eventually have more followers than following. The best ways to really gain a following are to post interesting tweets and reply to others’ tweets. Unlike Facebook, Twitter networks don’t necessarily need to be built through real-life connections, so don’t feel shy about following an interesting user who you don’t know in real life.
Eventually, you may get to the point where your followers will start listing you on Follow Fridays (#FF). This is a weekly hashtag topic in which users promote other user accounts that they think are worth following. When you start appearing on #FF tweets, that’s when you know you’ve truly mastered Twitter.
As you can probably see, Twitter has a bit of a learning curve, but it can be an extremely powerful tool for finding connections and leads to your dream job. As I said before, it’s never too late to start, so start connecting for success by following Intern Over 4o’s Tweets.
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