Twitter can be great for your career, but if you’re not on Twitter yet or don’t have a very significant following, then you may feel like that ship has sailed. That’s not always the case. The beauty of social media is that you can dive in at any time and still reap the benefits; you just have to be strategic about it.
These tips should help you get started on Twitter and grow your following in no time, even if you hate the darn thing. Trust me, your career will thank you.
(Image Credit: Uncalno Tekno/Flickr)
- Sign up and complete your profile.
First things first: you need to sign up for an account and create your unique Twitter handle, which is essentially just a username with “@” in front of it. After that, take some time to customize your profile so that people get an idea of who you are when they read it. Don’t forget to upload a professional photo and construct a concise, keyword-rich bio (you have 160 characters); otherwise you run the risk of being mistaken for a spam account.
- Tap into your existing network.
Find people in your existing network to seek out on Twitter. Chances are, the people you’re connected to on LinkedIn and Facebook will most likely have a Twitter account, too. Thankfully, Twitter makes it very simple to find your friends online. You have the option to import a contact list, sync with other social networks, and conduct a simple search by name to find people.
- Find like-minded people to follow.
Now that you’ve got your existing contacts situated in Twitter, it’s time to start growing your network with new connections. A great way to expand your network is to use Twitter’s “Connect” tab and “Who to follow” recommendations.
- Educate yourself on Twitter lingo.
If you’re going to grow your network on Twitter, then you better learn the quirky language that is commonly used in tweets. Start with this comprehensive list.
- Tweet about it.
Before you post your first tweet, start looking at the type of content that you find interesting on other accounts, and post similar. Also pay attention to how keywords and hashtags are used (sometimes they’re used interchangeably) so that you too can start optimizing your tweets and getting more retweets, replies, and followers. What’s more, tweets with image links get twice as much engagement than those without, and tweets that include hashtags get twice as much engagement, says Buffer.
- Optimize Twitter Lists.
In a nutshell, a Twitter List is a curated feed or group that only displays tweets from the accounts that are subscribed to that particular List. You can set up your own Lists to help you organize your Twitter feed into more manageable chunks that are easier to track, or you can subscribe to already existing Lists created by others. This article does a fabulous job outlining what Lists are, how to use them, and some tips to help you gain exposure and followers.
- Promote your Twitter handle.
If you want more followers, then you’re going to need to let people know where to find you. Therefore, don’t be afraid to share the good news that you’re on Twitter. Post your handle on your website, your other social networks, your business cards (if you can), and even your resume (if it’s relevant to your professional career). The more visibility your Twitter handle gets, the more likely you are to gain more followers in a shorter amount of time.
- Tweet at peak times.
If you want to maximize your potential of acquiring new followers, then you need to send your tweets out into the Twitterverse during peak times – or, in other words, when most people are skimming their news feeds on Twitter. The best times to post on Twitter are 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 5 p.m to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, according to HubSpot.
- Use automated scheduling software to tweet.
Life gets busy sometimes and you won’t always have the extra time to dedicate toward growing your Twitter following. Thankfully, you have the option of using one of the many social media management tools available on the market today. Essentially, social media management tools allow you to schedule your tweets ahead of time so that they post to Twitter (and any other social network you indicate) at the time you specify when scheduling. Many of the scheduling tools also provide analytics for your tweets so that you can see which posts receive the most activity (i.e. retweets, replies, etc.) and which posts don’t.
- Join Twitter chats.
Twitter chats are like online discussions for a specific topic that follow a Q&A format and use a pre-determined hashtag to distinguish that the post is intended for the chat. You can either participate in a Twitter chat, or host one (but I’d wait until you have a decent following to do so). The beauty of these chats is that they bring like-minded people together in one place to discuss a topic in which they all are interested, which makes for a great networking opportunity. Just remember, when responding to a question posed in the chat, it’s important that you also include the Twitter chat hashtag with each tweet.
Hopefully these tips will help you be on your way to growing your professional network on Twitter and IRL (“in real life”). Having an online presence and a solid network is so incredibly important to your career, because it’s all about whom you know nowadays.
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