3 Simple (and Smart!) Phases to Leveraging Twitter to Advance Your Career
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By CAREEREALISM.com Founder, J.T. O'Donnell Phase 1: Getting started on Twitter. 1. Set up a Twitter account using your real name. Don't try any funny nicknames because it makes it harder for people to find you and it brands you as someone who is less serious about their online identity. (Unless of course your type of work requires that level of creativity. There are exceptions to every rule!) Use a nice, professional picture of yourself as well. It's a tiny photo, so a headshot of you smiling is the way to go. Finally, pick a standard background. You'll have a chance to customize it later on. 2. Don't post (a.k.a. tweet) anything yet! Your time to tweet will come. 3. Find 10 top Twitters in your field of interest and/or who provide general quality news and start following them. Many people start with CNN, their local newspaper and then top Twitters like CAREEREALISM (you got to follow us!) and Guy Kawasaki, etc. Then, retweet (RT - tweeting someone else's tweet) any of their posts you think are particularly valuable for others to know about. This ensures your Twitter feed has solid content from the beginning. So, people who check you out will be more likely to follow you. 4. Do a keyword search in Twitter and look at the tweets. Start to follow individuals who you feel are contributing strongly to the conversation. Again, RT several of their posts. Retweeting is even more powerful in catching the attention of people on Twitter than commenting. It's a sign of respect. And, most polite Twitters will direct message (DM - a message to someone who is following you only they can see) you a 'thank you' for the retweet, which then gives you the chance to connect with them one-on-one. 5. Finally, on Fridays, use the #FollowFriday tweet. Put #FollowFriday at the beginning of a tweet and then list all the Twitter names of folks you admire (i.e. #FollowFriday @CAREEREALISM, @GuyKawasaki). List all the people you are following you feel have been tweeting the best advice. 6. After doing these steps consistently for a while, 1-2 weeks with daily usage, you should have enough followers and Twitter usage you can effectively use additonal tools to leverage your account. One example is Mr.Tweet which is used to search and find more people who you should be following. You should also be ready to use a tool like Hootsuite which helps you manage your tweets. It also makes DMs and RTs easier to do because they have a special 'URL shortening' feature that can cut down the size of links so you have more characters to use in writing your tweets. Phase 2: At this point, you'll be ready to start adding your own personal tweets in addition to RTs. 7. Start complimenting people you follow for particularly good tweets via DMs.This is a great way to connect privately. It will also open the door for you to DM them a career question. 8. Research and start to add your own tweets with links to online content. BE CAREFUL. Remember 'people hear what they see' and you've got only 140 characters to say what you mean. Keep it interesting but don't make the mistake of being boastful, rude, or mean. These kinds of tweets leave a lasting, negative impression! Also, please be careful of 'drunken' tweets. People have a tendency to fall in love with Twitter and log on after a night out on the town. Avoid the urge to tweet under the influence. Phase 3: Once you are through these steps, you are ready for Twitter image maintenance and active professional networking. 9. Go back through all of the people you are following, and if after 2 weeks someone you are following isn't following you, consider unfollowing them. Unless of course they provide you with such great content for RTs you need to follow them. The goal should be to keep your follower and following numbers relatively close. If you are following double the amount of people who are following you, you'll be seen as someone not as valuable to follow. 10. Consider creating a custom background using one of the free tools like Twitbacks. There are also free PowerPoint templates you can download and customize. You can list your skill summary and contact info. Just be sure it is professional and simple. Again, 'people hear what they see' - so have some trusted colleagues take a look and get their feedback before you leave it up permanently. 11. Start to ask questions via DMs to the Twitterers who you feel have been the best mentors to you on Twitter. If you've been retweeting their work, they'll be familiar with you and more open to answering your questions about career. 12. Start to post questions about job search. Something like, "Looking for new ways to connect with architects in San Fran area. Any suggestions?" Be sure to DM a thank you to anyone who replies. 13. As you find companies you want to work for, be sure to search them as a keyword and find/follow anyone who is connected to the organization. By now, if they look at your feed, you'll have an impressive one and they'll most likely follow you back! THAT'S IT! Good luck with Twitter and if you have any questions. Be sure to follow us at @CAREEREALISM so we can follow you back and we can then help you via DMs. If you've done all the steps above, that will make sense!