When it comes to social media, its influence is ubiquitous. It’s a communication behemoth; a global powerhouse that’s used for everything from sharing interesting hyperlinks, to posting snarky comments about the Oscars, to real-time reporting from areas of social unrest.
I’m talking about Twitter, of course. And when you’re trying to build your brand and grow your network, you can’t afford not to take advantage of it.
According to what survey you reference, Twitter always falls within the top two or three social media platforms in terms of daily users. eBizMBA has it ranked #2 with 310,000,000 estimated unique visitors per month. (Facebook is #1 with 900,000,000.) Global Web Index has it third, again behind Facebook and just behind YouTube.
So what does this mean to you and your brand? It means that, if you’re not already on it, you need to be on Twitter, and you need to learn how to leverage it to grow your network and let people know who you are.
As a writer, I have found Twitter to be invaluable in learning about the craft and connecting with other writers. Twitter has also helped me build my brand by serving as a platform from which I can share not only my own work but also that of others whose values and goals align with mine. It’s enabled me to find new readers around the globe and even develop online relationships with some of my favorite writers.
What about you? How can you use Twitter to let people know who you are and get them to help you get where you want to go?
Think Before Your Tweet
In today’s world of instant gratification, we’ve become accustomed to immediacy in just about everything we experience, especially in social media. It’s so easy to tweet out a comment when you’re watching a TV show or a selfie when you’re caught up in the moment. That said, a hasty tweet can end up ruining a career or tarnishing your reputation forever. (Just as Justine Sacco.) Make no mistake about it, when a potential employer is considering you for a position, she will most certainly be checking your social media accounts to get a better idea of what type of person you are outside of the interview. Don’t let a moment of misjudgment ruin your brand and possibly hurt your career down the road. Before you tweet, think.
TIP: Before you hit that Tweet button, think if what you’re sharing would have a positive or negative affect on someone’s opinion of you.
Master the Hashtag
The hashtag, aka The Symbol Formerly Known as the Number Sign, is an extremely powerful tool in Twitter (and other social media platforms as well). By using hashtags strategically, you can tag a particular tweet so that it is more easily found by people who might be using Twitter to search a particular subject. For example, if I write a blog post about higher education and then tweet a link to it, I might use a hashtag like #HigherEd or #CollegeAdvice. So when you’re tweeting a link, think about who might benefit from it and then find an appropriate hashtag that will help your tweet find that audience.
TIP: For Twitter, two hashtags is plenty. You don’t want to overdo it.
Do Unto Others
No one likes a narcissist. Sure, it’s OK to talk about yourself occasionally and share your achievements. But if you really want others to appreciate you and, as a result, want to chat you up in return, you have to give more than you take. And in the Twitter world, giving comes through the retweet. If you find a tweet that speaks to you and that you think would benefit your followers, retweet it. Twitter even allows you to add a comment to your retweet where you can add a note about why that particular tweet grabbed your attention. The more you retweet, the more you’ll find that others will want to return the favor. So be sure to share the love!
TIP: Don’t overdo it. Leverage the retweet often, but not so much that it annoys your own followers and causes them to jump ship. ~