As an IT professional, you can be forgiven for thinking that LinkedIn is the only space to profile-raise online. But consider Twitter. It’s no longer just home to celebrities. Today you’re as likely to find the CEO of a global brand on Twitter, not to mention many of your peers, future employers and every media outlet imaginable.
It’s worthy of exploration – and it’s easy to use.
Twitter lets you specify the users you want to follow, so you can read their messages in one place. You can follow many (although I’d recommend you are followed by more than you follow because you don’t want to appear needy).
You can initiate conversations and enter into conversations with your peers. And you can follow the people that inspire you on a personal and professional level.
You can also use Twitter to communicate your expertise, skills and experience to potential employers, clients, influencers, bloggers and the media.
Part of the charm of Twitter is that all messages are limited to 140 characters. You can choose to allow your messages to be read by all, or limit them to be private and read only by a specific individual. And you can message virtually anyone on Twitter using open messaging, whether they follow you or not.
Other advantages of Twitter include:
- It’s online networking at its best. Quick and easy. Connecting with people, sharing ideas, experiences, information, resources tools and opinions.
- It provides instant support. Solutions to problems and answers to questions can reach you in minutes.
- Immense reach. If you can strike a balance between sharing genuinely interesting and professionally appropriate tweets, being sociable and promoting yourself, many of your tweets will be retweeted – shared by your followers with theirs.
- You can inspire people to find out more about you on the back of just one interesting tweet.
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Five tips to get you started on Twitter
- Spend time familiarising yourself with it before you start posting tweets. Find the people and organisations you want to follow. What opinions are you forming of them? If their tweets fall short of your expectations, take this as a lesson on how not to tweet.
- Craft your 140-character profile. Tell people who you are and include any notable achievements and expertise. This is the equivalent of your 60-second escalator pitch, so make every word count. Don’t stuff it with hashtags nor make it so off the wall that it says little other than you’re quirky.
- Don’t use the default egg image as your avatar. People buy people on Twitter, so present a friendly image and use your background wallpaper too.
- Tweet regularly. There are no hard and fast rules, but signing in a few times a day to tweet and respond to messages is a good start. And join in with conversations that interest you. Tweets with a link are more likely to be retweeted than those without, but ensure that most of your links lead to interesting stuff that’s connected to your area of expertise so your followers can suss the connection. You can become a genuine person of influence on Twitter and beyond through sharing useful nuggets of your knowledge and expertise consistently.
- Be present. You can automate the pants out of Twitter so that you don’t have to be present, but your followers will unfollow you when they realise you’re simply using Twitter to broadcast from afar.
So join in, have a plan, roll your sleeves up and enjoy your Twitter journey.
Dee Blick is an Amazon best-selling author. Her latest book is The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Marketing a Bestselling Book – on a Shoestring Budget.