So you’re aware that you need to use social media as a part of your personal branding, your LinkedIn profile is polished, but now you’re looking at your Twitter account and stalling out. If you feel like you’ve somehow missed the point or lost out on the forward wave of the twitterverse, it’s not too late. It’s not too late to pick up terms like twitterverse, either, but first concentrate on the basics that allow you to grow your following and put Twitter to work for your brand!
- You, on Twitter. Fill out your profile in full so that anyone seeking more information about you can find it easily. I emphasize including this because so many clients come to me with a Twitter account and a username, but haven’t done anything else. At the very least, be clear about who you are and what you’re an expert in. Include a professional head shot and your elevator pitch as your bio. Everything about Twitter is short, concise, and to-the-point, so be prepared; you may have to tweak your bio to keep the important buzz-words and lose the fillers! When you have completed your profile and you are easily found on Twitter, add your handle to your business cards, LinkedIn, Facebook, and anywhere else you offer your contact information…there’s no point in joining if you don’t tell anyone!
- The basics. You probably already know that Twitter is a micro-blog platform where posts are 140 characters or less (yes, including spaces and punctuation). com and Mashable.com both have a Twitter primer that’s easy to read and can help you get started. After brushing up on what a tweet is, and a little about what it can do for you…you’re ready to start.
- Follow before you lead. Before we talk about what or how to tweet, one of the best ways to get a feel for Twitter is to follow someone else and read their tweets and also see what they re-tweet. Choose a business leader or author you admire, a few colleagues, and even a few companies you may be interested in. Spend a week or so looking not just at the content, but the links they share, and the re-tweets from others they promote. Once you’ve begun tweeting (that’s next), scroll through your contacts and follow your network contacts. Encourage them to follow you back.
- Start tweeting. Perhaps the easiest first tweet is a re-tweet of content you enjoyed from someone else. Stick to business, stay away from entertainment, pop-culture, and political tweets. You’re tweeting to enhance your personal brand, remaining neutral or silent on hot topics is smart.
- Tweet strategically. Keep your purpose, polishing and enhancing your personal brand, in mind. Tweeting should spark an interest in you as an expert in your field, as a potential employee, and as a network connection for others. Offer commentary, encouragement, or insights about issues and topics common to your industry. Definitely tweet your successes and triumphs! Design your tweets to highlight your expertise and value. Time your tweets around the lunch hour or end-of-work-day when people are checking in on social media.
Once you’ve mastered the Twitter basics, it’s time to learn more about Twitter chats, Twitter lists, and even look into social media management software so that you can write the tweets ahead of time and have them posted automatically for you.