Twitter is more than just a method to share your thoughts regarding any particular subject. It can be a powerful tool used to develop a vast professional network. As more than 300 million active users take to the site on a regular basis, there are a number of opportunities that could be waiting for you. By taking the time to learn what the system can offer, you can improve your reputation among many in a fairly short amount of time.
Here are five best practices on how to use Twitter as a professional networking tool.
1. Mention Others
When you mention someone in a Twitter post, that person will receive a message. This will not only get his or her attention, but it could also influence further conversations that those individuals may have with others. Should you have a comment or information regarding a specific topic that interests that individuals, they may respond directly to you improving your exposure.
However, don’t overuse mentions, especially if you’re trying to sell something. If a person didn’t respond to your mention after one or two mentions, it’s very likely that she won’t respond at all. If you keep on insisting, you’re likely to get blocked by that user.
2. Use Hashtags to Archive Conversations
Using hashtags can put your post among those that are involved within specific conversations. This is another good way to get the attention of others, which could possibly lead to boosting the number of followers you have. The more often you contribute something to conversations in this manner, the better are your chances of connecting with anyone else that sees your post.
Some best practices for using hashtags are:
- Don’t #spam #your #followers #with #hashtags;
- Use no more than two hashtags per tweet;
- Keep hashtags relevant to the topic of your tweet.
3. Be Informative
Although Twitter is akin to a digital soapbox, you may want to refrain from being unprofessional. Leaving informative comments or sharing your knowledge can not only help others, but it improves your reputation. People such as Jason Hanold Chicago not only share information regarding their fields of professionalism, but they also include informative articles across the Internet by linking it within the text. Being helpful and insightful in this manner will contribute to your online success.
To save time finding relevant topics, leverage tools, such as the “Explore” tool from Klout to find recent and trending articles from key sources that you could share through your Twitter account.
4. Posts Images
According to Twitter Analytics, images receive a greater degree of interest. Posting images within your tweets related to your field may increase your exposure as others are able to favorite and retweet the message to their own followers.
A stud that analyzed the content of over 2 million tweets sent by thousands of users over the course of a month, showed that adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35%. Should you post something that could go viral, it’s conceivable that you could reach thousands of people in a very short amount of time.
5. Engage Those You Follow
While it may be unlikely that you’ll get the attention of celebrities you follow, you may be surprised when you comment on a post by one of the professionals in your list. Replies to any post will send a message to the person as a notification. He or she just might respond to you giving an opening to become acquainted with that individual.
If you’re a small business, take the time to reply to questions, comments, suggestions, or complains from potential and actual customers. If you’re present on Twitter, think of it as another channel for your to interact with your customers. Just like you would call back a customer that leaves you a voicemail or write back to a customer that send you a letter, you need to reply to those customers that contact you on Twitter.
Twitter can be an invaluable tool for a variety of reasons. From a professional standpoint, it’s a free service that gives you the potential to network with those that can help you in your career. Don’t underestimate how much can be accomplished inside 140 characters.