When I talk with job seekers about Twitter, I often get a curious look. I try walking them through my process for building their personal network or connecting with potential new employer, but that doesn’t seem to work. Twitter is often one of those things people don’t get until they dig in… and try it for themselves.
Here’s the seven steps I share with them, so when they do try Twitter they see the value to their personal brand and network… and understand how Twitter can be a powerful job search tool:
1. Know Your Purpose
Why are you taking time out of your busy day for social networking? What are you trying to accomplish? It’s not hard to get followers if you follow a lot of people. But to get the right followers, you have to know your purpose. If your goal is to meet new people in your industry or find a job… you have a pretty good purpose.
2. Be Interesting
Some decide to venture out without a photo. Choose not to use their real name. And fail to include a bio. Kristen Wright says it best: “I have noticed a trend on Twitter of either missing bios or bios that say absolutely nothing about who they are. And this is just an absolute waste of space . . . in 30 seconds, they read it, judge you and go, yup; I want to follow more of what this person says.”
If you know who you are and know your purpose, you should be able to come up with an engaging short story for people. And a smiling photo.
3. Talk to People (Not at Them)
If you are using Twitter solely as a broadcasting tool, or a place to sell your stuff, you will not be of interest to me or most others on Twitter. In fact, beyond being rude or offensive, you are most likely to be unfollowed or ignored. if you never use the @ symbol. Use of this symbol says you are talking to people. Either directly (by using their Twitter handle at the beginning of the message) or through the sharing of ideas (retweeting or by using hashtags) talk to people, not at them.
4. Stay on Message
There are many reasons people will follow you on Twitter. If you’re trying to build a following of basketball lovers like @AskCoachBeez, you need to spend the bulk of your time talking about basketball. If your bio is all about your love of the game but your tweets focus on music, wine and crab… legs we’re going to have a problem.
Go back to your purpose; share tweets and engage with people on that subject (not necessarily your job search, but about your industry, target employers, etc.).
5. Be Consistent
You can’t just dip your toe into the water and expect to become a good swimmer. You have to get your hair wet. On Twitter, it’s about regular tweeting, sharing and following. Daily is ideal. I’ll show you below how to do that with purpose.
6. Be a List Maker
Creating a list on Twitter allows you to categorize those that you follow (for easier following). It also allows you to reach out to people. Everyone likes to be listed. Being listed, along with many other factors, contributes to the influence score with tools like Klout.
7. Grow Your Influence
Now that the basics are in place, it is time to start growing your network, influence and credibility. Here’s how… five followers at a time:
- Pick a keyword that is related to your purpose on twitter. One that will stir up names of people who like to tweet about your favorite subject. Experiment with single words or try longer phrases. For my new friend and former pro basketball player @AskCoachBeez, it is “basketball”. Or it could be “coaching”. Perform a basic twitter search on that term and see who is tweeting about basketball.
- Choose five people to follow that are using your keyword (and seem interesting based on their overall relevance, bio, consistency and use of the @ symbol).
- For each one of the five Twitter accounts you’ve chosen for today:
- Click the follow button
- Add them to a list – or to multiple lists if relevant
- Send them a message (for example: @TimsStrategy Like your daily checklist for Twitter. Helps a lot!)
- Retweet them – find a recent tweet of theirs that your followers would enjoy and share. Even better? Add a comment like “love this!” at the end (if you do).
When you new follows every day, you begin to get the social ball rolling. Once people see that you are relevant to them… and are ready to communicate and share their ideas… you become more interesting.
And, whoops, a social friendship begins… and so does social credibility.
Enjoy your time on Twitter. Network with purpose. And soon, you Twitter will be a highly effective tool for your job search!
About the Author: Tim Tyrell-Smith is a career, marketing, branding and strategy coach focusing on small business, non-profits and individuals. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim spent 23 years growing premium brands including Nestle Quik, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimsStrategy.