Many people think of Twitter as a tool just used to follow celebrities and tweet about what you had for breakfast. But what people are missing is how valuable Twitter can be for building connections and relationships.
Twitter isn’t a specific professional platform like LinkedIn is, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be used to network and connect with new people in your industry. In fact, this platform can make it easier for you to connect than LinkedIn, due to the majority of users’ profiles being wide open for you to interact with.
Here are some ways to use Twitter to develop meaningful connections:
Make it easy for people to find you.
First things first: Even though you may be the one doing the searching to find people you can connect with, you want to have an optimized profile in case a company is looking for someone like you, too. Make sure to fill out your profile with important keywords and things that potential employers should know about you.
For example, you may want to include your company or the industry you work in, as well as your interests. This way, when people utilize the search bar on Twitter, your profile will come up. And don’t forget to include a headshot for your profile picture; people want to know there’s more than just an “egghead” behind that Twitter account.
Talk about what you’re interested in.
Talk about your hobbies and interests on your Twitter account and use relevant hashtags so that people can find the conversations you’re having and chime in.
With Twitter, many people say they don’t know what to post or don’t feel like they have something to say, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to share something. Look for relevant articles, or interesting content that you have an opinion on. You can also live-tweet from conferences using an event-specific hashtag. Posting content like this will help draw attention to your profile and frame you as a relevant professional in your industry.
Also, don’t feel like you can’t tweet about your hobbies or TV shows just because you’re using Twitter as a professional platform now; this adds a human element and allows people to know you have a personality.
Interact with people.
Twitter is all about two-way engagement. You can’t just talk at people; you need to talk with people, too. Seek out conversations by looking up relevant hashtags, or by using the search bar to connect with people in your industry. Chime in on items they’ve posted, or retweet or Like their posts. By interacting with others, you are putting yourself out there and, in turn, you will gain more followers and start more conversations.
Join Twitter chats.
Twitter chats are conversations around a specific topic that happen during a set time. Usually the host will ask questions, and you will answer them using a designated hashtag. Twitter chats can be a great way to interact with others around a topic or idea, because you are not only answering the questions, but you are also listening to what other people are saying and engaging with them. Chats can be a way to meet like-minded people, and gain new followers and connections.
Take your new connections offline.
Don’t be afraid to take your conversations off Twitter and move them to email or LinkedIn. Twitter is a great platform to make those initial connections and engage in small talk, but it isn’t the best platform to really get to know someone on a professional level. Tweet at your new connection and ask if you can connect on LinkedIn, and then follow up with them to build a more valuable professional relationship.
Twitter has 310 million monthly active users currently. That’s millions of new people putting themselves out there and inviting others to engage with them. If you’re looking for a new job, then follow specific companies you’re interested in and people that work there. If you’re looking for like-minded people, then seek out others working in your sector and interact with them.
Twitter holds many opportunities to build meaningful connections, so put yourself out there and start utilizing it to its fullest potential.