Who do you follow? Did the number of your followers increase or decrease this week? Was your name mentioned on the FollowFriday list? Which of your tweets has the most favourites or retweets? Are the above mentioned terms part of your standard vocabulary?
Great, then you probably already belong to the Twitter community comprising 485 million people and have discovered the potential of the microblogging service from San Francisco.
With this blog post I would like to encourage all interested readers to use Twitter and to include this information network in their career planning. Let’s start with a short overview:
Facts and figures
Twitter is one of the fastest growing networks with currently 485 million users worldwide, of which approx. 206 million are active users. In Germany, there are at least 2.4 million registered accounts, including 825,000 people using the platform on a daily basis.
For comparison: Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide. The business network LinkedIn has registered over 220 million members and the German equivalent Xing has 12 million users.
What is the difference between Twitter and other social networks? What benefits can I expect from joining yet another network? Facebook, Xing and Linkedin are closed networks requiring - at least theoretically - a private or business relationship outside the virtual world.
Twitter is the complete opposite – it is open. Users have the opportunity to come in contact and to interact with people they don't know. By the way, Google+ works similarly.
First of all, your Twitter profile should be distinctive and authentic. A professional account comprises amongst others the following characteristics: name and photo as well as a Twitter biography.
What needs to be considered regarding the profile name? Actually, it should be self-evident, but experience shows that this has always been an important topic: avoid nicknames such as “Beerlover_75″ or “Cute_Chick_London”, especially when using Twitter in a professional context. Experienced recruiters and HR managers can find out very quickly who is hiding behind the account.
Upload a photo – an egg is used as default picture. Ask yourself if you want to be contacted by an egg or if you want to interact with an egg. In contrast to your presence on Xing or LinkedIn, your profile photo doesn't necessarily need to be a business photo. A casual photo is quite acceptable. The atmosphere on Twitter is rather informal.
Unlike LinkedIn and Xing, the section for presenting yourself is limited to 160 characters only. I recommend a mix of professional and also private information, e.g. your current job title and employer. Let the world know why you are on Twitter. What books you like. Which football club you support. This information makes it easier to get into conversation with other users.
“Views are my own”
A further tip: If you frequently share blog posts, tweets or messages of your employer, it is recommended to mention that this is a private account reflecting your personal views and not necessarily your employer’s opinion. Preferably short and concise, like in the heading above.
If your employer has implemented a social media policy, you should definitely stick to it.
After having discussed the basics I will continue this topic the next days. In the second part, I will provide tips regarding content, recommendations, interactions and links as well as tools.
About the Author
Sebastian Rahm is a Senior Department Manager at Hays Germany. Responsible for Delivery Management of Corporate Accounts as well as RPO staffing and (Social) Media Recruiting. Follow Sebastian on @Sebastian_Rahm
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