Welcome back to the second part of my Twitter Guide. After having examined the basics in the first part, this one is about active participation.
To fill the news stream in your account, you have to identify people who have a say in matters you are interested in. Besides numerous celebrities and public faces, many companies are also active on Twitter. Use the Twitter search tool for this purpose; e.g. identify the career channels or employees of your dream employer and follow their tweets.
You can make your search even more precise and detailed by using twitter.com/search-advanced. Every time you follow a person or institution, a notification is sent out. Twitter users usually want to know about new followers and their background. At least that’s how I handle this issue.
If I find the Twitter profile and bio appealing (not the default picture of an egg and similar interests), I will also follow back. Following others goes along with expanding your own network. But remember not to overdo it! I would not recommend the strategy “If you follow me, I will follow you”. As in real life, it takes time to develop and expand a valuable network. You will also appreciate a clean timeline.
“Hello world” or the first tweet
What can I write about? Is anyone interested in it? If yes, who? Probably many people have these kinds of thoughts prior to their first tweet. At least I felt that way. Meaningful, valuable content should be delivered in 140 characters – you don’t want to appear unprofessional! Let’s take a closer look at the various categories of a tweet.
Tweets can be divided into 4 categories:
1. Information is a great start for your first tweet. Share news from your field of personal or professional interest with your followers. Industry news is also welcome. Use the tweet button which you usually find at the end of articles on websites.
2. If you share this news, don’t share it without any comment. Ask yourself why are you sharing this news? What do you think of this news and why should you possibly click on the attached link? Connect your tweets with a call for action from time to time. A common example is the popular “Please re-tweet” (PLS RT) - another request to your network to spread a tweet.
A little tip: Don’t exhaust the limit of 140 characters. Use 120-130 characters and leave some space for quotations from your followers. In many cases I wanted to share interesting tweets with my network, but I did not want to forward them without any comment. If it is not possible or too complicated to shorten the tweet, I refrain from it.
3. Do you have an interesting tweet in your timeline you want to respond to? Reply to the sender. This can lead to an interesting exchange.
4. Status updates are often disliked within and outside the social media community and sometimes fall into the trap of numerous stereotypes which I don't want to repeat here. Of course, no one is interested in the fact that you are on the train to Munich. Therefore use these updates sparingly or at least humorously.
What else needs to be considered? Very often, users are unsure about the right frequency. Don’t spam your network! For me, spamming starts with a frequency of more than one tweet per hour or more than five tweets sent in a block. I want to keep my timeline clean. If I receive too many updates, I will be irritated and unfollow the user.
When should you tweet? There are various tools which help you to find a detailed answer. I will go into detail about some of them later. In general, you should ask yourself when you check your account, probably on your way to work or during a break. It is very likely that this also applies to your network. If you use these periods, you can assume a higher interaction rate. Do you receive little or no feedback on your ingenious tweets? Why should you not repeat your tweet? Hardly any users scroll back within their timelines.
Hashtag and hash key are used for indexing within your tweets.
Twitter and other social networks use these keywords to facilitate the search for specific topics. One prominent example of the last few months was the #Aufschrei (outcry) campaign. If a topic is being discussed intensively, it can make it to the national and international trending topics of Twitter. You can also subscribe to certain topics and participate in the general discussion. Many events use their own hashtags. So if you are interested in an event but cannot participate, check if there is a relevant keyword. Like this, you can at least participate virtually.
You can use a hashtag for interaction, but also as a “call for action”. Use the keyword #Followerpower and make a request to your network. A short example: A colleague of mine had a question regarding a new social media tool. Despite an intensive research, Google could not provide an answer. He asked me to place his question in my network where you find many social media experts. We were successful and his question was answered within a few hours.
Another popular hashtag is #FollowFriday or #ff. Use a Friday to create a list of users you like to follow and recommend them to your network. I also like to use Fridays to thank for any interactions of the last week, also on other social networks. In short, the Follow-Friday is a nice way to express your appreciation to others. You should also use it!
You can also show your appreciation by adding users to lists. Besides references and re-tweets, this also influences your Klout Score.
The microblogging service itself offers only very limited applications; therefore a whole universe of useful utilities has developed around Twitter. Social media pope Brian Solis has published a good graphical overview. It can be roughly divided into the following categories:
1. If you generate new followers, it is displayed on Twitter. But who leaves your network? Which tweets are popular and how often does someone click on one of your links? When should you twitter to achieve the greatest possible range? You will not find any answers to these questions within the information network. However, there are some tools which help you to find answers. I personally use SocialBro. Even the free version of this Spanish analysis tool provides diverse analysis options. Unfortunately, the free version is only available as Chrome plug-in.
2. Do you want to manage your various social media accounts via dashboard? Then you will definitely need the tool Hootsuite. The integrated URL shortener is extremely useful as it informs you how many times your links were clicked.
The tool Tweetdeck promises to make the operation of Twitter easier and more convenient. You can set up your sections individually without moving back and forth between the different tabs.
Buffer is another management tool which assists you in administrating various social media accounts as well as in analysing scheduled and planned tweets.
3. For further information, I recommend you to visit the page whostalking.com. This social media search searches for desired content in Twitter as well as in other networks and blogs.
The tools mentioned above represent only a small selection to demonstrate which opportunities arise from using Twitter.
Career planning with Twitter implies an active participation and an opportunity to contribute your ideas. Demonstrate your expertise by exchanging information within your network and use the chance to network with potential employers. Plan fixed online times to keep your time management and self-management under control. If you manage to invest time regularly, Twitter can represent an attractive alternative to the classic job search, particularly as this service is not yet used very much in Germany. This is a great opportunity to set yourself apart from any competitors!
What experiences have you had with Twitter so far? I’m looking forward to your thoughts via @sebastian_rahm
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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