Entering the Twitterverse

How to create a meaningful Twitter profile

Although you may not know what “twibes” are, most people have used or at least heard of Twitter since it launched in 2006 (FYI: A “twibe” is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic). Twitter is perhaps the least understood of all the major social media services.

How do you find meaningful information in a stream of tweets? What does RT stand for? And what’s a Fail Whale? The following tips can help you interact with the “Twitterverse” (Twitter universe) in a professional manner when exploring this real-time information network:

Introduce yourself

Twitter is not a place for a curriculum vitae. In your biography, you have a limited number of characters to explain what you do and what followers can expect from your feed. This makes it easy for people to decide whether to follow you.

Start by listening

Use Twitter’s search function to find feeds that interest you, and then spend some time learning how people in your industry use the platform. Tools like CoTweet, HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to create saved search terms to track topics of interest.

Be human when tweeting

It’s important to use a human voice. Keep your tone real and natural. Add value. What distinct value do you offer your followers? Be helpful and generous. Share links to relevant articles or online resources. Tweet out information your followers can use, not irrelevant details.

Tweet regularly

Keep your profile current by posting information on a regular basis – a few times a day, if possible, or as often as seems natural. It only takes a few minutes, and it will help you connect with others who share the same interests. Remember, tweeting is not about a number, and it shouldn’t feel forced.

Pay it forward  

Retweeting others’ posts helps you build rapport with followers, encourage discussion and show people that it’s not all about you – others have pertinent things to say, too!

Offer thanks

Acknowledge retweets by publicly thanking the people who shared your information. But don’t go overboard – it clutters your followers’ streams. Consider a direct message (DM) instead.

Keep it light

You only have 140 characters to make a statement, so don’t write in too formal a fashion. Consider using fewer than 140 characters to make it easier for others to retweet your posts.

Be open

Twitter offers a privacy feature, and, while it’s subject to change from time to time, 90 per cent of users don’t enable it. Open accounts encourage the most listening, learning and sharing, so think twice before blocking an account you use for business. You can easily block individual accounts, if necessary.

But don’t be too open

Because of the space limitations, Twitter is not the best place to resolve sticky dilemmas. For sensitive issues, use the DM feature.

Think before you tweet

When using Twitter for business, keep it PG-rated. Avoid posting any information about controversial topics or sharing sensitive information – you could get into hot water.

Connect your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts

You can display select tweets in your LinkedIn profile by using the hash tag #in within your Twitter post. It’s a way to gain more traction, further build your reputation and establish yourself as a go-to person, as long as you follow Twitter best practices and use a light hand. It can be annoying when all of a person’s tweets indiscriminately show up via LinkedIn.

If you’re keen for more career insights, follow Robert Half on Twitter at @roberthalf_anz.

Tags: Social Media

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