Monday, October 1, 2012
Twitter as a Tool for Professional Development
Here is a checklist of 25 ways Twitter can be used as a tool for professional development:
1.Keep your Twitter profile employer-focused:
Maximize the space that you have in your profile to share a professional description of yourself. Hobbies show personality, but accomplishments and professional interests might help you land a job. Professional Twitter names can be helpful, too. Ditch your @ohyeah420 screen name, stat, and try using your real name instead.
2.Use a photo of yourself:
An important part of your Twitter profile is your photo. Instead of leaving the default avatar or uploading an image, add a photo of yourself. It makes you look more professional, and allows others to connect with you personally.
3.Remember to give (and take):
Networking on Twitter is more about giving than getting. Experts believe that 90% of what you share on Twitter should be helpful, whether you’re sharing relevant information, retweeting followers, or connecting with others. The remaining 10% is then free for you to ask for help, sharing your latest blog post or anything else that might benefit you directly.
4.Follow for quality, not quantity:
Follow more people, and naturally, you’ll have more followers in return. But bigger isn’t always better. With too many voices in your Twitter stream, you’ll suffer from information overload, which is bad news for professional development. If you want to really learn from and connect with your followers on Twitter, keep your list to a manageable size and only follow people you genuinely want to connect with.
5.Take part in Twitter chats:
Regularly hosted chats on Twitter offer a great way to connect with and learn from others in your professional sphere. You can check out nearly 700 different Twitter chats available on the Twitter Chat Schedule. Use it to find relevant chats and hashtags for your professional and personal interests, and you can be a part of the discussion.
6.Keep things open:
Many people choose to keep their tweets private for personal reasons, but if you’re tweeting professionally, you should really stay unprotected. It makes your profile and tweets easier to find, share, and showcase to potential employers and colleagues.
7.Put some effort into branding:
Create a background that works with your personal branding. You can also work to establish a great Twitter brand by regularly sharing interesting news, articles, and tools for your industry.
8.Stay aware of professional issues:
Twitter can keep you in the loop professionally. Follow people who share lots of great news and insights that apply to your professional development, and you can use Twitter as a source for current awareness.
9.Use Twitter to break the ice:
Before heading to a meeting or conference, look up attendees on Twitter and connect with them. Conversing through social media can make it easy to break the ice and become familiar with others before heading to the event, making it easy for you to network and connect in person.
Twitter is a great professional tool, but it’s important that you don’t forget to be a real person. Share some personality and voice in your tweets, and avoid copying and pasting headlines. Letting followers connect with the real you is a much more authentic way to develop your professional network.
11.Follow leaders in your professional circle:
Just about everyone is on Twitter these days, from CEOs to celebrities. Follow leaders in your niche, and you can find nuggets of wisdom in their tweets. You may even be able to connect with them through tweeting.
12.Don’t forget your manners:
Online, it’s easy to forget that manners matter. But politeness and diplomatic behavior will go a long way to professional development and a healthy online image. If you encounter a bully or incredibly rude person, it’s easy to simply unfollow or even block a user. And of course, remember that anything you say on Twitter can be retweeted and shared with the world.
No one likes a sporadic tweeter. Be sure to check in regularly so that your followers know they can count on you.
14.Put Twitter to work in your job search:
If you’re looking for a job, Twitter can help you find one. Through chats, personal connections, visibility, and even job listings on Twitter, there are plenty of opportunities for career growth through the service. Show that you’re professional and knowledgeable in your niche to better boost your job search.
15.Use Twitter to strengthen your network:
Twitter is an incredible networking tool, and it can be used to connect with contacts new and old. Discover new networking connections, and find people you already know to converse with them on a regular basis using Twitter.
16.Become an expert on Twitter:
Developing and presenting yourself as an expert in your industry on Twitter is a great way to actually become an expert. Stay on top of relevant news and developments, share what you know, and build authority through the social media service. If you are able to execute your expertise professionally, you can translate to expert status offline, too.
17.Use Twitter to get access to people and ideas:
Twitter is one of the most powerful information tools we have today. Through the site, you can not only connect with contacts, but find out what they think. Share your ideas and questions, and find out what others have to say about them.
18.Don’t forget to follow back:
Following isn’t a one-way street. Pay attention to new followers. You don’t have to follow all of them back, but you should at least check out their profiles, and follow the people that are relevant and interesting to you.
19.Join the conversation with hashtags:
Become a better part of a professional conversation by using hashtags. [Especially at professional conferences and meetings] You’ll become more visible to others who are using the hashtag, and be able to better connect with the rest of the conversation. You can even create your own hashtag to spark a conversation that’s important to your professional development.
20.Connect with colleagues:
If you telecommute, or work for a company with multiple locations, Twitter offers a great opportunity to connect with your colleagues, even if you can’t do it in person. Follow coworkers on Twitter, and you’ll be able to stay on top of their professional and personal development.
21.Develop a Twitter community:
Become a community leader on Twitter, creating networks, inviting others, and fostering communication between participants in your community. Heading up a group can be hard work, but it’s a great way to get front and center and be a part of major discussions and developments in your network.
22.Use Twitter as a research tool:
Twitter is an incredible place to find information that’s relevant to your career. It can be as simple as just following the right people in your network, or you can even make use of Twitter’s search function and RSS feeds to stay on top of specific search queries you’re interested in.
23.Help others, and you can learn, too:
Reach out and help others whenever you can. Answering questions, sharing resources, or pointing out useful links isn’t just for helping other people, it’s great for you, too. You can learn something as you offer your assistance, and as you become the go-to person for help in your professional field, you can build your network and find more opportunities for growth.
24.Ask for help:
Cash in on your good karma that you’ve earned by helping others and call in a favor yourself. Let others know you’re looking for a job, or ask a question that you need help answering.
25.Manage your presence:
Once you’ve started connecting and sharing on Twitter, consider how you’ll manage your presence on the site. Remember to regularly connect with others, check your mentions, and stay consistent with your interactions on Twitter. You may consider using tools like TweetDeck to manage your brand and networking efforts.”