When I first joined Twitter, the only word that crossed my mind was “pointless.”
In fact, between the time I first joined and the time I actually “discovered” the usefulness of the social media and networking site, I can only think of a handful of times that I actually signed on to do something other than check-up on my favorite celebrities.
I mean, who wants to follow a bunch of people who update their status with “cooking dinner” or “time to shower?”
Yes, that is what you do on Facebook, but on Facebook you get to play games, interact on “fan pages” and post pictures. There is so much more you can do on Facebook.
At least until I discovered otherwise!
What I thought was the “pointlessness” of Twitter is actually the brilliance of Twitter.
Sure, it can be frustrating to only have 140 characters to get your thoughts across and yeah it can be hard to get used to Twitter, but the benefits of being an active member on Twitter are astounding.
I was on Twitter for about two years when this “discovery” happened. I quickly realized that I needed to create a more “professional” account because I was tweeting nonsense to celebrities and having fun. So I made my @emilyvontom account where I converse with professionals, participate in Twitter chats and build my brand.
This past winter semester I took a social media class where I was taught the benefits of Twitter. I learned a lot in this course and developed my own way of using Twitter to benefit me. Here are my tips for success on Twitter:
1. Follow people and businesses in industries that interest you. Try the Twitter search tool and look-up keywords. If your interest is in public relations, look-up “PR pro” or “social media.” Twitter will connect you with some great resources.
2. Participate in Twitter chats. The benefits of a Twitter chat or a “hash tag event” are endless and amazing. There are so many great ones on there—I try to participate in #u30pr and #pr20chat whenever I can. I also try to participate in the #backchannel, which is a local Detroit Twitter chat hosted by the WXYZ Channel 7 Action News. These chats are a great way to interact with, meet and connect with professionals in the industry you’re interested in.
3. Share information. If you run across a cool article that you think the people who follow you will enjoy—share it with them! A lot of websites have a cool tool where all you have to do is click “share on Twitter.” It isn’t hard– promise! It is also a good idea to retweet things that your followers Tweet because they are great resources and you can learn a lot and help others learn a lot, too!
4. Be professional. If you want to create your brand—don’t Tweet ridiculousness. Tweeting about how drunk you were last night isn’t going to help you network or get you a job. Also, have a nice picture. (This goes for LinkedIn as well!)
5. Interact. So, you’re retweeting, you are following cool people and following along in Twitter chats. But it isn’t going to mean anything if you aren’t interacting! Stay in touch with people you meet, reply to people when they post things from their blogs or other sites and always be courteous.
Twitter is a great resource—use it wisely!