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6 Ways to Make Twitter Your Ultimate Networking Tool

Posted September 27, 2013 by Lisa Granshaw in Networking Buzz

Many people seem to have a love/hate relationship with Twitter.

It can be an annoying place, dealing with people tweeting about the most mundane aspects of their lives. However it can also be a great place to connect with people you wouldn’t have the chance to meet in person and engage in interesting discussions, even if it is just in 140 character intervals.

Once I accepted that there were some parts of Twitter I would never love and would avoid at all costs, I became pleasantly surprised by how amazing it can be for networking. Twitter became one of my top tools for making new connections when I became a freelancer, and those connections led to new clients.

Here are 6 ways you can make Twitter a great asset in your networking toolbox.

  1. Use your real name and fill out your profile: While it may be tempting to come up with a cute username, if you’re using Twitter professionally you want to use your real name on the site. This will make it easy for connections to search and find you. It makes you look more professional than if your username is “@cutekat80.” It’s also important to fill out your profile. List your current employer or what you’d like to do, and any links to your portfolio or business website so when professionals find you they can immediately get a sense of your work. You can also list areas that interest you or hobbies, since it’s important to be well rounded on the site.
  2. Use a photo of yourself: When you’re trying to make a connection, you don’t want them to question who you are or how serious you are about your career, so having a picture of a flower as your profile picture may not be the way to go. Choose a photo of yourself for your profile where you can easily be seen. It doesn’t have to be a serious headshot; you can have a little fun with it, but you want people to be able to see you in it.
  3. Follow professionals in your field: The best way to build your network is to start following the people in the community on Twitter that you want to be a part of. Want to network in the media industry? Start following journalists, news outlets, and others who have a hand in the field. Want to become a pop culture blogger? Follow fellow writers and pop culture personalities. This is a great way to keep up on industry news, see how other professionals are using Twitter for their careers, and possibly gain followers.
  4. Start conversations or join ongoing ones: Once you’ve started following people and have gained a few followers yourself, actively network on Twitter by taking part in discussions and sharing interesting content. If you found an article someone might find interesting or you want their input on, tweet it at them. If someone is having a discussion on a topic you’re familiar with, join in! You’ll form stronger connections using this kind of engagement. Also feel free to DM someone if you’re both following each other. This way you can ask a question privately or arrange a time to talk off of Twitter.
  5. Use hashtags: Hashtags can be a tricky area. You don’t want to use too many but you do want to take advantage of how hashtags connect people. For example, using the hashtag #fashion can connect you with other professionals who are probably using it. Try not to exceed two, possibly three, hashtags per tweet. You can also use hashtags to get involved in Twitter chats, which are great places to network with new people.
  6. Act human: Sometimes it can be hard to balance being your personal and professional self. To get the most out of networking from Twitter, you need to find a good in-between. Not showing signs of your personality can make your Twitter feed uninteresting and make people feel like they’re following an emotionless bot. By interjecting some opinions and fun things that you like, people can relate to you more which might make them more willing to chat with you. You need to find a balance that works for you and won’t go over the line.

Happy Tweeting!

About the Author

Lisa Granshaw

Lisa Granshaw is a freelance writer and career consultant based in New York City. Her company, Media Career Consulting LLC, offers a variety of consulting services to young professionals interested in a career in the media and communications industry. She began her career as a NBC Page, worked as a production assistant at Nightly News with Brian Williams, and was a producer and writer for the TODAY Show's website. Her work has appeared on The Daily Dot, TODAY.com, Parents.com, Vetstreet, Blastr, and more.