04 Mar Tweet Your Way to the Boardroom: Simple Hacks for Personal Branding on Twitter
It used to be when you want to connect with people you don’t have access to; you look for someone to introduce you to them. But with tools like Twitter, connecting with anyone and everyone is one direct message (DM) or mention.
Although many pundits are writing Twitter obituaries with #RIPTwitter, the numbers tell a different story. With about 328 million monthly users, Twitter is an incredible resource for personal branding and making vital connections.
If you are a job seeker, Twitter can help you discover great companies and people who work in them.
More so, Twitter helps you amplify your voice. A recent, notable example is the story of a Ghanaian teacher who educates his students on computer technology without any computers. His image using a blackboard with a diagram of Microsoft Word drawn upon it became an immediate sensation on Twitter. It took just one tweet from The Queen of African Tech – a nickname for Rebecca Enonchong of AppsTech – for Microsoft to commit to supporting him and his school.
So, how can you catch in on this whirlpool of resources to make your career move?
Below are actionable insights on how to build an image that gets you hired.
#1: Role model the pros
The first step to mastering this nirvana is to understand how it works. Like many things in life, observation is key to learning the in-game of Twitter. Therefore, connect with the pros and learn what they do.
Observe people you admire and respect. How do they act and think? Take notes and incorporate into your own life. #ActLikeASuccess
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) February 10, 2015
Seriously, do not send any tweets until you have mastered how to weave up smart and crafty tweets that get attention. Sharing loose and random thoughts might hurt your career in the future because recruiters will always look you up when you apply for jobs.
The beauty of Twitter is that one connection can lead you to a whole new community. Use tools like Mentionmapp, Twitalyzer, and HootSuite to easily plot a savvy graph of influencers, professionals, and companies to follow. You must follow companies you hope to work with.
#2: Define your identity
When it comes to personal branding, identity is everything. That begins with your username. Keep it professional.
Choose one to three subjects that interest you and build your equity around those subjects. If it is true that you are what you eat, it is equally true that you are what you tweet.
Make it easy for anyone that visits your profile to see your achievements and focus clearly.
You cannot be everything to everyone, but you could be something to everyone.
Select a profile cover that reflects your purpose, use a profile picture that looks like the part of the persona you’re building, and make your bio a marketing tool to highlight what you have achieved and what you care about.
The chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki, is very popular on social media. His thumb rule is always to have a professional business attire photo of just your face for profile pictures.
#3: Find your rhythm
When you have fine-tuned your gig to highlight your vision and interests, the next step is to find your rhythm.
Decide your tweet’s tone and voice and when/how often you want to communicate with your followers.
Gather Content defines the two concepts as follows:
Voice: your brand personality is described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.
Tone: a subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds a specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.
The Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan Lee, takes it a step further in this article. Essentially, he says, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice. Voice is a mission statement; the tone is the application of that mission.
As much as you aim to remain visible to recruiters, being circumspect with what you tweet and when you tweet is needful. Products like bitly provide valuable data that help you gauge your tweet’s reactions and measure the peak times to tweet.
Give your tweet an opportunity of being retweeted by tweeting when your followers are online.
Furthermore, pay attention to your language and tweet structure. Don’t always use all the 240 characters. Experts say around 100 characters is the sweet spot.
When you have chosen a language structure, try to keep it up. The idea is to be professional while being as real as possible.
#4: Share valuable content
As marketers will say, content is still king. Therefore, focus on providing insights, valuable tips, and useful resources.
You don’t have to be an expert to do this – the internet is filled with resources you can share. Do not repurpose another person’s content without attribution. You would lose credibility if you plagiarised.
Also, you can start your own blog and share your perspectives with your network. If you make your handle a go-to resource for useful tools, people will respond equally.
Twitter is great for amplifying your messages through retweets. If you need help with this amplification, search for viral words and phrases to include in your content to boost its visibility.
Remember, whatever you tweet will show up on someone’s timeline, so think of how they read your contents.
P.S. Before you retweet or share a post, it’s always advisable to read it to avoid sharing content that is not in line with your brand image. Also, use hashtags sparingly.
Use Google Link Shortener or bitly to shorten links. And add an image to your tweets as it improves your chances of getting retweets (Locate a website for free stock images and other tools in this post.)
#5: Connect with the community
Twitter is about making connections and engaging with people. Keep your tweets as conversational as possible, and communicate from your heart.
Don’t always focus on gaining popularity or going viral. Popularity has its place, but relevance will always trump cheap popularity. Many times, the value you offer to your community is the most important thing.
Make out times to read tweets of companies and people you want to connect with.
Be a promoter, support their cause, and be generous with your retweets and comments. Everyone likes a compliment and affirmation but make sure that it doesn’t come out as spam.
If you have to DM, be sure to state the exact action you need the person to take. Sending “hello, how are you?” to someone is usually not a good communication line – especially when you don’t know each other. People are busy with several things, so be specific with your ask and follow up when you don’t hear back. However, be strategic with the frequency of your follow-ups.
#6: Evaluate and recommit
Reviewing your activity is important for building your brand and connecting with the right people. In the world of social media, things change very fast, and you must continually evolve.
Always make time to scroll through your timeline and read your tweets with an outsider’s eye. Review and refine your communication.
Use the tips from point one to create benchmarks that make you progressive. When you have mastered the art, you can always create your own process.
Building a brand requires tact and patience. If your goal is to build a brand that hiring managers will literally fight over, you must do it with intention.
Tweet and get hired!
Twitter is a potent tool for connecting with a global community. Whether you’re a complete novice or a Twitter pro, the hacks above will help you become so relevant that companies will pay you to represent them.
We’d love to hear what you’ve tested and how it went. Let us know in the comments.
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Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder & President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations). When he’s not building SFAN and helping entrepreneurs and rising professionals create fulfilling careers, he’s telling African innovation stories or advocating for people-centered policy. Tom-Chris is a former consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana, and the author of the forthcoming book: Breaking the Limits. He is a thought leader on youth development, social entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and the future of work.