Tweeting — where to start
All too often when I mention Twitter to colleagues I get a response something along the lines of: “I have nothing interesting to say” or “why would someone want to know what I’m eating for breakfast”.
Sigh. This kind of cliché encapsulates the thinking of many colleagues. And it presents their version of reality, which in reality says, I ain’t getting involved. When pushed, the reluctance escalates to include fears that vaguely relate to privacy which I can’t ever fully understand. A bit like those people that wouldn’t do online banking for years because hey, I have to enter my account number and sort code and that can’t be safe! (Scratches head), ahem, do you prefer to write cheques? “Yes! I trust the old methods!” And do you tipex out the account number…we’ll any way…you know how it goes….
The point is dear colleagues, you need to tweet to build a profile. There will come a time when your social media profile says more about you than your CV. That means you need to start building your profile now. And that means you need to know what your world-of-work should know about you:
- What are your Values and Opinions?
- What subjects do you comment on?
- What subjects do you tweet about?
- What subjects are you known to know a bit about?
If you’re not sure, try this, imagine a new colleague has just joined your team. And the new boy has a Twitter following of 3,500. You check his profile — he’s a subject matter expert — in your field! Feeling a touch uncomfortable you can’t resist taking a look at his LinkedIn profile; he’s got endorsements like you wouldn’t believe. For now you can rest easy — nobody cares about that stuff.
True. For now.
But a tough new world approaches and the longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to become “known for what you do”. So here’s a little guide to get you started.
- Get yourself a Twitter account — WITH YOUR NAME.
- Select some subjects you’re interested in. This assumes you find your job interesting? If you’re in Marketing for example, how about: “Content Marketing”, “Analytics”, “Segmentation”, “Social Engagement”.
- Create a feedly.com account and click the “+ Add Content” link. Search “Content Marketing” (example subject only).
- Find some cool articles like this one: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/06/great-content-criteria/?utm_source=feedly
- Reverse back the URL to trim that nasty little tracking gizmo, this bit: ?utm_source=feedly (#yuk) so that you’re left with this bit only: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/06/great-content-criteria/. Copy this URL.
- Open a new browser tab and paste this URL to test it. If it resolves to your intended article proceed to the next step.
- Go to Twitter.com. Create a tweet, e.g.: The recipe for great content — http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/06/great-content-criteria/ a #mustRead
- Later you can worry about shortening URLs to enable tracking and to squeeze in more of your own ideas, for now don’t worry.
- Set your view to “Connect”. If someone Retweets you, Thank them. If they comment, reply. If they favourite your Tweet, do something similar in return. Be nice!
- Follow some people. But only if they’re active on Twitter and have strong opinions that you can either agree with or oppose. Then engage them.
- Don’t fear disagreement. It’s a learning opportunity. If someone successfully overturns your ideas, you’ve improved your understanding. Should the opposite happen, they’ve benefitted. Either way, the community watches and reads, they may also learn in the process and everyone builds a picture of you.
- Use who.unfollowed.me. If someone unfollows you, unfollow them. Maintain a reasonable balance of Following to Followers. It’s not necessary to follow more than your number of followers. You have to earn it, and that takes time as well as focussed engagement around a set of topics that a. you know something about and b. interest you.
- Happy building