Sites like Twitter make it easier for people to showcase their skills, interests, and experiences, as well as connect with hundreds- even thousands- of like-minded individuals.
In my last two posts, I discussed Twitter basics, such as setting up your Twitter account and starting to tweet, and how to participate in Twitter hashtag conversations. Today I am going to talk about some easy ways to communicate with others and connect with those in the Twitter community. Please, feel free to offer further input in the comments!
While Twitter is a great way to share your content with thousands of people, it is also a tool for fostering relationships. The best way to reach many Twitter folks is through direct engagement, such as @replying to a question or sending a direct message. If you don’t engage with the community or deliver interesting content, you will not reap the benefits Twitter has to offer.
Tips for Twitter use
• Write interesting stuff.
• Include links when you can.
• Lend your input on a topic of interest.
• Write a good Twitter bio, and then deliver on what your bio says about you. If you are a business student about to graduate and enter the workforce, are you using Twitter for networking, to find a job, or to simply connect with the community?
• What are your interests? Sharing a personal side with your Twitter community is important. Remember, on social networks you are still a person, not a profile.
• Demonstrate your involvement. Are you a student reporter? Participating in a conference? Attending a speech by a renowned speaker? Volunteering for a cause? Being a student is one of the busiest times of your life. Share these moments and what you are learning from your experiences.
• Pose questions to the general Twitter community and to individuals via DM or @reply. Thank someone or comment back if they answer your question.
• Link to others’ blogs and @mention them in your tweet. Other tweeters are more likely to recognize you if you recognize them. One of the big draws of Twitter: it’s one big kudos community. Give credit where it’s due.
• On a similar note, participate in #FF (Follow Friday). On Fridays, recognize other tweeters worthy of following by using the #FF hashtag. For instance, an update might be: “Follow these PR people for great insight! @PRone and @PRtwo #FF”.
• Learn to write concise, targeted messages. Shorter messages are easier to retweet.
• Syndicate your blog feed using Twitterfeed.
• Refer to your Twitter account in other mediums: email signature, other online profiles or your business card, for example.
• Harness the power of Twitter lists.
Third Party applications
Twitter has a robust search capability. Here are some basic third party apps that you can use to your advantage:
• Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck’s robust features and ease of use make is a favorite among many Twitter users. Use this desktop app to create list columns, monitor mentions of your name, manage multiple Twitter accounts, and sync your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace accounts.
• Twellow: Connect with people of interest using the yellow pages of Twitter.
• Tweetbeep: Get free Twitter alerts by email.
• Tweetmeme: Put a button on your Website or blog that makes it easier for readers to retweet.
• Ping.fm: Update all your social networks at once.
Bring the connections elsewhere
Twitter is just one medium for making connections and strengthening your online presence. Take the relationships to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. Comment on others’ blogs. Attend conferences or events and introduce yourself to online friends in real life. Connect with university officials or potential employers via Twitter, and then set up face-to-face meetings. Once you begin making and strengthening these connections, the possibilities are endless.
These are just a few suggestions. Other thoughts? How can students use Twitter to their advantage?
Cassie is a May 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison Ag Journalism graduate. She recently unfolded her passion for public relations during her short stint as a PR consultant for a Madison, Wis. area non-profit and is looking to dive into the field professionally. Find Cassie on Twitter, BrazenCareerist, and LinkedIn.