Networking is an important skill to learn and keep up with throughout your career, no matter what field you’re in. Networking can help you gain new clients, make important partnerships that can further your business, or even help you find a new job when you’re ready to advance or just need a change.
Since many of my college friends/recent grads are freelancing in one way or another (some need it for their career while others have taken up creative hobbies that they’re trying to make money off of) I’ve seen a lot of them turn to social media to network. While I’m glad to see so many of them make this choice, I often sometimes cringe when I see the results. Social media sites like Twitter can really help your career, but only when used correctly. Today I’m going to share 6 simple tips that can really help your business grow on Twitter.
1. Always keep content in mind
Keep your Twitter account focused on your career field. Post content that the people you want to reach will want to see. Since many people who freelance or are just starting out use their personal accounts to promote themselves, this is very important to remember. I wouldn’t be afraid to post things outside of that category (your dog in a birthday hat is totally worthy of the internet) but make sure that people can still tell what your about.
If you’re worried about your personal and professional lives colliding and would rather keep them separate, start a new Twitter account just for your career. Something simple like Jane Doe Web Designs will be easy for clients to see your work without worrying about how many pictures you take of your pets per day.
2. Keep it short and simple
Twitter only allows you 140 characters, so use them wisely. Adding a link to your products/services, no matter how shortened, can still take up valuable space. Attaching a picture can also use up characters. A good tweet will never use two words when one is just as good.
A good tweet will also attract reader’s attention and make them want to click a link or follow an account. While this seems simple, it’s often pretty difficult to do in under 140 characters. You get better with practice, but a simple tip to start off with is to engage the reader by asking them a question.
Are you a wedding photographer? Instead of tweeting “Wedding photographer available this summer. LINK” try something like “Who would you trust with your wedding photos? LINK.” The first example tells too much up front so people are less likely to click the link unless they are actively searching for a wedding photographer. The second example engages the reader with a question that elicits an emotional response about something as precious as wedding photos. It makes you click the link to find the answer to the question, which is good for you. Once you get the chance to show off your work people will be more likely to refer you to a friend or save your information for another special event they have.
Keeping tweets short are also important in terms of retweets. The shorter your tweets, the easier it is for people to quote your tweet to their followers while adding their own comments. People spreading your information means you reach a wider audience, and having a positive comment or two will give you word of mouth bonus points.
3. No more than 2 hashtags per tweet
According to How to Hashtag, a basic website that explains this latest media/marketing tool, “hashtags…were invented as a way to organise [sic] twitter conversations. Hashtags are simply keywords preceded by a hash symbol (#) that makes them both searchable and linkable on twitter.” Hashtags are used in all sorts of tweets. The media often develops a hashtag for ongoing news stories like #Ferguson for the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Major television premiers also create their own hashtag to generate viewers, like
#VoicePremiere for the next season of The Voice. Something as simple as #homemade can be used to highlight one of the best features of your products.
Hashtags are searchable, which means that even people who aren’t following you can find your tweets and links. For this reason, you want to use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet. Any more than that looks like you’re spam that is simply throwing out random keywords to get attention. Plus, it’s obnoxious.
4. Be careful who you tag
I’ve seen this a few times were people try to promote themselves, their company, or their skills on twitter, and actually tag themselves in the tweet. This is a great way to waste characters. When you send a tweet, people can see that you were the one who wrote it. They can easily click on your Twitter name and the link will take them to your Twitter account. Tagging yourself is redundant and makes you look unprofessional. Your online presence is like any first impression – you only get one and it needs to be good.
5. Generalized hashtag vs Specific Hashtag
If you’re tweeting about your skills or company, you want to reach the right people. So do you tweet something generalized like #design or the more targeted #AdobeDreamweaver? Ultimately, that’s your call. My advice is never settle for one tweet. Post multiple tweets over several days or even weeks. Limit one tweet per day, and always use something different. Remember, hashtags are a search engine so just because no one responded to your #design tweet on Monday doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. The right person might not search for #design until Friday. However, someone could be looking for #AdobeDreamweaver the same day you send your next tweet highlighting your skills, so don’t give up.
Metro Library and Archive. Metropolitan Coach Lines employee. circa 1955. Online image. Flickr. 21 Sept. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/jzzkfu
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. ‘”#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon).’ Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 Sept. 2013 Web. 21 Sept. 2014.