Determined to make social networking a real priority, I’ve officially jumped into the Twitter stream. While relatively new to it, I’m coming up the curve quickly and happy to share my twittering tips with you. These points are also a gentle nudge to get your networking strategy on!
Here’s my TTTT (that’s twitter-speak for Top Ten Twitter Tips) aka “Things I wish I would Have Known Before I Started Tweeting.”
1. Twitter is free and can be a powerful networking tool. Register your twitter account at twitter.com and off you go.
2. You have to get to the point, because you only have 140 characters to speak your mind.
3. Keep your brand in mind as you build out your profile and “present” yourself to the twittering community. Post a real picture of you and tell us who you are. (Give people a reason to make the connection.) Twitter is actually a great branding exercise!
4. Twitter is about “Following” and “Being Followed.” Think of it like a community – you build a unique community by following people you are interested in and inviting them to follow you back. Search Twitter for people or topics that interest you. (I network with people who are passionate about mentoring, leadership, and personal development. I am also crazy about horses and have made some wonderful “horse” friends.) Build your following intentionally. When it comes to followers, more is not always better.
5. Networking is about adding value, and Twitter is no exception. Look for what you can add to the community. Some tweeters shamelessly promote themselves and their products before building trust and credibility within the community. Tweeters are annoyed by the SPAM-like feel to these posts.
(I have a personal rule: If you SPAM me, I block you instantly.)
6. Begin slowly. Follow a few people and sit back to watch how the dialogue goes. Read the articles and blogs they post. Reply with your own thoughts to start a dialogue. After a little while, you will begin to feel connected, you will find ways to contribute, and you will learn a great deal along the way. Twitter has replaced my newspaper. I can scan current events in 5 minutes and know exactly what is happening in the world.
7. Posts a few tweets throughout the day. People pop in and out at different times to check on their “peeps.” Posting throughout the day increases the odds that your tweets are read.
8. Before making a decision to follow you people are likely to read your last several tweets. So, before popping out, post a tweet with real substance. (What you had for lunch probably isn’t the most compelling thing about you.) This isn’t as daunting as it might sound. Substance is content/information people can use. That might be a news headline, the link to a blog you follow, or an inspiring thought. You can even share music and pictures on twitter. Content possibilities are ENDLESS, so don’t get lazy and post what’s in your lunchbox.
9. Be authentic! Let your uniqueness come through.
10. Finally, budget your time. Building and maintaining connections is time consuming. You can be swept down the stream, losing all track of time!
Block out a few minutes for tweeting throughout the day and discipline yourself. (When the buzzer goes off..you are over and out!)
11. BONUS TIP: Can’t resist just one more. TweetDeck is a great tool for managing your tweets and your peeps. I call it “My Dashboard.” The deck is free and I love it. Check it out at TweetDeck.com
Even people who see great value in networking have asked me, “What’s the point of Twitter?” I felt that way too…at first. Even as I faithfully tweeted, I secretly felt like I was twittering in the wind. It seemed like I was talking to myself! Then the connections started to click.
I’ve made some wonderful friends and business contacts. I regularly chat with one of may favorite authors, whom I would now call, “Dear Friend.”
I’ve gathered research for the book I’m writing now, and I’ve surrounded myself with people who energize and inspire me. Radio and television interviews have been scheduled on twitter, and I may have found the horse of my dreams.
Join me on Twitter. I am @dondiscumaci . Or you can click the Twitter logo below to get directly to my Twitter feed!
You were designed for success and built to grow,
Networking is all the rage and utilities like LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook provide a platform for both personal and professional connections. All of these in one way or another encourage you to post your status with a question like, “What are you doing right now?” It ‘s a fair question, “What are you working on?” (Even so, I am proposing a change in the way you think about your “status updates.”)
It is entirely possible to mistake activity for progress. Maybe a better question is, “What is the difference you are making?” Yes, I like that question better.
In time management terms, we aim to throw our time, energy, and creativity at the tasks and activities with real impact. That makes perfect sense, but how often do we run toward what has low value in the long term? We check off the tasks (with great satisfaction) without making real progress in our lives. We get “it” done, but we haven’t moved an inch closer to our vision.
There’s another reason to think about the difference you make. It’s a matter of marketing yourself and building your personal brand. Talking about what you did (in a performance review, on a resume, or a meeting with your boss) is less powerful than talking about the difference you made.
I challenge you this week to think about your “status” differently. As you plan your time, look for real impact. Check in with yourself frequently and ask, “What is the difference I am making, right now?”