Are you a late adopter of Twitter? Since Google announced plans to resume indexing Tweets in real-time searches, lots of people who have barely used (or never used) Twitter are rethinking it. Surfacing in Google searches gives thought leaders more visibility – which makes Twitter even more powerful for building professional relevance.
But figuring out how to think about Twitter can be overwhelming. There are tons of technical tips out there, but what should your goals be? Here’s a quick primer to help shape your thinking.
The Technical How-tos
- Allot 15 minutes a day. That’s all it takes. You can spend more time on Twitter, but you really don’t have to.
- Sort to keep your sanity. Segment who you follow and for what purpose into lists. Lists make Twitter much easier to navigate.
- Reach out. Follow thought leaders in your industry. Follow people who share your interests.
- Say something somewhat regularly. After you start Tweeting, like-minded people will find you. You can Tweet daily. Or not. Do what works for you.
- Use hashtags – #thoughtfully. Hashtags are great for getting attention or joining a cultural conversation, but use ’em only when relevant. In a post, use 2-3 hashtags max. You don’t even need to use hashtags every time.
The Philosophical How-tos
- Engage to build your network. Be sociable and remember that real communication is a two-way thing. So post articles, ideas and comments. But also ask questions, respond, favorite & retweet. Use these Twitter equivalents of high-fives to connect with like-minded people.
- Ask for help. Crowdsource to get suggestions and ideas you would never get otherwise. You never know what you’ll learn.
- Help others. Respond to others’ crowdsourcing requests with helpful suggestions. (That’s one reason why you need to read and respond – not just post.)
- Balance self-promotion with other stuff. Don’t be that guy at the party who talks only about himself and listens to no one. Because don’t we all avoid that guy? To stay interesting, diversify what you share. In this way, Twitter really is like a party.
- Be you (the whole you). It’s interesting to know who people really are. You don’t have to get deeply personal to provide glimpses of yourself. One-liners, occasional pics, inspiration and things you think are beautiful or cool are all great tidbits to share. Show your humanity.
- Think before posting. Emotions are contagious, so think now: Which ones do you want to spread? Which emotions do you want others to associate with you? If you’re mad, step away. Step. Away. You won’t regret waiting. (And perhaps not posting.)
There are countless more relevant tips and techniques. But this primer is intended just to provide clear starter goals for building your Twitter presence while keeping it in its place. So you can be the boss of your Twitter account. It shouldn’t become the boss of you.