Hartley Brody

Using Twitter as a Young Professional

While Twitter is growing increasingly popular amongst college students, it exists in a slightly awkward place for those of us heading out into the professional world.

Angry Twitter BossI’m going to live tweet the shit out of this meeting</div>

Is it a social network where I should tweet at my friends? Is it microblogging that I should use to share my life with the world? Or is it a place where I can connect with professionals about certain topics and hashtags? Can I use it to get a job?

If you’re a soon-to-be young professional with a Twitter account, it can be challenging trying to fit it into your online identity.

Here are some tips for using Twitter as a young professional.


Make Your Tweets Public

Rule #1 of using the internet is don’t post anything you want to keep private.

Angry Twitter BossWhy won’t you accept my follower request!?!?!</div> You may think you’re being sneaky, but what happens when your new boss request to follow you?

Awkward.

Do you reject them outright, or approve them and let them see all the stupid stuff you’ve been saying?

By making your tweets public, you’ll think twice before drunk tweeting (not that it’ll stop you completely) and it’ll help you create a more professional online image that you can be proud of.

Making your tweets public also has the added benefit of allowing you to build a following much more easily, since you don’t have to approve each new follower.

Having a lot of followers – especially a high followers:following ratio – makes you seem more influential and authoritative, which can go a long way to helping you make new connections.

You can also literally get free stuff for having more followers from companies like Klout. Also, big businesses will often respond to your complaints more quickly if they know you have a large soapbox to bash them for bad service.

By making your profile public, it’ll be much easier to build your following and gain influence.

Tweet Links to Things You Find Online

If you’re a Twitter user, chances are you spend some time on the internet every day, reading articles you enjoy. These are exactly the kind of thing you should share with your followers! Whether it’s a New York Times article, a funny video, or a cool blog post (like this one ;)) if you liked it, share it with your followers!

Because a tweet can only contain 140 characters, it’s really hard to convey complex ideas. Instead, most people tweet links to things, with a description that encourages their followers to click through to read more.

If your tweet has a link, it means you’re sharing something, as opposed to just saying something. By sharing interesting, helpful links, you’ll appear far more authoritative and knowledgeable than the average tweeter.

Tweet a link to the things you like, with either the title, or your 2 cents about the piece. Sometimes people also include the Twitter handle of the organization that made the content, like “via @NYTimes”.

Tweeting links to the things you’re reading will help you build influence in those subject areas. And as people notice you tweeting about a certain topic, they’re likely to follow you if they’re also interested in that topic. In this way, you can get noticed by other like-minded people and start building a professional following.

Pro tip: if you tend to read a bunch of articles at once, but don’t want to share them all at once, check out Buffer. It’s a free app that you can dump all your tweets into, and it’ll automatically spread them out and send them throughout the day. This helps you tweet more regularly without annoying your followers with sudden bursts of tweets.

Be Retweetable

Be retweetable!
Retweets are probably the easiest way to quickly build a following. If one of your followers likes what you’re sharing, they’ll retweet you, and pass your tweet along on to their followers. Getting retweeted is a great way to get your name in front of hundreds of new people.

Make sure your tweets are interesting enough that other people would want to pass them along to their followers.

Treat Your Tweets as Part of Your Resume

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Twitter accounts tend to rank really highly if you’ve used your real name, so they’re usually one of the first things employers find when they look you up.

Angsty song lyrics or inside jokes probably aren’t the best thing to put out there if you’re hoping to build a professional audience.

You want your tweets to convey that you are knowledgeable and passionate about something. Always keep that in mind before you hit “send.”

Use Hashtags

If you’re tweeting about something that’s relevant for a very broad audience, be sure to include a hashtag so that other people can find it in Twitter Search.

Sometimes an event will have its own hashtag, to help organize the relevant stream of tweets. Other times you might just be sharing a link that’s relevant to a certain community, like #teaching or #marketing professionals.

You can use the hashtag in the text of your tweet, or as an addendum at the end. For example:

“An article all #banking professionals should read: {link}”

“An article everyone should read {link} #banking”

Whatever works.


Twitter doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, it can be a great way to meet like-minded people, or build your influence online. Getting new followers not only helps you gain influence – it could help you land a job one day!

If you’re interested in using Twitter to promote your business, check out Marketing for Hackers.