Today, I have this fantastic post written by my wonderful Twitter friend Melanie. Enjoy!
To those not on the social media platform known as Twitter, it may seem a little silly. I mean, why add a “#” in front of words? And what’s the point of using “@” to shout out to other users? Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not just a platform for the latest kooky starlet to spout wild quotes (really, Amanda Bynes?!) or for the hipsters to post pictures of their coffee and baguettes.
Sometimes it seems like the Twitter-verse speaks its own language foreign to anyone who tries to penetrate it. However, not only can the Twitter code be cracked, but Twitter can actually be used as a valuable professional tool for those looking to build their network.
This summer, I’ve made it my goal to connect with Marketing and Public Relations professionals to learn as much as I can before graduation. I anticipated that LinkedIn would be the most valuable tool in making these connections. However, Twitter has surpassed LinkedIn in terms of accessibility and level of casualness between users.
I’ve been able to connect with career-oriented people who are also looking to network. In fact, Twitter is how I came to be a contributor to this blog! In navigating the professional Twitter-verse, I’ve picked up several tips and have advice for anyone looking to connect with others professionally:
1. Be Complimentary!
If you see someone with an awesome profile that you can see yourself connecting with, don’t be shy! Shoot them a Direct Message with a compliment about that awesome blog post you saw last week or how great their new company logo looks. People are more likely to respond positively if you show a genuine interest in what they’re doing.
2. Connect with Alumni
Based on my experience connecting with University of Iowa grads (Go Hawks!), people love to lend a helping hand or give advice to those who share a similar educational background. You automatically have that similarity. Not only that, but if you’re still in college, it’s a great transition to go from a phone conversation to saying, “Hey, the next time you’re in town for the Hawkeye football game, let’s grab coffee and you can tell me about that awesome PR conference you attended.”
Meeting face-to-face is a natural next step and a way to keep the bond strong with your new contact.
3. Send (Handwritten!) Thank You Notes
If you do make contact through Twitter and end up conducting an informational interview or phone chat, don’t just leave it there. Follow up. What I like to do is connect on LinkedIn right after a one-on-one conversation with a message like,
“It was great speaking with you today! I loved hearing about your experiences in social media marketing at “X” Firm. I’m looking forward to connecting on LinkedIn and keeping up with your business ventures!”
That way, you’re fresh in a connection’s mind. If possible, track down their business address and send them a handwritten thank you card. Make it personal and include a business card so your new connection can get in touch with you by email, phone, or mail.
Twitter doesn’t have to be this frilly, fluffy social media magnet for tween girls. It’s far more than that. Twitter is a modern mechanism for making lasting connections to those with similar interests and goals. #Awesome 😉