With Twitter’s 140 characters or less rule (back in the day) – currently up to 280 characters this day in February 2022 – it’s actually a simplified means for networking. Many Twitterers have achieved a supercharged system of building new relationships by transferring real-life networking skills to their social networking efforts.
Here are a few tips for integrating professional networking best practices with Twitter cultural norms:
Put Your Best Tweet Forward – Think of every Tweet you make as a reflection of the image you want to convey; and you never know who is watching. That image should be consistent with your personal and/or company brand and corporate personality.
Research Who You Want To Follow – Put time into selecting who you want to follow, research their past Tweets, check out their blog, site and other social media profiles. Then begin to interact in a meaningful way.
Decide How Much Time To Spend Tweeting – It’s easy to get caught up in checking on what those you’re following have Tweeted, following links on industry updates, getting sidetracked with gossip. Decide how much time you want to spend a day/week, even how many times a day you’ll Tweet. Without a plan, Twitter can easily make hours disappear from your day.
Be Personable – Direct Message (DM) a new contact to thank them for following you or about a particular Tweet you found valuable. Do a search for those who have re-Tweeted (RT) you and thank them.
Build Rapport, Slowly – Nobody likes someone who comes on too strong, is too persistent, or is a know-it-all, in real life or in social networking. Instead, be a modest, helpful professional and you’ll win respect, interest, and the possibility to build Tweets into relationships.
Be Transparent – Be straightforward and consistent with your Tweets. If you really want sales or new subscribers, include regular Tweets about what you’re doing and what action you’d like your followers to take (such as visiting your website or blog).
“You Can’t Take It Back” – You can delete a Tweet, but hundreds or thousands may have already seen it. Also, search engine tracking or third-party Twitter applications may have picked up that comment and will hold it in their records for weeks as a search result on your Twitter profile, and these cannot be deleted.
Be A Giver – Build meaningful relationships by helping others find and get what they want. Turn this into a valuable business relationship by knowing who you’re creating a new relationship with and why. Be consistent, as you are building trust with these new contacts. Also, be sure to set and keep boundaries so you don’t spend too much time helping.
Keep a Long Term Perspective – There are stories of businesses that have gained new customers in weeks or days on Twitter, but that is not the norm. Pace yourself and focus on quality over quantity. Twitter does yield real contacts and business, but it takes time and patience.
Promote That You’re On Twitter – Put your Twitter URL on your email signature, website, blog, any place that makes sense for you. This is a good way to increase your followers without actively looking for new contacts. Be sure to check who is new following you and take time to build personal relationships with your new contacts.
Mind Your Manners – Remember, social media is just like real life, never share personal information you wouldn’t share with a brand new acquaintance. Ideally, your number of followers will keep growing. Good manners will ensure that professionals will be interested in you, respect your opinion, and be open to one-on-one discussions if you have a respectable style.
Let’s Tweet! twitter.com/WebbWeaver