“I don’t get Twitter.”
That’s the first thing I said to myself when I first discovered the social media platform Twitter. I can easily recall thinking “Oh great, another social media site,” as I didn’t quite understand what Twitter was or what value it provided to me and my business. According to Wikipedia, “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.” Even though I thought the cross between instant messaging and blogging as a communication tool was an interesting idea (and the fact the updates even show up on your phone), I still remained skeptical about using Twitter as I questioned “Why would anyone be interested in knowing what I’m doing every second of the day?” So for months I left Twitter untouched.
Then one day (thanks to many helpful resources on the web) I experienced an epiphany of sorts, as I realized there are actually many advantages to “tweeting” on Twitter, besides telling people what I ate for breakfast. Yes, Twitter is a VALUABLE resource for your staffing or recruiting business. It’s great for attracting talent, establishing your employment brand, joining niche communities, marketing your products or services and several other reasons—all for free. Once I discovered all the amazing benefits Twitter provides (both for personal and business use), I knew that to survive in today’s social media world I could no longer avoid it; and neither should you.
Why Should I use Twitter?
Glad you asked! With over 3,300,000 registered users and counting, Twitter is a great tool to network, engage and market yourself and your company to a large audience of people that actually want to hear from you. For staffing and recruiting professionals, Twitter is a quick, easy, and direct way to tap into both active and passive candidate pools plus network with employers who may be interested in your services somewhere down the road (if not today). In addition to connecting with potential prospects, the following list includes many other ways you can use Twitter for your business:
- Build your network and connect with colleagues
- Market your products or services
- Answer and ask questions
- Announce contests or giveaways
- Ask for or provide feedback
- Provide customer service and support
- Share resources, tips, tricks, and thought leadership
- Posting news and events from your company or industry
- Post interesting resources
- Post company blog articles (if you have a blog) or links to your favorite blogs
- Tell us about new job openings
- And much more, be creative!
These are just a few examples of how Twitter can provide a simple and effective communication platform for your business. I can only imagine over time people will think of more new and exciting methods to utilize Twitter’s platform to build brands, relationships and networks.
Twitter for Business
When Twitter first caught on, it was mostly used as a way for people to announce to the world what they were doing at that exact moment in time and literally told us everything they did and thought. While Twitter is still used in this way, businesses have also jumped on board, realizing it is a powerfully fast and useful communication tool to connect with people, promote their brand and market their services.
When you’re tweeting for business, or as an individual associated with a company, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- Determine your goals: Will you be tweeting just to post jobs, to network, for customer support, all of the above? Knowing what you should tweet is up to you and your company. Defining your goals will help you become a more organized and successful tweeter and will ultimately provide valuable content to your followers.
- Will you create a company profile, individual or both? As I see it, you have two different Twitter profile types: an individual profile for yourself (such as my account: http://www.twitter.com/jessicameher) and/or a company profile (Akken’s profile for example: http://www.twitter.com/akken). My personal account allows me to be more flexible with what I tweet but Akken’s page on the other hand is only used for specific purposes such as announcing tradeshows we’re attending, new upgrades, new job openings and so on. Use your goals to help you determine which profile type is best for you.
- Determine your “Twitter Manager” and company participants: I always encourage companies to allow employees to participate on Twitter, but first I’d suggest recruiting a member of your company as the “Twitter Manager” (usually someone in marketing, a person who is already knowledgeable about Twitter or social media, or the lucky person reading this article). This person may also loosely monitor the company Twitter account and accounts of other employees participating online (to make sure they are representing their company in the best light). No matter what you decide, one person from your company on Twitter is always better than none. What you need to remember is the person(s) from your company who are communicating on Twitter needs to keep your company’s brand image in mind. Anything that is posted on Twitter is a reflection of your business, so in other words, watch what you tweet.
Getting Started: What to Do When Creating your Twitter Account
What I recommend now is to go ahead and create your own personal or company Twitter account (go to http://www.twitter.com), it only takes a minute or two.
When creating your Twitter username, there is no right or wrong formula. Feel free to be creative or more straightforward such as using your real name or nick name (I prefer to use my real name for personal branding reasons). Just make sure to keep your Twitter name reasonably short and simple and avoid using numbers and symbols.
Once you create a profile, complete the information in your account under the Settingslink. After you complete your profile start searching for people you know (people you work with, partners, prospects, etc) using Twitter’s built-in name search then “follow” them. Next, use search.twitter.com or Twellow (http://www.twellow.com) to find people in your industry or in the specialties you place; then follow them too (in Part 2 I will cover advanced searching techniques). Once you start following people, they will start to follow you back. Soon enough you will start to see your network grow as your “following” and “followers” numbers increase over time.
The Platinum Rule for Becoming a Successful “Tweeter”
Now it’s time for you to start tweeting. The first (and probably most important) rule you need to remember when traveling the road to Twitter fame is to ignore “what are you doing?” and instead replace it with “what would everyone like to know, discover or share.” Essentially, how much value is each “tweet” providing to your audience? I always try to the think of the Platinum Rule (treat others as they want to be treated) but in this case I change it to “write what your readers want to read.” Of course, many times what you tweet can benefit both you and your readers. For instance, as a recruiter I’d recommend tweeting every new job opening you have (i.e. “New Job - Office Manager Austin, TX, call 512-555-6543”). This way, you’re advertising the job to passive and active candidates and candidates get access to new jobs right from their Twitter account or better yet, straight to their mobile phone, a win-win for all.
Additional Tips for Being Successful on Twitter:
- Be helpful and resourceful. Provide content that is valuable and useful to your audience
- Don’t broadcast everything, some things just aren’t that important
- Don’t tweet too much and don’t be repetitive with the same messages, people who post something every minute become annoying and clutter pages
- Write tweets that can be clearly understood, if no one understands you, no one will read you
- Don’t spam. Enough said
Confucius says: “Now go follow”
I hope now you have a good foundation for Twitter success. In today’s world, participating and engaging in social media is more important than ever as Twitter provides us with one of the best tools to stay ahead of the game (and our competition). Twitter provides staffing and recruiting professionals the ability to market our jobs, connect with job seekers and build brands and relationships with a 100% cost-free platform. In Part 2, I will go over advanced searching techniques, free Twitter tools you can use to find candidates and job orders and ways to market your Twitter profile to gain more followers.