You’ve heard of networking – but most of these mentions talk about networking in person (scaring introverts everywhere). Whether it’s at career fairs or otherwise, you’re probably well-informed enough. But what about taking things to another level and networking online? We’re going to deep dive into what it means to network on Twitter, because yes – you actually can get networking done on the famous microblogging platform!
Let’s get into the basics.
Why you can network on Twitter – and make it work
In case you don’t know by now, Twitter is a hotbed for millennials and all sorts of people including entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and influencers. It may not seem obvious just by looking at your timeline, but Twitter is more than just a platform where you summarise thoughts in 280 characters or less.
1. Communities of Twitter
To cite the most obvious example, K-Pop communities on Twitter band together really strongly. Just take a look at BTS’ fanbase, ARMY! All you have to do is hit the search bar and enter ‘BTS’ to uncover thousands of Twitter accounts just dedicated to supporting the Korean boy band on a daily basis.
More professional communities include the startup scene, where thoughts and ideas are constantly being exchanged from one leader to another. Once a thread (a series of tweets linked to each other) goes viral and people start buzzing about someone’s original content or thoughts, then communities organically grow themselves. That’s the magic of Twitter – and understanding this is key if you want to establish a presence on the platform as well.
Credible news sources have also made a home out of Twitter – because people aren’t just on the platform for fun and games. So there’s true value to be unearthed on this quirky platform, and if you want to network on Twitter, you need to take it seriously.
So how do you find these communities on Twitter? Keywords and hashtags, of course.
2. The power of hashtags on Twitter
Alright, so you’re ready to dig into the soil that is Twitter. It’s time to make full use of the trending topics column as well as do your own research on what hashtags are alive and well and which are, well, long dead.
Why is this important? The livelier the community within a hashtag, the more opportunities you’ll have to interact with people and network on Twitter.
Some of my personal favourite hashtags are #startups, #digitalmarketing, and #remotework – these are fairly active communities always buzzing about the latest trends or thinkpiece. Plus, some Twitter users tend to provide resources related to these topics too, like downloadable infographics.
So if you’re someone interested in networking in the graphic design space, find relevant hashtags and keep monitoring them. Engage with the posts that attract your attention the most, follow thought leaders, and generally do what you would at a physical networking event: be approachable and thoughtful.
One great example of networking and building a solid brand is Buffer, whose team has been hard at work maintaining #bufferchat for a couple of years now. Arielle Tannenbaum of Buffer had this to say regarding #bufferchat’s goals:
“Our goal for community was to show our gratitude. Starting a Twitter chat allowed for one-to-many communication. We also wanted a place for our community to come together, meet each other, and learn from each other.”
3. Asynchronous communication and being involved in conversations
You’re never too late on Twitter. Don’t say bo jio, because there’s no such thing as that on Twitter. The wonderful thing about Twitter is that old conversations aren’t closed off forever if you came across it maybe a week too late.
This allows you to continue conversations and the exchange of ideas long after the original tweet was made. Found a super interesting tweet thread that’s got your attention? Reply to the thread and let the original poster know! Want to add further elaboration onto a really thought-provoking article? Tweet away.
The absence of pressure to reply right away on Twitter makes the prospect of networking that much easier. If you’re an introvert, this will be nothing short of a dream come true for you.
4. The Direct Message function (DMs)
If you use Twitter, you’ll know that this is the equivalent of a Facebook message. This allows private conversations to happen on what is already a very public platform. No one will be able to interrupt. You also have the option of creating a group DM if there’s a need to.
Here’s how to position yourself to network on Twitter
So now you’ve got the hang of why anyone can network on Twitter. But here’s the catch: it isn’t just a one-way street. If you want to network on Twitter like a champion, you need to take steps to prepare and equip yourself for a world where online communities buzz and latch onto trending topics faster than even BuzzFeed can.
1. To network on Twitter, define your industry and area of expertise
You need to define what you’re all about before you start telling people who you are. Just like how you’d write your CV with a defining opening statement, you need to define yourself professionally on Twitter. Only then will you know which communities to engage with and which hashtags to closely follow.
Pro tip: Use Tweetdeck to quickly monitor different hashtags and conversations. It’s much more user-friendly and manageable than using your phone app.
2. Clean up your Twitter bio
This goes without saying, but you don’t want to look like a Twitter bot with that egg icon. Here are a list of things you should include when cleaning up your awesome Twitter profile:
- An actual profile photo of your smiling face. Show them an approachable countenance, and people will be more than likely to respond to you. That’s just psychology.
- An efficient Twitter bio that tells people everything they need to know right away. A great example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Twitter profile.
- Relevant links to your online portfolio or website. Chances are, your Twitter profile will get views the more you engage in a community or conversation. Put your work out there and direct people to what you want them to see. That’ll open up opportunities for you because they get to look at your past work or get to know you beyond Twitter.
- Open up your DMs. This one goes without saying. If you want people to approach you – as you approach them – then leave your DMs open. Invite people to start a conversation with you in a one to one setting!
3. Retweet often and comment freely
Show people you love great content relevant to your industry, but don’t just strictly retweet things! Engage and be a part of the conversation – shoot out replies left and right if you have to. Just make yourself known and be a part of discussions big and small. Twitter users are rather friendly and will engage with you fairly easily. That’s a huge step towards knowing how to network on Twitter!
Rule of thumb: Your retweets shouldn’t outnumber your replies to tweet threads.
4. Provide value from your own account
Create your own tweet threads with thoughts you can’t resist sharing. Add value to the lives of the people you know will come across your content. The road to becoming a thought leader is not easy, but start well and you’ll earn the respect and trust of others.
Check out Twitter user Aytekin’s viral thread that debunked the common belief that waking up at ungodly hours would make you more productive. His tweets got such a huge level of engagement – because people saw the value in what he had to share.
Pro tip: Twitter has a function where you can freely type your entire thread, segregated into different tweets, before you hit send. Make full use of it!
You can too. Time to pull up your socks and work on your Twitter game; it’s more than just about retweeting SGAG memes and videos.