You have probably heard a lot of hype about Twitter… are you on it yet? Are you getting any value out of Twitter?
I have learned to not tell people to get on any social network, much less Twitter. I don’t want you to come back to me complaining that it’s weird, or that it has nothing to do with anything. There are so many meaningless tweets that it the value of Twitter doesn’t jump out at most people.
But I’ll tell you, there are probably people you should be networking with who are on Twitter. Let me restate that… there are people you SHOULD (not “could”) be networking with who are on Twitter.
Twitter allows you to:
- find and identify them,
- learn more about them, and
- contact them.
Let me explain how to do each of these:
1. Find and identify key contacts on Twitter
There are two ways I would suggest you do this. The first is to use Twellow.com, which is like the yellow pages of Twitter. It’s a search engine that helps you find, for example, “marketing manager [your state/city].” You can find a lot of key people you should network into.
Another way to find key contacts on Twitter is to go to Search.Twitter.com and do a search on a keyword, like “marketing manager.”
Once you find a key contact, you need to see if they really are the right people to network with.
2. Learn more about the key contact
The easiest way to learn about someone is to see what they tweet. You can look at their bio, URL, location, followers/following and that all tells you interesting information… but I like to see what people actually tweet. Do they tweet about their lunch, or pass on get-rich-quick junk, or RT stuff that is weird or questionable?
I’m not saying that people need to only tweet on-brand business stuff, but you can get a good idea of what they are thinking about by the content (and frequency) of their tweets.
If they have a link in their profile I’d suggest you check it out – usually this goes to a LinkedIn Profile or blog with richer profile info.
3. Contact someone you find from Twitter
One way to contact someone you find on Twitter is to @/reply to them. This is the only step that requires you to have a Twitter account… login to your account and type in something like @jasonalba – let’s connect on email – please message me at [your email address].” I’ll likely see that since I check to see who is “talking” to me (by using the @ symbol).
Another way to contact someone is to just do some old fashioned detective work to try and figure out what their email address is. Some people have a blog or LinkedIn profile that has an email address on it (or, a resume, which almost always has an email address on it). You can also try to message them through another medium, like leave a comment on their blog or message them through LinkedIn.
The purpose of the message is to try and get a conversation going, perhaps a phone call or an email thread.
There you go – a simple primer on how to get value out of Twitter, whether you have an account or not!
My Twitter handle is @jasonalba
Peter’s Twitter handle is @career_resumes
A fantastic book on Twitter is The Twitter Job Search Guide.