Advice abounds on how to use social media to advance your career and job search. Beyond reading the volumes of great books, breaking down advice into manageable bites is a smart way to venture into the often-rough social networking waters. Also, choosing one site and really getting your feet wet is helpful to prevent social media overwhelm and scattershot behavior. The following are three snack-size tips to help you get started using the niche-networking site, Twitter.
Tip No. 1: Create a Twitter handle that articulates your value. This may simply mean using your name, particularly if your personal brand and unique value are highly connected to your name. So, @JaneDDoe may just be the perfect draw to brand you. However, if your brand is better exuded through a descriptive representation of what you do, whom you serve, how you serve, and so forth, then consider drawing a visual word picture. The challenge: Creating this handle to represent your brand in just a 15-character limit. But you can meet that challenge. It just takes thought and brainstorming.
Check out these eight examples of personally branded, value-focused and/or descriptive Twitter handles to get your juices flowing:
1. Showing your unique value: @WorkIntegrity (A career transition consultant with integrity)
2. Showing what you do: @bizshrink (A leadership psychologist who grows psychologically savvy leaders)
3. Describing how you help others: @AuntieStress (She undresses your stress by getting to the heart of the cause)
4. Using your name brand: @lizadonnelly (A New York-based cartoonist and writer)
5. Creating a hybrid handle: @RedBaronUSA (A turnaround management and growth strategy expert who uses a company name, RedBaron, and first name, Baron, in the handle)
6. Describing what you do while concurrently using your company name: @Brainzooming (Strategy, innovation, creativity, and social media ideas)
7. Incorporating your name brand plus credential (niche area of focus): @tracystewartcpa (A CPA PFS CFF CFP CDFA, collaborative neutral financial advisor)
8. Emphasizing your personal brand tagline: @ValueIntoWords (A certified master resume writer translating value into words. @Glassdoor career and workplace expert)
Tip No. 2: Follow a couple dozen people and begin sharing their content. This can start as simply as researching four or five of your favorite colleagues on Twitter and then following them. Tag along a few of the people they follow. Read through their tweets. Select a resonating tweet and share it using the "retweet" button. Or, better yet, create a personal introduction to the tweet and customize your share.
You can do this by copying/pasting the original tweet into a new tweet window and then typing in additional, value-add language to introduce the tweet. This will test your writing precision and editing skills because you likely will need to trim the original tweet (without changing the meaning), and have to create a brief, three- or four-word value-add remark, all while fitting into the 140-character limitations.
The following is an example of a tailored retweet of a blog post where the poster pulled out the takeaway message that she found most compelling.
Example of original tweet: "4 tips for better negotiations http://www.stumbleupon.com/to/s/73xwDS"
Example of tailored retweet: "'Watch where you set your anchor' + 3 more tips for better negotiations: http://bit.ly/VtqfOr by @twilli2861"
Tip No. 3. Tweet your own content. Once you get the hang of tweeting, consider developing your own original tweets. If you author a blog or guest post on other blogs, then it would be natural to share that content. If this isn't the case, then create 140-character tips that apply to your area of expertise. So, for example, if you are a sales professional, you may want to prepare a sales tip to help your followers sell better, or you could share one thing not to do when trying to close a deal. In other words, consider what's in it for the follower before composing a tweet, then offer practical advice they can immediately implement.
While Twitter can be a noisy playground with lots of equipment with which to experiment; e.g., TweetDeck, HootSuite, hashtags, Twitter chats, and such, don't let that bog you down. Instead, target in on one area of that playground and start swinging. Let your legs fly, throw your head back. At the same time, play safely and courteously. You will find yourself exhilarated and playful, at the same time, growing your career muscle in communication and collaboration.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.