When I first started using Twitter as a way to network and make a name for myself I had no idea what to do. All I knew was that my professors were telling me to stay up to date with various social media outlets and that having a Twitter account would not only be valuable as a student but even more upon entering the real world. So I created an account and it pretty much collected dust for the first few months, until I attended a public relations conference that had a handle and hashtag and I could finally start exploring the professional side to Twitter.
Lately I have had a lot of students tell me they can’t get into Twitter or point-blank don’t understand what it’s all about. I’m not a professional on the matter but I figured instead of explaining this over and over again, why not make a blog post.
So here are my tips for students who are just started in the Twitter world and how to keep it classy.
1. Create an account; and fill out all the information
-Upload a photo
-Fill out your biography, and be sure to include any of your personal links, i.e. blog, website or Facebook page
-If you’re using your profile professionally I would suggest leaving it open to the public, which also means watch what you tweet! If you wouldn’t want your tweet on a billboard where your mom, boss, grandma or pastor could see then DON’T tweet! Also, never tweet when you are upset.
2. Start following people
If you’re into PR then find some PR blogs/news papers/organizations/agency’s. Try to make a connection with them by re-tweeting their stories or participating in questions they post. For starters: @prssanc @thePRcoach @PRdailynews @PRSSANational @PRNews @PRSA @PRSSABYUI
Don’t forget to follow people you know too. It’s a great way to stay connected and share your thoughts whether it be an interesting article, your new blog post or a simple “Hey, see you @PRSSABYUI tonight! Crisis management FTW. #PRstudchat”
To find people on Twitter go to the top left hand corner and click @connect, then in the search bar type in someone’s name to see the results.
3. The #hashtag
The hashtag is essentially a way for related tweets to be stored in one space. For example, if I was tweeting an article related to public relations in the tweet it would be wise to include #PR , #PRstudchat or both!
If you were on twitter and saw a hashtag and clicked on it, it would take you to a page with all the tweets including that hashtag. Most of the time hashtags are created specifically for a purpose but more than often you will see people making up hashtags in their tweets, i.e. “I stubbed my toe again chasing after the ice cream man #neveragain.” More than likely if you clicked on the #neveragain hashtag there wont be many other people tweeting with it. People will use the hashtag style to get more characters into a tweet and/or just for fun.
To search for hashtags go to the top left hand corner and click #discover, then in the search bar you can type in a hashtag to see what others are saying.
For more public relations related hashtags check out: Mr. Public Relations
As you are watching what your followers are tweeting you are going to come across facts, articles and opinions that you love and want to share with others. Twitter has made sharing this even easier than copying and pasting! If you hover over the tweet there will be a re-tweet option and all you do is click the button!
As you’re just starting out in twitter observe what the people you are following tweet about. Decide what you do and don’t like and then ease your way into it. Twitter is a fast past environment so it may be overwhelming and too much information at first.
6. Take a leap of faith
Now that you have seen how others tweet and know what your likes VS dislikes are, go for it! I would suggest starting out with 3 tweets a day. 2 professional and one personal and when I say personal I mean show your personality but don’t make Twitter your diary. Like I said earlier if you’re not OK with your mom, boss, grandma and pastor reading it, don’t tweet it.
7. Keep it short and sweet
Twitter is known for this with only allowing 140 characters per tweet, but I am going to challenge you all to keep it shorter than that so others will be able to re-tweet your tweets! Otherwise you’re just out of luck my friends.
8. How to see if any one is tweeting @ you
This took me forever to figure out, but just like when you are finding someone on twitter click on the @connect icon but don’t search any names. On the page it will show you updates of who is following you, re-tweeting and including you in a tweet!
A useful tool for this is TweetDeck. Check it out, it’ll make your life a lot easier.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any other questions or concerns please leave a comment and I will get back to you! Good luck and happy tweeting!
Follow me @KaitiMoss