March 31, 2011
Using Twitter for Your Career: What Should I Tweet About?
My colleagues and I at Monster.com think and talk a lot about using social media -- as it relates both to companies and to job seekers, and to networking, personal branding, and so on. For me, this has been especially true in recent weeks. Hot on the heels of Monster's participation in South by Southwest Interactive, I've been speaking on social-media-related topics at a couple of regional conferences, and on this coming Saturday, I'll be speaking a panel titled "Tweet Your Way to the Top: Social Media and the Job Search" at the Social Learning Summit 2011 (hosted by the American University Social Media Club).
Recently, I was speaking to a group of Monster customers (HR pros, recruiters, and hiring managers) about the role of social media in the modern workplace. After the event, a woman came to me with an important question: "I understand that Twitter and all of these things are important," she said, "and I know we have to start using them. But what should I be tweeting about?"
It's a deceptively simple question. In most discussions about personal branding on social networks such as Twitter, personal branding is described as the first step and primary consideration. But it isn't. No matter who you are, or where you are in your career -- or whether you're representing yourself or your company online -- there are three things you have to do before (and while) you're online and personal-branding up a storm:
STEP ONE: Be awesome. I'm not joking. If your focus is on promoting yourself but not on doing things worthy of promotion, you're going about your career all wrong. (And if you're not being awesome or doing awesome things, you don't really have much to tweet about.) I don't want to belabor this very simple notion, but it's often overlooked at the personal and at the corporate level. Simply being on Twitter is not enough. Simply blogging about current events or LinkedIn-ing to everyone you've ever worked with isn't developing your career or building your brand. If you haven't taken the time to first be awesome, all this activity in an online space is a waste of time.
All of us, but perhaps young people especially (because they are at the receiving end of a lot of "personal-branding" advice) should try to keep in mind that a great personal brand should be thought of as the frosting that completes the rich, delicious cake of your achievements.
So, to answer that nice woman's question: Be awesome. Do awesome stuff. Then tweet about that. Repeat as necessary.
STEP TWO: Be human. Have you ever known someone who talked only about himself or herself -- who was, to put it in theater terms, all monologue and no dialogue? This is what a lot of Twitter activity sounds like, to me. Using your Twitter stream (or Facebook profile or blog or vlog) only to broadcast your own news is not social. It's antisocial. And it's not human. What do humans do in social spaces? They notice other people. They ask questions. They pay compliments. They share opinions. Sometimes they even talk to people who are not in their immediate networks (or, we might say, cliques).
So this is another answer to that woman's question: Say hello. Pay a compliment. Ask a question. Answer a question. Share an opinion. In other words, be human.
STEP THREE: Be goal-oriented. People tend to get so excited about a new platform, tool, or technology that they leap on it before they think about whether they need it. Web 3.0 gives us so many ways to put ourselves online -- to display our personal brand. But how often do we ask ourselves, "What do we want this display to achieve?" For anyone with a career, at least one answer to that should be "Advancing or maintaining my career." So all of your online social activity should move you toward that goal (or at least not take you away from it -- for example, as inappropriate pictures on your Facebook profile might). If you're jumping in to social media, you should have a social-media plan, with long-term and short-term goals -- because if you don't know what you want to achieve, how will you know what's working and what isn't?
Even if your only goal in using Facebook is, for instance, "Stay in touch with the people I care about and have a few laughs," you need to occasionally check in and ask yourself if you're achieving that.
So that's the final answer to the question "What should I be tweeting about?" And it's an answer in the form of another question: I don't know; what do you want your tweets to do for you?
Answer that, and you're well on your way to figuring this social media thing out.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Using Twitter for Your Career: What Should I Tweet About? :
Hi, just want to say thanks for the great post, keep up the good work.
Posted by: how to detox your body naturaslly | Apr 2, 2011 5:52:35 PM
Engaging people on Twitter is a great way to get noticed and be a productive member of the community. If you're using Twitter to boost your career, asking or answering questions of the experts in your career field is a good place to start. But if you're using Twitter for professional reasons, then be careful of tweeting about personal stuff/opinions because it will turn off whatever audience you have who are following you because of your professional tweets.
Posted by: Corey Witt | Apr 11, 2011 12:02:25 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.