When Twitter became it's own company back in 2007, not very many people thought it would be around for long. Here was this platform that restricted your posts to 140 characters, the profiles were simple and minimalist and there seemed to be only so much you could do with it. Over the last eleven years Twitter has gone from something no one knew what to do with to one of the most necessary platforms in digital media.
Better Than A Business Card
If you're anything like me you usually leave your business cards at home. So, the first time I meet another creative while I'm out I utter, "What's your Twitter?" within the first 20 minutes. I know that a smart creative is going to have a concise bio with all the pertinent info (link, email, what they do, where they've done it) and a quick scan through their last 10 tweets will tell me what they're about. You can hand someone your business card or direct them to your website, but nothing gives people a 360 reference of who you are like your (well crafted) Twitter profile.
My advice? Keep your bio clean and informative, never privatize your profile and simplify your username to fit your branding.
The Community Center
I probably met 90% of my writer friends on Twitter. Those connections have become a huge part of my life. As an editor, this came in handy because I already had a slew of writers who's voice I was familiar with that I could tap into with pitches and daily contributor opportunities. As a writer, this community served as a resource for finding writing gigs, getting tips on which editors moved to which publications (tip: editors switch publications quite a bit - keep up). It doesn't really matter what industry you're in, it's important to know each other, support each other and at the very least - size up the competition.
Either way, we make each other better.
Lists Over Follows
My favorite but often overlooked Twitter feature is the list function. I use it to curate my Twitter experience and target my content as needed. I use lists to create my own Twitter multiverses that focus on whatever tickles my fancy; Black writers, mom bloggers, east coast creatives. I even have a Twitter list with over 50 Black creative women named Ashley just because. The benefit is that you can follow the content of the people on the list, without having to follow them. If I want to see what Black writers are reading and writing today, I can transform my timeline to cater to Black writers exclusively by heading over to that list. I can filter out all the other noise with one click, and see exactly what I need to see. Doesn't matter if you're looking for work or pitch ideas - this is the shortcut of your dreams. Best of all - the lists can be public or private. So if you want to make a list of...say 'Twitter Baes' no one has to be the wiser.
Good Old Fashioned Chats
Melissa Kimble of #BlkCreatives might be one of the top experts when it comes to utilizing Twitter chats. Having conducted and co-hosted dozens of successful chats herself she sees them as a key element of social branding. "As a brand its a social listening tool or a focus group" says Melissa, "It's a good way to get feedback."
Twitter chats are a great creative way to engage with your audience and tap into what they most resonate with and respond to. It's also a great way to develop blog content or improve upon your already existing products based on what your audience has to say.
Here's few tips for creating a successful Twitter chat:
- Start promoting your chat well ahead of time to give people a chance to mark their calendars - aim for 2 weeks prior.
- Brand your chat! Customize a hashtag that is unique to your brand and create a graphic you can use for promo across social media channels.
- Pick a niche topic. The more broad the topic, the harder it will be to keep the pace of the chat moving in a targeted direction. Instead of something broad like "women empowerment" aim your conversation at something more specific like "women at work: how to get promoted" or "balancing work and life after kids".