Networking in less than 140 characters
Twitter is nice and all, but you probably view it as a major time waster, right? Well, it sure can be, unless you use it correctly.
Follow the Right People
First, you need to identify the people that you need to target. Ask yourself,If I could connect with anyone on Twitter, who would provide me the most value?, and go ahead and follow that person. Now, look for other people with similar occupations, interests, etc. These are the people that you’ll be interacting with very soon, so make sure that you can actually understand what they are talking about!
This is where Twitter’s “Who to Follow” section really comes in handy. Go ahead and follow a few people that have tweeted recently and continue to remain active on Twitter. Try to follow someone who doesn’t have too manyfollowers so that your response won’t be drowned out by others. One good way to test this is by simple searching for “@username” and see how many replies show up. Alternatively, you could select a specific tweet and see how many replies there are.
Get Active on Twitter
Now you’re going to have to put in some work. And by work, I mean reading lots of small chunks of text. You’ll be ok, we’re going to get through this. Now is the time to start reading a lot of tweets and finding ones that you can reply to (more on the replies in a second).
Make sure that you actually know what’s going on. Don’t hesitate to unfollow a user whose tweets make no sense to you (I do this if I follow a car person), or if they clog up your timeline with a bunch of stuff that isn’t really reply-able. Likewise, feel free to follow more people if you’d like, it really depends on how much time you’d like to put into this. The beauty of this method is that it scales to your liking.
Fire Up Your @Reply
If you’re following enough relevant people, you should be able to start identifying tweets where you can actually contribute something to. If not, follow more people that tweet often. The main thing you need to do here is add value to the conversation.
Value can mean very different things. I always appreciate a humorous reply to one of my tweets. You can get a lot of bonus points for doing that. Answering questions can also be incredibly helpful. If you’re quick enough, you might get to be the first one to answer a question. If not, try providing the best answer. See what others have said in reply to a certain tweet and see what you can add. Value could also mean recommending websites, articles, images, videos, or some other meadia to someone else. Make sure you aren’t spamming them.
All in all, add something. If you’re replying just to reply, you’re hurting yourself. The good thing about Twitter is that if you make sure that your tweet starts out with @, for example: “@SomewhatJustin How are you?”, then it won’t show up in anyone’s timeline unless they follow you and whomever you’re communicating with. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about losing loyal followers due to an onslaught of excess replies.
You’ve sent in a few replies, good! Now you’ll see some people will reply back to you, favorite your tweet, or even RT and/or follow your account. Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work out for you, keep sending relevant tweets to those who you’d like to connect with. Eventually people will get used to seeing your super-great Twitter avatar and username and you’ll be able to build some credibility.
Once you feel the time is right, send your connection an email. Make sure to mention that you’ve been interacting with them via Twitter by throwing in your username. Don’t be spammy and immediately ask for somethnig. Remember, you’re always looking for ways to provide value to others. If you get a reply, you’ve succesfully begun a relationship through Twitter. Congrats! Keep following up with your connections and keep replying to important tweets. For far too long I’ve felt free to keep scrolling even when I thought I could contribute. Don’t let that happen to you.