Networking is an important aspect of growing your business and personal brand. It gives you the opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded people while improving brand visibility in the process.
One such social network that’s known for making conversations is Twitter.
Its fast-paced nature makes it incredibly easy to share ideas, stay informed, and be connected. If you’re looking to expand your network, it’s a good idea to find prospects on Twitter and engage with them before you take the relationship to the next level.
So, let’s take a look at how you can use Twitter to network and build meaningful connections.
The first thing you should do is create an optimized profile. Your profile needs to be such that viewers get a clear picture of who you are and are compelled to follow you.
Here are five elements of a well-optimized and complete Twitter profile:
- Add your headshot as the profile picture
- Insert a header image that’s in line with your brand or line of work
- Insert a link to your company website or blog
- Craft an enticing bio with relevant keywords in 160 characters or less
- Pin a tweet that represents the work you do or promotes your latest content piece such as a blog post or case study
Make yourself accessible in order to connect with new people and grow your network — set your Twitter profile to ‘public’ and ensure your Direct Messages (DMs) are open.
Here’s an example of an optimized Twitter profile.
Don’t make the mistake of going on a follow spree and following 50 people at once — that won’t serve the purpose.
You need to adopt a more targeted approach and identify the right people to network with. In other words, those who you can share a mutually beneficial relationship with. It can be peers, potential customers or clients, and even thought leaders or influencers.
Twitter’s Advanced Search feature lets you narrow your search and filter by phrases, hashtags, language, specific accounts, date and engagement.
For instance, if you’re looking to connect with people in the affiliate marketing space, you can enter phrases such as “affiliate marketing,” “affiliate links,” “affiliate marketing programs,” etc.
This will help you discover like-minded people and participate in relevant conversations. It’s also a good idea to check the ‘Who to follow’ section on profiles to find related people you can connect with.
Now that you’ve started finding (and following) potential networkers, it’s important to bring some order to the chaos.
Enter Twitter Lists.
An effective tool to focus your networking efforts, Twitter Lists helps you segment people into different lists. These lists can be public or private.
Twitter Lists lets you closely monitor and engage with people who matter. You can group people you want to collaborate with, consider to be your potential customers or even potential speakers for an upcoming event.
However, make sure you name the list appropriately — you don’t want people to wonder why they’re part of it.
What’s interesting is when you add someone to your list, they get notified. So, let’s say you create a list called ‘SaaS marketing experts’. Chances are industry experts you add to this list will check your profile out and follow you back (with a smile on their face because hey, who doesn’t like being called an ‘expert’).
You have 280 characters to communicate your message on Twitter. What’s more, with around 6,000 tweets getting tweeted every second, this platform is getting increasingly noisy.
In order to get noticed, you have to write shareable tweets as they’re more likely to attract engagement, helping you boost visibility. So, write the way you talk, encourage interaction by asking questions, and don’t be afraid to have an opinion.
Another way to grab attention is by using visuals in your tweets. Not only do they break the monotony on a text-heavy timeline but they also help you communicate more effectively.
So, complement your tweets with images, memes, GIFs, videos, and even data visualization such as graphs and charts to stand out and get shares.
If you’re using Twitter to only share information or updates about your company, product, or work, you’re doing it wrong.
Networking is a two-sided process — you must share and engage with other people’s content in order to spark conversations and build relationships. Moreover, when you help others amplify their content, chances are they’ll do the same.
What’s important is sharing content that would be relevant and useful to your audience. Do make it a point to add your thoughts (and make it meaningful) while retweeting someone else’s content.
What if you could attend a networking event without leaving your house (or even Twitter, for that matter)? That’s Twitter Chats for you.
Twitter Chats are recurring Twitter conversations that are hosted on specific topics and are generally characterized by a hashtag.
Use a tool such as Twchat to find relevant Twitter Chats, make time for it in your calendar, and participate in it. Make sure you make valuable contributions to the conversation as that’s the only way to get noticed and grow your network.
Once you’ve built a considerable following, you can also look at hosting Twitter Chats to increase brand awareness and establish authority.
While Twitter is great for networking, you must know that connections aren’t made overnight. It takes consistent effort and planning to find right people, tap into conversations, offer value, and be relevant.
So, make networking a part of your daily routine — set aside 20 to 30 minutes every day to discover people on the platform and you’re sure to start building meaningful connections in the process.
Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.