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Why You Should Be Using Twitter and How to Get Started

27 May 2014 8:16 PM | Deleted user
Take it from me, I know that you hear a lot of overblown hype about social media and hypothetical futures revolving around social media that never take a hold.  And I know that if you are a working professional, you are probably on LinkedIn, and maybe on facebook, and maybe one or two other platforms, and you also may feel that that is quite enough as it is.  So you may be wary of a social media nut like me telling you that you need yet another profile.  But stick with me as I explain the required effort is minimal and the benefits are great.  

Job search

When looking for a new job, there are many different approaches and tactics. Many tactics are important no matter what your overarching job search strategy is, like getting your LinkedIn profile updated and looking good and sharpening your resume.  But Twitter provides a unique way to identify potential jobs which is one of the most tedious aspects of job search.  Job boards are limited to the specific companies, recruiters and managers that use them.  Thus, to see every job, one would have to be on every job board.  Twitter, on the other hand, can be used as a universal search tool to see postings that you might not see in the job boards that you use.  So I'm not advocating to use Twitter as your only job search tool, or even your primary one, but in conjunction with traditional job boards.  There are certain Twitter users that are dedicated to propagating job postings in a specific field, like supply chain management.  When you find such an accounts that fit your specific field and/or locale, follow them so that their posts will show up on your home feed.  Then you can scan your home feed when you have a moment and get immediate results.  Here's how to get started: once you have created your account, use the Twitter search bar and type this in to see supply chain jobs: 

     #supplychain #job


Note that this brings up different results than using Google to search for the same term; the search algorithms are very different.  The results on Twitter will point you to a multitude of job postings and accounts that you may want to follow.  You can also try variations of this, like for #operationsmanagement or for #logistics.  Depending on if you are casually looking for jobs or are more seriously in need of a new job, you may want to consider setting up an account with a social media manager like Hootsuite.  With Hootsuite and similar social media managers, you can set up streams that contain the searches that you find work best for you.  That way you can scan multiple feeds very quickly.  

News

There are many places to get news, but I find that Twitter is a great way to get the stories I'm most interested in.  And unlike subscribing to a specific website or daily email, Twitter news stories show up as they are posted and each post could be from a different source in rapid succession.  Much like using the search function for job search, you can also use specific searches to get news about specific topics of interest.  When you find accounts that seem to have a lot of valuable posts, you can then follow them.  


Deals and Opportunities
There are certain deals and opportunities that are only offered on social media platforms, so you have to be watchful of the companies, organizations, celebrities and brands that you admire or strive to interact with.  For example, I had the chance to go behind-the-scenes for a SpaceX rocket launch with NASA last year, primarily because I saw a NASA post about on Twitter and applied; I was selected because I am engaged on social media and have my own blog, but I would have never even known of that opportunity had I not been following NASA and reading posts on Twitter that fateful day.  So many of the people I met are now great contacts to follow on facebook and Twitter, and keep me updated in the world of space travel, which I was barely an observer of before that trip.  It was an amazing opportunity, and it is only open to people who tweet.  

Getting Help

There are people, especially celebrities or experts in very niche fields of interest, who cannot be reached easily by phone or email.  But they can be found tweeting, and will respond to tweets they are mentioned in.  Maybe not every tweet, but tweets they find worthy.  I was trying to help a startup launch in the arena of medical marijuana vapors, and in brainstorming marketing campaign ideas, someone mentioned how it would just be fantastic if Cheech and Chong would promote it.  One tweet from them would make a world of difference for this startup!  So I took a chance, and wrote a tweet briefly explaining what we were doing, and mentioned their Twitter handle.  They didn't respond right away, but one day I checked my alerts and found that they were FOLLOWING me!  They don't follow many people, so for them to follow me was a huge achievement, and I knew I'd be able to use that to my advantage when the time was right.  But you don't always have to target a specific person; you can also ask for help on a specific brand of product or general questions.  People who are searching for that topic will see your tweet and lend you their 140-characters of advice.  I've gotten advice on how to get good sound while shooting basic video on a standard digital camera, what mics are the best to use, what software to edit it with, etc.  I also had one person refer me to someone else who would actually meet up with me and show me how to use the laser cutter at a public workspace, all arranged through Twitter.

Seeing What Others Don't

Twitter isn't just about blasting today's news over and over again; it's also very personal.  People tweet about what they're up to, and if those people happen to be doing interesting things, then you get to be a part of that journey.  I like to follow the astronauts at the International Space Station; some of them post pictures of the supply rockets as the approach, with a part of Earth in the background, or the sun setting over an exotic part of the world and the light catches it just so, or selfies of them inside the return vehicle as they prepare for their descent back to Earth.  You just don't see that stuff on the front page of Yahoo! or your favorite news journal, and every day, sometimes every hour, is something new!  


Getting Recognized

When I went to Disneyland for the first time since I was a little girl, I couldn't help but tweet about it.  And Disneyland tweeted back!  Who doesn't want to be personally welcomed by such a big, public entity?  It was a simple, warm greeting, but it added to the magic of being there for the first time as an adult, and it kind of made me feel like a kid again.  Companies are trying to engage their customers all the time, both to fix what has gone wrong and to celebrate a happy customer.  It's a great way to get problems fixed, or at least acknowledged, which is what a lot of us want when something goes wrong.  It's also fun when a company thanks you or gives you kudos for something you said or achieved.  

Learning to be Concise

I take this one to heart, my friends!  I have known for a very long time that I am a wordy writer.  And for that reason, I resisted Twitter for a long time.  But there really truly is an art to being concise - by limiting us to 140 characters, a new language has evolved which is more efficient and less clunky than ever before.  In fact, I recommend using less than the 140 characters, because I want my people to RT my posts, or re-tweet in long hand, and they need so many characters to give me credit or they will have to cut something out.  There is a time and place for articles, and there is a time and place for headlines, quick thoughts, shout outs, and short blurbs.  Having to post on Twitter regularly means honing the ability to get to the point, be exciting, and entice readers to click.  That is truly a greater art than writing a novel, in my opinion.  

Find Out What's Going on Right Now at This Event

When people post updates about a specific event as its happening, that is known as Live Tweeting.  If you're attending, say, the APICS 2014 International Conference, or some other large event with like-minded people, there are bound to be live tweeters.  By following an event's hashtag, those live tweeters become secondary eyes and ears to point you to the most interesting presentations, tours, quotes, speakers, etc. 


Let's Get Started

Hopefully by now I have convinced you that it is worthwhile to (a) create (yet another) account, (b) invest time in researching and using Twitter as a tool, and (c) commit to using it regularly to enhance your job search, news awareness, know-how, or personal experience.  I never want to leave anyone hanging with a compelling reason to do something but no first steps.  Here's my recommendation to get started:

(1) Go to Twitter.com and create a user name that is meaningful to you.  This is called your Twitter "handle".  
(2) Folllow the steps Twitter mandates of you (yes, they too want your experience to be of value, so they kind of force feed you into certain steps).
(3) When you've completed the Twitter mandated steps, look for some or all of these Twitter handles and follow them if you like them: 
     @BusinessInsider
     @guykawasaki
     @APICSPhoenix
     @Phoenixtoday
     @CNN
     @Cmdr_Hadfield
     @Inc
     @Cerasis
     @FastCompany
(4) Add a profile picture - it doesn't have to be super professional, but don't make it too lame either.  Just something that says, this is me, I'm on Twitter now.  
(5) Write your first tweet.  It can be your favorite quote (if its not too long), or a picture of something interesting you saw last week, or a link to an interesting article or video that you want to share - the important thing is to add your own spin on it.  
(6) Post something new every day for about a week or two.  When you see something you like in your Home Feed, retweet it or quote it and add what you like about it.  Reply to others' tweets when you have something to add to the conversation.  
(7) Search for topics of interest, and see who is posting valuable content on those topics.  Follow those people / accounts.  Remember to use hashtags (#) for key words.
(8) If you have a SmartPhone, download the Twitter app and sign in to it.  Use that when you're in line at a store or restaurant, or at the doctor's office waiting to be called, etc.  Whenever you have a minute, you can scan your home feed and post at will.  
(9) Reply to at least one celebrity's post, even if its a "Wow, that's awesome!" or "Thanks for posting!" or "Congrats!"
(10) Tweet about a company or brand that you like, tell the world why they are great.
(11) Tweet to me if you'd like, @APICSPhoenix or @Lowa84, and ask me how you're doing.  

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