How To Use Twitter to Network Without Looking Stupid

Twitter3Do you know how to use Twitter? I mean…do you really know how to use it to connect with people and network, and not just to simply tweet whatever pops into your head?

Twitter is a whole different ball game to what it was a few years ago. Practically every business is tweeting and interacting on this social media platform every single day. They even have people in their company – or hire freelancers – to do nothing else but manage their social media image.

I confess…I used to be a BAD tweeter.

As a new entrepreneur working from home, I was lost and didn’t know what I was doing. I’d tweet about the sun shining, the rain, what I had for lunch, or how irritated I was. If that wasn’t bad enough – using Twitter as my personal diary that is, I’d go on and on about how great my gift business was. I’m pretty sure I lost followers with lightning speed following this because after a while it felt as though all I was doing was talking to myself.

Fast forward a few years and thankfully I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I also took part in a social media conference call with fellow entrepreneurs and got some good, constructive criticism. As a full-time freelance writer, Twitter is my new best friend in terms of social media.

Before we head on to those tips, let me be clear about something first…

Twitter1I don’t have 100 000 followers on Twitter, nor do I proclaim to be a social media expert (as SO many people do these days…really, there is a lot more to it than just posting updates here and there). I do however – get new followers almost daily, have conversations with people – sometimes famous ones!, have my fair share of tweets retweeted, get job leads now and then, and find ways to progress in my line of business simply from catching an interesting tweet with a link here and there.

Now I’m going to share my top tips which I’ve found work for me, or that I know have worked for others.

How To Use Twitter Like a Pro

1. Have a catchy bio. Sometimes, people will follow you based on your Twitter bio alone. No one wants to follow someone who is boring, so get creative writing up a few words on what you’re all about. While you’re at it, get an eye-catching background image and a clear profile image to go with your bio.

2. Don’t get trigger happy following people in the hopes that they will follow you back. Most of them won’t, and anyway – wouldn’t you rather be connected to people who you actually enjoyed interacting with or respect – and vice versa?

3. Preschedule posts! Who has the time to sit at the computer all day long and post tweets? I certainly don’t. That’s why I use Tweetdeck. It has a feature which allows you to preschedule your posts hours, days, months, even years ahead! It’s a brilliant time saver.

4. Mix it up. People are attracted to positive people. I’ve found that by posting inspiring quotes, I get quite a bit of interaction. But don’t just post quotes – that’s boring (not to mention annoying). Post interesting links you’ve found on the web, links to your blog or business website, a few personal tweets (nothing too personal and try not to get too negative…this has a way of turning people off and unfollowing you).

5. Find people who you WANT to connect with. I use a great website called to do this. Here you can search and find people in your area, or who have similar interests to you, or who are in your line of work. Writers, chefs, famous celebrities, etc. You can even narrow down your search to find people in a specific age gap or gender.

6. Be careful about what you say. With technology as it is today, people can be quite malicious if they want to be. That nasty tweet you posted a few years ago about a certain business that you’re now working for or a brand that you’re representing could suddenly pop up again. Don’t get involved in online arguments either. If someone tries to provoke you, just ignore them or keep it short and professional.

7. Talk to people! I can’t get over the number of people who use Twitter simply to promote their business. That’s talking AT people. There’s a difference. In order to sell your product or services, you need to interact with people. Ask them how they are, say good morning, be interested in what THEY do. You’ll find that people will be a lot more interested in you by doing this.

8. Mind your manners. Say thank you if someone retweets one of your tweets, say hi to a new follower now and then, reply to someone if they ask you a question or make a comment directed to you. And please, send direct messages to someone if you’re having a slightly longer – or more personal – conversation instead of flooding your twitter feed with it.

9. Create a good tweet. A good tweet catches the attention of others. It is usually interesting, funny, or thought provoking, and contains a link (I use this link shortner – so easy!), an image, and/or hashtags. Hashtags can be abused quickly. They’re #these words. The reason for using them in networking is so that other people can pick up your tweets who you aren’t connected with. For example, if I tweet, “I just entered a super #cooking #competition in Cape Town via The Sun Hotel. I hope I win! Check out their link ->”, then people who search for the words “cooking” or “competition” will be able to see my tweet – even though we’re not following each other.

10. Clean up your account regularly. I get annoyed when people or companies follow me for the sole purpose of having me follow them back, and then once they’ve accomplished this – they unfollow me. It’s also good to spot check who you’re not interacting with at all. I use this application to do this every so often.

When you start thinking about how to use Twitter to benefit your business or your public profile, it’s a good idea to think of it as a portfolio of who you are. It’s one of the places new employees or potential clients visit to see if they want to hire, or do business with you.

Final tips: Keep it light, interesting, have fun and enjoy using Twitter, and interact with people who you enjoy talking to.