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How IT Pros Can Make the Most of Twitter

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

If you know how to use it properly, Twitter can be a helpful resource and a career building tool.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockNavigating the Twitter landscape can be a difficult task. It's become a veritable trove of information with loads of potential for both sharing and finding content. But, are you doing it right? For IT professionals, making the most out of Twitter is different than for pros in other spaces. It can be a helpful resource, but also a career building tool. Check out the best ways IT professionals can get the most out of Twitter.

Re-think Your Approach

Rather than thinking of Twitter as a social media platform, consider it micro-blogging. Kent C. Dodds, a JavaScript engineer at PayPal and open-source advocate, suggests focusing entirely on sharing quality content. "It's mostly just producing really great content that people want more of, and the way that they get more is through Twitter." The content itself can vary from podcasts to blog posts, or even just a standard 140-character Tweet.

MORE: Best Twitter Handles to Follow for IT Pros

Pick an App

There's no shortage of Twitter clients for Android and iOS. Some top contenders to check out include Hootsuite, Tweetbot, Buffer, Fenix, Plume, as well as the native Twitter client.

While many third-party options have paid tiers, tools like Buffer and Hootsuite operate on the freemium model. Buffer has a better UI whereas Hootsuite boasts beefier analytics. BTW, you can enable Twitter analytics at analytics.twitter.com. This allows you to identify what type of engagement you're getting (retweets or likes), who your followers also follow, where your followers are mostly located, and what they are most interested in, among other things.

After you pick an app, you'll want to enable two-factor authentication. Keep the native Twitter app even if you're using a third-party app for management as it makes two-step authentication simple. Yet two-factor auth isn't always convenient. Dodds recalls trying to send an email, but he couldn't log into his email because he didn't have a phone. Still, many services require two-factor authentication including some GitHub organizations. Thus, it's recommended as the standard for IT professionals.

Interacting

You have a few options when someone interacts with you on Twitter:

  • Reply
  • Do nothing
  • Favorite
  • Retweet
  • Follow

You do not have to respond every time. After all, sometimes it will be a bot looking to engage unsuspecting souls. And sometimes a lack of reply is the best option.

When you're just getting started, it's important to grow a following by interacting with experts. As your social media presence blossoms, management is essential. You need not follow everyone who follows you for similar reasons.

Browsing the Twitter feed of experts you know and follow is a great way of discovering new experts and news sources. See who they are regularly engaging with. You can use lists for organization either within the native Twitter clients or using third-party apps.

Diversify while sticking to your space. Follow topically relevant accounts, but actively seek out sources of differing opinion. "The bubble I'm worried about being trapped in is the way I think about programming," Dodds explained. "I don't want to be trapped in a situation where I think that React is the greatest thing in the world for years after Angular 3 becomes the biggest thing ever."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Twitter recently made it even easier to offer technical support to businesses. You can now request and share locations with people via DM. You can also set pre-written welcome messages for new followers of a business. Or can set up a handful of pre-written quick replies to inquiries. This could even be set to automatically say "Have you turned it off and turned it back on again?" 

You Are a Brand

And a strong brand can do wonders for your career. To start out strong, try opting for your name or something like it as a handle. If possible, use that across all or most of your accounts: Twitter, GitHub, LinkedIn, etc. It's much easier for people to find you.

On a related note, have an avatar that's a clear picture of you. Being recognizable and memorable contributes to a personal brand, and thus makes it easier to network and find employment. Similarly, don't be afraid of a little self-promotion. As long as you are bringing quality content to your audience, it's a great way to contribute to your personal brand.

5 More Stats

  • Tweets with images get 150 percent more retweets, 89 percent more favorites, 18 percent more clicks.
  • Tweets with videos get 28 percent more retweets
  • Adding a hashtag makes your tweet 55 percent more likely to be retweeted
  • Limiting a tweet to 71 to 100 characters gets more retweets.
  • Posting between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday will get you the most exposure

Bottom Line

Slogging through the Twittersphere can be intimidating. The most important factor is that you're sharing quality content that brings value to your followers. There are loads of add-ons: from third-party apps to two-factor authentication and analytics, but the core still revolves around what you share and how you approach Twitter. Once you restructure your worldview to see Twitter as a micro-blogging platform, the rest will come easy.

What strategies and best practices are you using to make the most out of Twitter?

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