Arguably, the greatest benefit derived from the new Twitter List feature is that it serves to validate contributors on Twitter (and in turn, filter out spammers).
The Direct Message (DM) Feature has been hacked by the latest quiz thingy, but once you get past the dark side, Twitter can be a great career resource. To quote Attorney Brent Britton, “LinkedIn is your resume. Twitter is your personality.”
Anyone who uses Twitter is unfortunately inundated with Twitter Followers who we suspect are nothing more than MLM (Multi Level Marketing) Teeth Whitening Donald Trump Networkers. And that’s not counting the disgusting amount of smut. Spam filters have effectively cleaned up our email inboxes, but a new home has been found for these “TwitStars”. Perhaps another reason 60% of Twitter users quit after one month?
Twitter is the ultimate example of social media reciprocity. You follow me. I follow you (exceptions noted above). Your re-tweet me. I look for an opportunity to re-tweet you.
One quickly discovers that the number of followers someone has doesn’t measure the person’s value or degree of influence. We’ve all seen Twitter accounts with 32,763 following and 30,873 followers.
Welcome Twitter Lists.
Every Twitter account has the number of times they are “Listed” by other people. The lists are user created so the lists may be for anything (e.g. social media experts, career resources, uva alumni), but when I see someone with 30,873 followers and 11 listed… uh, no thanks. You are “followed” by 30,873 users, but only 11 would add you to one of their lists. Hmm…
Twitter’s new feature has let the people filter out the noise.
So the question is… Do we hire the person on the most Twitter lists?
Taken in isolation, the answer is obviously no. But if I am looking to hire a social media consultant to help my business (actually I am), and Twitter is a part of his social media services proposal, will I will check the number of times the person is “Listed”? The answer is an absolute yes.
Will there be a time in the near future when all employers compare Twitter List counts for candidates?
So if you are using Twitter to promote your professional credibility, how do you get on more Twitter lists?
Here are seven simple suggestions:
1. Contribute unique content for your field. Ideally, set up your own blog to express your own opinions and research.
2. Share articles written by other professionals. This is a great starting point if you are not ready to blog yourself, but you should continue to share other people’s opinions and research on a regular basis.
3. Follow other professionals on Twitter. This is a logical way to “become known”. Your best source for the right people to follow in your industry (read: non spammer) is to follow people on other people’s lists and to follow who they follow (because one would assume they have already filtered out the spam).
4. Create your own lists of professionals on Twitter in your field and retweet their contributions. Remember the Twitter principle of reciprocity!
5. Start a discussion thread within one of your LinkedIn Groups to promote Twitter accounts of group members. This works really well. The best example I have seen of this approach is the Project Network which was started in LinkedIn.
6. Create a Twitter profile that diversifies your interests. Someone else may add you to their Twitter list for local professionals, alumni group, or your charity work. You never know what you may have in common.
7. Publicly thank people who re-tweet your contributions (don’t use Direct Messages – thank them in your twitter feed). People on Twitter who extend gratitude regularly and publicly, I always look for more of their content to re-tweet. People who do not take the time to thank me or other people who share their content, I take it personally to be honest (engaging with customers directly is the very purpose of social media). I simply stop sharing their contributions on Twitter.
On a side note, it is amazing the number of authors (we’re not talking best selling authors with 60K followers here) who do not take 10 seconds to extend a simple thanks to customers who publicly and positively acknowledge their work on Twitter.
When that has happened to me as a customer, not only do I shop sharing their contributions on Twitter, I stop recommending their work outside of Twitter. It’s not that I start saying negative things (that would be inappropriate). I simply stop saying anything at all.
For the authors who do respond with a simple note, I go out of my way to continue to recommend their work outside of Twitter. I don’t think the other authors know how much business they are losing via word of mouth (or lack there of).
Sound unreasonable? When customers extend positive feedback to me about my company’s product, would I expect them to continue to spread positive word of mouth if I ignored them? Of course not.
Don’t forget with social media, everything is personal.
If you don’t want to engage with your colleagues and clients publicly and directly, stop using Twitter!
It will likely do you more harm than good.
I look forward to your feedback.
Brent Peterson, PMP, MS, MBA, is the founder of Interview Angel Inc, a company that offers a comprehensive guide and toolkit to executing near flawless job interviews.
Recently, Brent also organized the Get Hired! Virginia speed networking event in Doswell, VA to raise money for the Dress for Success charity and to connect professionals in his home state. One of his company’s goals is to share this same networking concept in other states across the country.