How to Build Your Personal Brand on Twitter - dummies

How to Build Your Personal Brand on Twitter

By Susan Chritton

If you plan to extend your personal branding to an online environment, consider all the people you can reach with social media sites. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging web service that allows its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as tweets.

Twitter is the great equalizer in that you can become a content expert without years of schooling and a prestigious job title. If you’re prolific enough and get enough followers who are interested in what you have to say, you can rise to the status of content expert.

Kristen Jacoway, author of the book I’m in a Job Search — Now What??? (Happy About), is a Twitter expert who advises that when you’re on Twitter, you want to make sure that you’re providing value to your target audience (your followers) by giving them links to articles, blogs, and more that offer good, useful information.

Tweeting isn’t about self-promotion (although you can use it this way from time to time). Most people agree that you want to tweet useful, helpful information 80 to 90 percent of the time. Consider why you’re on Twitter and the strategy you need to employ.

One of Jacoway’s favorite tools for collecting relevant information to tweet about is Google Alerts. A similar tool is TweetBeep. You can choose Google Alerts for once-a-day notifications as they happen or receive them once per week.

By doing so, you get all the news about a specific topic via your e-mail. You can quickly glance through the titles of the articles in your e-mail and decide which ones to click through to read. If you feel like it’s valuable information, you can share it by tweeting the link.

Most articles and blog posts give you the ability to share on Twitter or other social networks. Just click on the icon of the social network where you want to share the information, tie it with your Twitter account with a click of a button, and voilà — it’s sent.

To find blogs in your area of expertise, visit and start following blogs in your industry.

Extend your Twitter reach

Finding people to follow on Twitter is really easy to do. You can search the term Twitter Directories and you’ll come up with several options. Many people want to find Twitter users in their local area. Consider this: Companies hire 1 in 10 referrals versus 1 in 100 applicants. Effective networking online and off-line is the critical component in any endeavor!

Here are a few great ways to network using Twitter:

  • Twellow is a great place for you to list yourself in the Twitter Yellow Pages. Try to think of attributes to describe what you do to match what people will use in their own search to find people in those professions. A great advantage of Twellow is that after you’ve created your account and signed in, you can search and follow people all within the Twellow website.

    You can do a specific search like “Healthcare Recruiters” to find industry-specific recruiters. You can search a particular company and follow not only the company but also employees of that company. You can also search for people in a certain geographic region.

  • People Similar To You is a Twitter feature that offers suggestions based on the keywords listed in your profile, keywords you use in tweets, people you’re following, and other factors. To see this feature, you need to go to the Profile section of your Twitter page. The information is below your tweet/following/followers’ statistics. Additionally, at the top of your Twitter page, you’ll see a link called Who to Follow.

  • Follower Wonk provides you the ability to search Twitter bios for keywords, including location.

Follow back your followers

After you start following people and writing helpful, compelling tweets, you’ll start getting followers. How do you follow these new followers? On your Twitter home page, you’ll see the number of tweets you’ve tweeted, the number of people you’re following, the number of followers you have, and the number of lists in which you appear. As you mouse over the word Followers, it becomes hyperlinked. Click the link.

Create a Twitter list

You can add followers to lists. For example, maybe you have lists for social media experts, career experts, recruiters, and more. As you begin to follow people, look at their profiles and their tweets. Determine whether they can add value for you. If so, add them to a list. Lists make Twitter easy to navigate and make engaging in conversations easy.

[Credit: Kristen Jacoway]
Credit: Kristen Jacoway

If you don’t have a list to match a person’s expertise, simply create one. Type the name of the list, click to make it a public list (meaning that anyone can start following this list) or a private list (which may be better if you’re in a confidential job search and don’t want others to see the companies or recruiters you’re following), and click Save List.