The Young Professional’s Ultimate Guide to Twitter

Twitter logoBased on the great feedback from my post on how to conquer LinkedIn in 15 minutes a day, I wanted to offer another simple but thorough social media guide. This time we’ll talk about Twitter.

Twitter is another social network I use every day and find extremely powerful. With over 200 million active users and over 400 million tweets daily, Twitter is an information juggernaut that you can’t afford to ignore as a professional in any industry. But, it can be hard to sift through all of the conversations to know who to follow, how to stay current and where to carve out your niche. To help, here are my tips, tricks and apps that will help you master Twitter like a social media pro.

First things first, SEO your profile bio

As with any social network, it’s essential that you set up your profile bio so that the right people will start connecting with you. Upload a nice headshot as your picture. Better yet, use the same one from your LinkedIn profile for personal brand consistency. For the website section, use a page that represents you well. This could be the link to your LinkedIn public profile URL or your personal website.

Your bio space maxes out at 160 characters, so be concise. Whatever you write, make sure it’s optimized for searches: utilize keywords and hashtags relevant to your industry. You can think of your bio like your LinkedIn headline, but on Twitter you can add some personal flair. Hillary Clinton’s Twitter bio won her accolades for doing this:

Hillary Clinton's Twitter bio

Follow your sources of inspiration and learning

Next, you’ll want to follow the right kinds of accounts. Start by following the people you know: friends, family and colleagues. Build out your list to include organizations: employers you admire, non-profits you support and brands you love. These are all people and groups you’ll want to interact with online.

Once you’ve established your known contacts, it’s important to add new people and organizations into your mix. You can find great Twitter accounts to follow in three simple ways:

  1. Scan through the Twitter accounts of your current follows. Who are your friends, colleagues and favorite organizations following? Their sources of inspiration and learning could be good sources for you.
  2. Search through tweetchats for your industry to see who participates in them. Tweetchats are scheduled conversations that take place on a specific day at a specific time on Twitter. People active in those chats could be great contacts on Twitter. To search for tweetchats, I like this list.
  3. Ask. Send out a tweet asking for recommendations and mention a few friends and colleagues in it so they’ll be notified about your inquiry.


As you follow someone new, make sure to add them to a Twitter List. Doing so will categorize Twitter accounts for you and help you view the tweets of specific people and organizations in separate feeds. This extra step will save you tons of time and headache in the long run – do it along the way for streamlined, categorized Twitter use in the future. Create Lists such as: career advice, favorite brands, friends & family, industry experts, and news.

Use apps to tweet and navigate Twitter like a pro

Your bio is ready and you’re following a lot of people. By now, your home feed is moving quickly with hundreds of tweets to read every day. You also need to tweet yourself, but how do you know when your followers will be online and ready to read your brilliant thoughts? Here’s where a few apps come in handy.

Manage your feed with an app like HootSuite or TweetDeck. Using these social media dashboards, you’ll have a place to keep an effective eye on the tweets of those you follow. In the dashboard, you can set up streams to view tweets for specific Twitter Lists, so now you can follow the tweets of just those in your “career advice” List or your “industry experts” List. You can also set up a stream to show tweets that contain phrases, words or hashtags, even if you are not following the accounts of those who are tweeting about it. For example, you could follow the phrase “native advertising” if you are looking to build your expertise on that topic.

To help you tweet content effectively and efficiently, apps like Buffer or Hootlet are a great bet. Say you just read a terrific article or post that you want to share (a great thing to do to build your professional clout). If you install apps like these into your browser and sync up your Twitter account, you can automatically schedule a tweet to go out to your followers at a strategic time. I also recommend adding your thoughts on the article in your tweet: people want to hear why you’re sharing it. Buffer and Hootlet will both analyze when your followers are active and schedule your tweets for those specific times.

Do what you can; relax about what you can’t

A great benefit to Twitter is that it moves quickly, so there’s much to learn. A big challenge on Twitter is that it moves quickly, so it’s easy to feel like you are missing things. To avoid losing your days online or experiencing FOMO, here’s how to experience a whole lot of Twitter in just 15 minutes a day:

  • Take 5 minutes and scan through the tweets of accounts you follow. Retweet those that you want to share and “Favorite” a few that made you think critically, you want to bookmark for another time or that entertained you. Also, respond to anyone who has tweeted to you. If the conversation might be difficult to achieve in 140 characters or less, consider taking it to email.
  • In the next 5 minutes, search for a hashtag or two that’s relevant to you, then read through the conversations generated around that topic. Retweet or Favorite some of those posts, too.
  • Save the final 5 minutes for moments in your day when you read something interesting on the web. Then tweet that post and your thoughts after you read it.

Amazing things happen on Twitter: a satellite image enthusiast connected with an employer of choice, a basketball fan tweeted his way to a dream job in the NBA and Johns Hopkins University researchers cataloged incredible information about public health. What story will you create with your tweets? Get started and tell me about it – tweet me @lindseypollak!

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