Twitter can be a tremendous tool to build your personal brand.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of opportunities on Twitter, for businesses and individuals – but where do you start?

Twitter Guide Step 1: Sign up

Start with visiting Twitter.com and fill out the information under “New to Twitter? Sign Up”. You’ll enter your full name (yes – your real name), email, and make a password.

Pick a username

15 characters or less. Use your real name or business name so that it’s easier for search engines to find you. Your name is your brand – it’s best to not distract from your messaging with something silly.

Add a photo

A  jpg, gif, or png file that’s 700kb or less. Statistics show that photos of people are perceived as more genuine and those accounts are more likely followed. Accounts with photos are 10x more likely to generate followers.

Add a bio

Let others know who you are – and that you’re not a robot. Enter your location, a website (if you have one), and a quick bio under 160 characters. Try starting with your job title or professional area (Brand Manager or Higher Ed Pro) and add how you can help others by identifying your niche(s). Remember to keep it short and simple, you only have 160 characters. Accounts with a bio are 8x more likely to generate followers.

Twitter Guide Step 2: Follow Others

The point of all social media is to engage and interact with others – not just talk out into space. You can follow someone by clicking on a user’s name and then selecting the “Follow” button on their account.

Who to Follow

Some people are a little nervous on who to follow or not follow based on the basics of personal branding. Try starting with your friends, business colleagues, and people you admire. Also look at accounts your mentors or friends follow for ideas. Start off following a couple hundred people and slowly grow from there.

  • FOLLOW BACK: A good rule-of-thumb is to follow others that are following you. Look at your new follower’s latest tweets, how often they tweet, and the type of content they’re promoting. If they’re never on Twitter and their posts are mostly from where they checked-in on Foursquare… it’s a good indicator that they’re not really engaged on this platform.

Twitter Guide Step 3: Connect & Engage

Never post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t post to a highway billboard. If you wouldn’t want your future boss or grandmother to see the content – it’s best to leave it off the web.

The whole point of Twitter is to collaborate with others! Share articles that you enjoy, comment on other’s posts (@ reply), share posts (this is called retweeting or RT’ing), and give advice with things that are associated with your niche.

  • Under 80 Characters
    Keep it simple. Twitter permits up to 140 characters, but people cannot comment or RT your content if there’s no room. Plus, posts under 80 characters are 66% more likely to be shared and engaged with.
  • RT – Retweet
    A “Retweet” (seen on Twitter as RT) is a way to share posts from others. The more you retweet other’s posts, the more likely that people will spread your messages too. This is a great way to engage with others and discover new and exciting things!
  • Personal Content
    Brands (personal and corporate) are most powerful when they’re honest and people can relate to them. People don’t want to connect with a sterile company or robot – they’re interested in interacting with real people. Yes, share your professional content – but feel free to let a little of your personality through. Just remember to not post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t post to a highway billboard. If you wouldn’t want your future boss or grandmother to see the content – it’s best to leave it off the web.
  • Change it up
    Talking with a friend that only talks about one thing is boring – the same is for online engagement. Share and comment on provocative/newsworthy content that will keep the conversation fresh.
  • Don’t sell stuff
    People will go to Google or your website if they want to buy something. This is just annoying. 
  • #Hashtags#
    Hashtags are a way to organize and find topics. They are also great to find communities of people that will have similar interests. Research industries to see what popular hashtags are being used for associated content. Hashtags are also used for conferences and large events – and are great ways to see all of the information shared at these events.
    Twitter Moments is the best place to find trending hashtags and topics. It is the best source because of the legitimacy of the data and it also offers "tailored trends" to each use based on where you are and who you follow. 

Need more help?

Make an appointment with the UVA Career Center to learn more about opportunities in personal branding and networking online.