6 Moves That Can Make (or Break) Your Career on Twitter

3/20/2018
Hal Conick
Key Takeaways

​What? Twitter has ​more potential to mess up your career than ever. How can marketing professionals avoid this?

So what? Posting the wrong thing may not seem like a bad idea in the moment, but it could be career poison down the line if seen the wrong way by a company executive or HR representative.

Now what? Avoid not thinking before sending a tweet, but also be proactive in reaching out to possible mentors within your reach. Be calculated but spontaneous. Twitter is about finding the mix that works well for you. ​ ​​​​​​

Think before you post, focus on your passion, always be learning, and more great advice from Twitter pros​

Twitter is a minefield of insults, gallows humor and political arguments, but it’s also a gold mine for marketers looking to connect with some of the world’s brightest minds. As easy as it may seem for marketers to say the wrong thing and offend thousands of people simultaneously, it’s as easy—if not easier—to say the right thing and gain access to the best of Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users.

Marketing News spoke with three social media professionals who weighed in on what career marketers should do and what they should avoid on the quick-fire social media platform. 

3 Things to Avoid

Posting Without Thinking

Think before you hit send, says Kathi Kruse​, owner of social media and digital marketing agency Kruse Control. Many people—even those who list their job in their Twitter bio—simply don’t think before, during or after they tweet. Many users post gross images, inappropriate videos and offensive thoughts on Twitter, she says, all of which can be gravely damaging to a marketing career.

“I’m not saying people shouldn’t have their personal opinions about things politically or otherwise, but what you say and do online speaks for you,” she says. “A lot of people don’t realize that because it’s just the click of a button. But the reality is, you can see [the Twitter post] for the rest of your life.”

Twitter posts can bubble up at the worst possible moment—many are archived by the Library of Congress—and take a marketer from candidate for a new job to the rejection pile. “Tread lightly,” Kruse says.

Only Talking About Yourself​

Twitter is like a cocktail party—most people hate listening to people who only talk about themselves. 

Janet Fouts, a social media strategist and CEO of Tatu Digital Media, says using Twitter solely for self-aggrandizement is one of the biggest mistakes professionals can make. Instead, marketers should join other conversations and share other people’s posts, especially those who are valuable for their marketing network. 

“Respecting the intelligence of other people and sharing their information aligns marketers with the people they respect,” Fouts says. “When they do that, they can really raise their status by associating with people who are super smart.”

Speaking as an Authority If You Aren’t an Authority

Don’t be a know-it-all, says Lissa Duty​, social media coach and co-founder of Rocks Digital. If a marketing professional, perhaps feeling intimidated by the experience of other marketers, speaks like an authority on Twitter when he’s more of a dilettante, other marketers will see through his pretentiousness, Duty says. Wanting to be an influencer is a great goal, but influence can’t be forced, she says. Be open to learning new information before bestowing it. 

3 Things to DO

Focus on Your Passion

It may be cliché, but marketing professionals should post about their passions to establish themselves as  thought leaders in areas they truly care about, Kruse says.

“Let that guide you for how you want to be seen, and establish yourself as an expert or a thought leader,” she says. “Volunteer to write content around it, certainly, but also volunteer to speak at [events] or contribute to blogs of companies that you admire.”

A lot of smart companies will try to poach these Twitter thought leaders, Kruse says, because their presence makes the company look like a marketing thought leader, too. 

Strive to Learn

Amid the insults, arguments and cat posts are a lot of posts by brilliant people. The smartest marketing professionals on Twitter learn from them, Fouts says.

Marketing professionals should think of Twitter as a place of professional development, a place they can learn from leaders in their field. Marketing professionals can also help others learn by reading and sharing these insights, which will likely help their own brand.

Reach Out Within Your Range

Marketers should focus on connecting with influencers who are within reach, Duty says. For example, Twitter users with 500,000 followers may not respond, as their notifications are likely crowded. However, someone with 50,000 followers may respond, which can have immense value.

“[They can be] someone to look up to, ask questions of and follow,” Duty says. “Someday, they can develop the relationship, and they too will be an influencer. That’s how [marketers can] grow their reach on Twitter.”

Duty used this method to increase her Twitter following. Her @LissaDuty account has 30,700 followers, but those followers didn’t appear overnight. Duty identified three influencers who had a big reach on Twitter and developed a rapport with them on the platform. When their influencer status grew, Duty’s did, too. 


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.

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