3 simple and effective Twitter hacks

Ok, so we’ve established that Twitter can be useful for you (https://owntrepreneurship.com/2015/10/18/i-dont-get-twitter/). Great. Now what do you do?

We’ll you need to start following and you need to start twitting. That much is obvious. But with time you will understand that in order to reach a wide audience you need to tweet and tweet often, only during the relevant times of day for your target audience (see this article for the A Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/a-scientific-guide-to-pos_b_4262571.html

Using Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is very effective in schedulling your twits
Analytics

Since you don’t want to be up at strange times of the night tweeting, nor like repeating yourself several time a day, this is a great tool. You simply type the tweet and decide when it will be posted. That’s’ it. Sounds silly but the fact that you can schedule every tweet multiple times ( I tweet at least 3 extra times per tweet) provides you much greater reach.

Twitter Analytics

Use Analytics to optimize your tweeting
Use Analytics to optimize your tweeting

Twitter is enigmatic to most of us. It is unclear why certain tweets succeed (meaning the get re-tweeted and like a lot) and other don’t receive any attention. The only way to identify what’s working is to employ some analytical tools. Luckily, there is a great, free tool for everyone to us. Called Twitter analytics ( www.analytics.twitter.com). It allows you to see which tweets gained the most traction, some demographic information about your audience.

The trick? Check yesterday’s tweets, see which were the most successful, and re-tweet them again.

This is a great tool practice to fine-tuning your publishing and hash-tagging skills.

Use Hashtags (#) and Mentions @ while twitting

Yep, this is the official Twitter lingo, and you need to use it to make your tweets reach a wider audience (for a complete and helpful Twitter glossary https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337)

According to Twitter, The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages (https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309)

If its’ hashtagged, than it is easily searchable and will reach a larger audience, which is not comprised only of your followers but also from every Twitter user who’s search for this hashtag. The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets. By including a mention of a specific @username in Tweets, you will make sure the person mentioned receives a notification of your tweet. Basically, the more you engage people (like/ favorite their tweets, mention them, retweet their messages, reply to their messages) you increase the likelihood of them interacting back with you- following you, retweeting your twits and like your tweets- all of which increase your influence.

Just like any other social network, Twitter is a numbers game. The more followers you have, the greater reach you have and more people will notice and follow you. Unlike other platforms in Twitter you need to be very proactive to increase and maintain your followership. So use these 3 hacks to do so and start reaping the rewards of this peculiar yet entertaining platform. Oh, please don’t forget to Twit this to the world…

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When is it OK to utilize your network?

When is it OK to utilize your network?

Reach out to your connections when in need, but do it right
Reach out to your connections when in need, but do it right

So, if you’ve been reading my latest posts about networking (https://owntrepreneurship.com/2015/07/27/the-advantages-of-being-accessible/

And https://owntrepreneurship.com/2015/07/17/you-are-the-sum-of-your-connections/)

Then surely you realize it is important and very much possible to cultivate a large network of connections.

But when and how can one utilize this awesome network of followers?

First let’s dwell on why I refer to the action of asking something from your network as “utilizing”? well, I consider my network one of my greatest resources, and I utilize it regularly- as a reader base, to ask specific questions and even the odd “ can you help me get a job at your firm” request.

So now that we’ve established this is a resource, one must wonder how not to abuse or over use it- or, simply put- one must ass when and how I can utilize this awesome network of followers?

Well, like everything else in life – the answer is “it depends”. It depends on your need, urgency and level of intimacy with the person you wish to engage.

The need- simply put, is the person qualified to help you with what you need to do? If she is 100% relevant to what you want to achieve (for instance, is in charge of recruiting in a firm you want approach) than it’s ok to approach her and simply ask what it is you want her to do (introduce you to someone, sample your product, provide feedback on your website etc.).

Urgency- this is easy to grasp- sometime speed is of the essence- like when a new job opening is posted on a company website and you happen to know someone from the inside who can make sure your friend’s CV is one of the first to make it to the recruiter’s desk. Or when you really need to reach out to someone now. Most people appreciate that “desperate times” call for desperate means and if you will explain why the request is urgent they are likely to accept even if otherwise they would have rejected the request.

Intimacy- in today’s world of loosely related networks (also known as “weak connections” we cannot expect the same level of intimacy as before. And yet, there is a wide spectrum of degrees of closeness. Starting from the obvious- Family and close friends are pretty much open to help request anytime. Weaker connections and ones which are purely virtual- people you’ve never met, spoken to or even emailed, but are connected to on Social media ) are less likely to assist, given that they don’t actually know you.

Given that you’ve considered these factors and decided to move ahead and utilize the connection, please bear the following principles in mind:

  1. Be polite: You are making a move here, so the reasonability is on you. Be polite, use proper grammar and respect the other side (don’t “Bro” anyone you are not actually bros with). It will go a long way in helping the other side to decide to assist you.
  1. Be specific: Tell them why you approached them, why now and what it is you expect them to do. The worse case scenario is someone telling you it’s out of their reach, but more positive outcomes could be that people who wants to help but can’t/ not capable of, will often direct you (or even approach on you behalf) another individual who could be of help.
  1. Don’t erode your currency- Don’t ask multiple times the same request, don’t bug people if you don’t get an answer. Being “connected” to someone does not mean you have the right to annoy and spam. And respect the “No”- if someone refuses to help accept it and move on. Fighting such a person will seriously erode your credibility for the next time you have a need for assistance.
  2. Be willing to give back- reciprocation, even if not specifically mentioned, is to be expected. If you are not comfortable with someone asking you to reciprocate with an introduction to a guy in your firm, don’t ask them a similar thing in the first place.

Conclusion

It was said that in ancient China, if you managed to get some face time you could have asked for anything, it would have been given to you. This made sense because such a tiny percentage of the population ever had a chance of actually meeting their ruler, so if one had the resources and means to achieve this it was usually important enough so the emperor would abide by the request. Today you don’t have to wait a lifetime to ask anyone (even famous and powerful people) anything. And yet, it might be sensible to think of the story of the emperor and save the requests for important stuff. Building a large network of connection is easier than ever before, but that does not mean we need to abuse this powerful resource.

You are the sum of your connections

The power of connections
The power of connections

We tend to measure the progress in our careers by looking at tangible things- how much we earn, how many people we manage, how important is our title. These are all metrics that measures ourselves. But few of us ever consider that we might not be the most important elements in our own success, but others that we are connected to. I would even dare say that who you know is sometimes more important than how you are. The concept of “connectors” was illustrated to great effect in Malcolm Gladwell’s “The tipping point”.  Gladwell claims that social epidemics (that was back in 2006. Today he would have used the phrase “viral”) are dependent on the involvement of three types of social agents: Maven, Connector, or Salesperson. Mavens and salesperson are easily identified and defined- just think about that guy who knows everything about gadgets and the guy always trying to persuade you to dine at this new restaurant. But Connectors are more difficult to fathom. Gladwell defines them as:” the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who “link us up with the world…people with a special gift for bringing the world together” (if you haven’t already read it, I recommend you do so now: http://gladwell.com/the-tipping-point/).

And since we all have about the same capacity for close connections (we can maintain close-ish relations with about 150 people at a time, according to Dunbar’s law), what sets true connectors apart is their ability to establish and maintain a much wider network of secondary (or “weak”) connections. The importance of these weaker connections was first identified in the 1960s, a Doctor Mark Granovetter who conducted a study to determine the role that friendships play in helping individuals find employment. Granovetter discovered that in the process of landing a job, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friendships because weak ties give us access to social networks where we otherwise don’t belong. And while we expect sales-oriented people to be good at this, and them alone, the truth is that having access to multiple social circles is crucial for anyone who’s ever going to migrate between geographies, change her line of work or care about a non-work related cause. And since this maybe true for only a fraction of the population now, it will surely be a decisive edge in the future, where expert foresee no job stability and diverse employment models being the norm.

So the next time you submit a job application, remember that in addition to your resume, the people reading your CV also look at who you know and how many you know. This network of connection could be your decisive edge (in future posts I will explore further how to establish and maintain such large networks of connections).