February 2017, Vol. 2

8 tips for getting started on Twitter

By Zach DiSchiano

If you’re an HR administrator in a public school district, you’ve probably heard about the many benefits of creating and actively using a Twitter account. Considering the opportunities to show off your district’s culture, the ability to network and recruit, and keep up with the latest news, Twitter provides numerous benefits for someone in an HR role.

Still, many administrators haven’t got around to actually setting up an account. Some are just too busy and others need a little assistance in venturing through the process. If you’re a member of the latter group and need some help with the basics, I’ve got you covered with our eight tips for getting started on Twitter:

1. Don’t be an egg

Make sure you have a profile picture available for the public to see. It’s best to use a picture of yourself so people have an idea of who they’re actually following, but it’s also OK to use pictures of you with family members or other things you care about.

2. Fill out your bio

Tell the world about yourself in a couple of sentences. Most people include who they work for and something they’re passionate about. You also can write something funny, if you feel inclined. This is the first thing people will see when they click your page and are deciding whether to follow you, so put some effort into it. Additionally, you can display the city you live in, your website if you have one, and your birthday (Twitter omits the year of birth by default). The more you have in your bio, the better.

3. Personal or professional?

Decide whether you want this account to serve as a personal account or a professional one. The difference between the two is that personal accounts are about you as an individual and expressing your hobbies and passions that may or may not have anything to do with your job. Professional accounts should be used for networking and promoting discussion about your field. I recommend having one of each.

4. Original tweets > Retweets

People don’t follow you to see what other people are tweeting that you find interesting. They clicked the “follow” button on your page to see what you have to say. Your timeline should have more original tweets than retweets. If all you’re doing is retweeting what other people write, your followers won’t see the use in following you.

5. Photos and videos

The more photos and videos you include in your tweets, the more people are going to interact with you. People love visual media and it’s important to capitalize on that. One of the best tricks I use to engage users on Twitter is to post a relevant photo and tag 10 accounts in the photo. This sends a notification directly to that person’s phone the second you tweet your content, and from there, they basically have to open and view it. It doesn’t guarantee they’ll retweet it or reply to you, but it does at least ensure they view your post and become aware of what’s going on in your district.

6. Mind your audience

Twitter has a variety of analytics at your disposal that allow you to learn nearly everything about your followers. You don’t have to cater every tweet to their specific interests, but it’s something to review, especially if you’re wondering why some tweets are working well and others are going unacknowledged. Also, be aware that everything you do is visible to the public. Not only can everyone see every tweet and picture you’ve posted, but also every tweet you’ve liked on other accounts.

7. Interact with others

Twitter is an open marketplace for thoughts and ideas. You can become acquaintances with someone halfway across the world just by replying to one of their tweets and opening up a dialogue. This is a great way to gain and retain followers. Interactions between users is the blood of Twitter and without it, Twitter could not function.

8. Capitalize on trends

If interactions are the blood, then trends are the legs that push Twitter forward rapidly. Twitter is all about “now.” You can log in for five minutes during the morning, come back an hour later and have missed three earthquakes, a Supreme Court ruling, a new iPhone launch, and a viral video of a kitten doing a backflip. And guess what?  All of that is considered old news by the time you get home from work.

If you’re not sure what you want to tweet, click one of the trending hashtags and chime in on something. Tag one of your friends and ask them what they think about it. Create a poll for your followers to vote on and discuss. There are a million things happening each instant, and that’s what Twitter wants you to focus on.