Update: May 2024

If you’re reading this post, you’ve most likely dabbled on Twitter and LinkedIn and understand that the Facebook photo of you winning the title of ‘beer pong champ’ is inapt. But, congratulations nonetheless.

You get how to not have a bad presence online, but do you know how to have the right presence?

Signing up and securing a Twitter handle only to abandon it and leave a dormant account does not do you justice when applying for a social media/ PR position. It can actually be more harmful than not having a presence at all.

I didn’t earn my current title as Social Media Coordinator by taking an extensive amount of college courses in social media, digital strategy or reputation management. My knowledge of the space stems from internships and a desire to fulfill my curiosities through self-educating.

The “jump in and join the conversation” mantra isn’t always sound advice especially when one has no clue what to do or…say. Below, I’ve listed some tips on how to leverage Twitter and LinkedIn for better networking and more meaningful conversations. However, you have to be ready and committed.

Completeness – If you want to be taken seriously, complete your profiles to the best of your ability. Entice others through your summary/ bio. Make them want to get to know you.

Professionalism – Use common sense. Online, first impressions aren’t based on looks, but more on your thoughts and words. Be a verbalist on social media.

Ratio – This isn’t Myspace. Don’t go on a follow spree. Twitter and LinkedIn are about real connections and relationships.  Others may be apprehensive to follow you if you’re following 3,000 people and only 45 people are following you back.

Don’t feel obligated to follow those mentioned in a #FollowFriday tweet. More and more, #FollowFriday has become diluted with insincere recommendations and tweets containing lists of handles. The best #FollowFridays are those that give a concise yet in-depth summary of the individual.

Ask – On LinkedIn, ask to get introduced or ask to connect. Whether it’s a close friend, fellow intern, your professor, colleague, someone you just met at an event or tweeted with. Don’t just send the canned LinkedIn message though. Tailor the invitation.

Ask for recommendations. It’s okay, really. It boosts your cred. Again, write a genuine and polite message tailored to the endorser.

Converse – One of the best ways to dive right into the twitterverse, grow your audience and really understand the true benefits of Twitter is to participate in chats.  Chats are great ways to meet people who share the same passions yet have diverse backgrounds. If you don’t feel comfortable just yet to participate in a chat, follow along and listen. A particular topic may spur thoughts or opinions. It’s okay to not always agree with the conversation and that’s your opportunity to voice your opinion. Don’t feel intimidated.

Join – On LinkedIn, join groups for rich feeds of industry-related content. Share relevant content. Follow brands/ companies for updates on new hires, current openings and news. Creep (yeah, I said it) on employee profiles to see their experience and the professional journey that led them to their current position.

Eventually you’ll see the snowball effect. You’ll participate in Twitter chats. Gain followers. Have more extensive conversations. Connect on LinkedIn and essentially build your reputation.

The benefits and opportunities of having a reputable online presence are endless. Now get out there and immerse yourself in the world of social media!