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How to Promote Yourself Professionally on Twitter

April 13, 2011 IADT General, Career Tips & Resources, IADT Alumni, IADT Online 0 Comments

“What does it take to get a good job? What if I’m not sure what type of job I want? Can I, or should I, consider working for myself?”

As a rising, creative professional, you’re likely to ask yourself many questions. Sometimes it’s tough to know where to go for answers. In her regular "Talkback" Feature in Artistik magazineIADT-Online instructor Kerstin Upmeyer - a seasoned design instructor and a professional in the industry who keeps her ear to the ground - provides the straight scoop on this crazy-yet-fulfilling world of design.

In the spring 2011 edition, she responds to a question from a student from IADT-Online:

“Do you think Twitter is a good way to promote yourself and your design work?”

I would give the answer as a resounding YES! There’s a lot that you can say in 140 characters about what’s happening for you professionally. A separate account on Twitter for your business/personal brand is an amazing way to leverage social media to help build a brand for yourself, network, and pick up useful help and tips along the way.

My suggestions for building your network begin with interacting. You don’t want to be posting only about yourself. Ask others questions, give support, make friends, and offer help. You can create a good network community by becoming a part of that community. Remember, you are building relationships, not just bragging about yourself.

Secondly, use Twitter to drive traffic to your website and work. When you are working on a new project, tell people about it, post examples, and get feedback from your fellow professionals. When you post new work on your site, tweet a link and ask for opinions and feedback. Post technical questions and let people know what you are doing professionally. It helps to create a presence for you. By doing so, you help people to know who you are, and what you are up to. It keeps you in the eye of your fellow professionals. You can create a strong brand as a friendly, helpful, and good designer. You will be one of the people who they contact if they need work, or know someone who does.

Some tips on setting up a Twitter account for your brand begin with making sure you write a strong biography. You only have 160 characters (yes, a whole 20 more) to make your point in your bio, so be concise and use keywords that describe who you are. You don’t have to be dry, but be clear. My current profile says, “Full-time Faculty at Keiser University, Adjunct Online Instructor for IADT, Freelance Illustrator/Designer, Instructional Technologist. All-around Groovy Chick.” Yes, I use a touch of humor, but I am careful to include the important words that clearly describe who I am as a professional.

Secondly, you’ll want to create a custom Twitter background that fits your brand. You can use your logo, catch phrase, graphics and contact information, but design it to fit the specs of your Twitter page. A quick Google search can help you find template samples to work with for a Twitter page layout.

Consider your avatar carefully. A clean, accurate picture of yourself is one good option and makes it easier for people to begin recognizing you at networking events and interviews. Another option is to use your logo, which helps push your branding. A professional Twitter account is not the place to use a picture of your dog or baby as your avatar. Save that for a separate, personal account.

Also, make sure you include a link to your most-used networking option, whether a portfolio website, LinkedIn account, or something else such as your company’s website if you are already employed.

Finally, be smart about who you choose to follow. Most major design and marketing organizations have Twitter accounts, as well as most of the major trade magazines. Many of the companies you might be interested in working for probably have some sort of social networking, including Twitter. As you get to know local fellow professionals in your area, follow them as well.

One final word: Be careful what you post. This is a public forum, and the things you say on it will be seen by many and possibly even forwarded to others. Complaining about your boss reflects badly upon you at best, and could get you fired at worst. Try to maintain an upbeat, friendly, and professional persona. Always remember that this is one of the tools for getting you work, but it could just as easily have the opposite effect if you are viewed on Twitter by others as negative, unpleasant, egotistical, or unprofess ional.

Try following these basic guidelines and in time you will be a part of a robust and useful community that will help you to further your brand, learn new things, and with some persistence and work, lead you towards opportunities to further your career.

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