KNOW HOW

Twitter Is Your Friend. Use It.

Twitter can make your life and career better. Here's how one fledgling PR maven tweeted her way into a job and beyond.
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You don't know Sarah Salbu, but that shouldn't stop you from learning from her.

As a young PR maven in the making, Salbu loves Twitter, and it seems that Twitter loves her back. She landed her current job, as a senior account executive at SHIFT Communications, through Twitter. She connected with Boston Content, a networking group for content creators, through a tweet. She's now on the committee which oversees new events. Then at a convention--where she knew no one--she managed to tweet her way into a special closed-door session, where she learned more things and made more connections.

If Salbu can make Twitter work for her, imagine what you could do. Here are her top tips for how to use Twitter to the fullest:

Live tweet. Ever sat in a convention and your mind drifts off? You lose what the speaker is saying. Tweeting keeps you from doing that. For example, while at a convention, Salbu makes a point to tweet two interesting things out of every 25-minute conference session. Not only does this give her a good set of reminders about what she has learned, she must synthesize the information to spit it back out in under 140 characters.

Don't be shy. Salbu was able to gain access to a closed-door discussion with emerging scientific leaders at a large conference 100 percent because of tweeting and engaging with fellow conference goers including business strategist and author Seth Kahan.  "Because of my conversation with him on Twitter, he included me in a discussion with 30 leading food scientists from around the world who were discussing global trends and challenges," she says. "It made me feel very empowered and was a testament to how Twitter can the open the world to you right from a phone."

Use hashtags. Even though people make fun of hashtags, they can connect you with others. For instance, Salbu advises, when tweeting about a convention, use the designated hashtag and your tweets will become part of the overall record of the meeting--giving you a larger platform for your ideas. Plus, other convention goers read your insights and respond. That's how you make connections.

Reach out. Don't think of Twitter as just a place to spew your thoughts into the void. Reply to people. Follow people of interest. "I tweet at celebrities, professionals, industry professionals. I'm not afraid to say something," she says. Interestingly, that's how I met Salbu. She read an article I wrote about getting a job through Instagram, and tweeted me saying she'd gotten a job through Twitter. And how did she get that job on Twitter? SHIFT Communications CEO  Todd Defren tweeted "Do you know anyone in PR/Social Media who just...sparkles? Smart, connected, positive, fun? Can we talk to 'em?" and she replied. Todd has more than 25,000 Twitter followers and she could have assumed that he wouldn't see her tweet, but what did she have to lose? Nothing. What did she have to gain? A new job.

Maintain real life contacts. Salbu participated in a "hack-a-thon" where she helped give new businesses PR and marketing tips. She tweeted about each business, and connected with the entrepreneurs. She still keeps in contact with some of these people. Twitter isn't just about "virtual" relationships but real ones.

How can this help you? Business is all about relationships. Twitter allows you to find and form relationships with people you wouldn't otherwise have the ability to contact. You never know. And, if you have an interesting story that can help others succeed, tweet at me @RealEvilHRLady.

IMAGE: topgold/Flickr
Last updated: Jan 14, 2014

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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