We recently took a poll in our office asking what social media platform does our staff prefer to use to stay connected with friends and family. To no real surprise, Facebook took first place with Instagram a close second. This makes sense as Facebook is the primary social media platform used by most people (designers, architects, or anyone for that matter). And when it comes to Instagram- we as designers are very visually oriented people, thus making the constant feed of gooey images very appealing.
But, I was very surprised to see that NONE of my coworkers preferred twitter as a social networking platform. I know that designers can be more introverted due to the nature of our work. We spend a lot of time working on our designs, pluggin away on details or graphics all day can leave us not so interested to reach out on social media. But this could be a major untapped resource, and I wanted to do some more research to see what makes Twitter so appealing to the rest of the population.
Seeing as I myself did not have a twitter account, I decided to take the plunge and see what all the hype was about. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in my first two weeks on twitter. I want to share them with you so hopefully you can avoid some of the pitfalls and confusion I ran into initially.
So here goes…I started by creating an account and searching for some of my peers. At this point, I have 38 followers, and am following over 350 users (that sounds like a lot, but stay tuned there’s a logical explanation for my excessive following)…
Twitter can be extremely overwhelming at first and I think this is a big reason why people shy away from it after only a few days of use. Once you start following other users, you will see a steady increase the number of posts, photos, and videos that fill up your feed. This leads me to my first lesson about twitter:
1. Only follow users who have similar interests as YOU
Once you start following other users, their posts which directly correlate to their interest. If you’re a graphic designer, find your some of your coworkers and start following the same people they follow. This will give you a good base of followers to start getting a feel for what you’re interested in and what type of user you want to follow. This will also give you a good idea of what things you can start tweeting about (but only when you’re ready…you don’t need to start tweeting just yet).
2. Listen to the tweets of the people you follow
That’s right, I’m telling you to listen to what your peers are tweeting about. Read their posts, the posts they retweet, and check out the websites and articles that they post about on a regular basis. You may find blogs, websites, or magazines that you may have never heard of that will provide the content for you to post about in the future. Favorite, bookmark, and make note of these website for future reference- they will definitely come in handy…
3. Create an accurate, engaging tagline for yourself (include your website or Facebook page if appropriate)
Below your ame you are allowed to insert a description or tagline describing yourself. You only have a few characters so be specific about what you will be tweeting about. A lot of the time, users will follow you based on your tagline and then unfollow you if your tweets don’t align with your original statement. Let’s stay you describe yourself as a “graphic designer who loves comic books, 80s movies, and hair bands”- if all you tweet about is celebrity gossip and your personal experiences you will lose followers rapidly. Create a descriptive, accurate tagline and stick to it.
4. Engage with your peers
As you begin to accumulate a group of peers to follow. Start to engage with those users, whether you know them personally or not, that’s the beauty of twitter. You have an opportunity to interact with people all over the world who share the same interests as you (isn’t that amazing!). Not only that, but those users are seeking users out just like you to communicate and share their thoughts with. Don’t hesitate to favorite, retweet or even tag another user in a post. Open up a line of communication and you’ll be surprised to see the positive feedback you’ll get in return.
5. Start tweeting- be consistent, engaging, and informative
Alright, we’ve reached the point where you can start to engage and communicate with your peers. As I said in the previous recommendation, make sure you engage others with your posts. Make sure you tell them something engaging, maybe some new article or device that both of you would be interested in just got released- share the article and tag other users in your post. This let’s other know that you’re willing to put yourself out there and you want to have a conversation. Try to create your own original posts as much as possible instead of constantly re-tweeting others information. Lastly, stay true to your tag line- remember why you started a twitter and who you were hoping to engage with- if you always keep that in the back of your mind with every post- you will keep your followers happy.
Overall, in my two weeks of using twitter, I’ve seen a lot of benefits for those in the architecture/design professions. It’s nice to see what other firm’s are posting about, promoting new projects or milestones. And for those who may be self-employed or work in a smaller firm, its a great opportunity to connect with peers in similar professions who are also looking to have a discussion. In terms of lessons, that’s all I have for now, but I’ll keep you posted as I continue learning more about this amazing social media tool. Do you have any additional tips for first-time twitter users?