Twitter for professionals: Back to the basics

by | Sep 3, 2015 | Public Relations, Social Media

As communications professionals, we use social media every day. Yes, it’s a commitment—and because it consumes a fair chunk of our busy lives, we look for shortcuts.

That’s why it’s time to go back to the basics—or for you newbies out there, start with the basics. Throw out those old habits and follow these 5 simple tips to optimize your Twitter experience:

Carefully craft your bio

Your Twitter biography gives your potential followers a glimpse of what they can expect to see when they follow you.

You only have 160 characters (and a photo) to meet their expectations and impress them, so it’s best to stick with your most relevant information: job title, company, industry interests and a fun fact. Your profile picture should clearly display your face: whether you want it to be serious or fun, however, is completely up to you. Just make sure your face isn’t obstructed by fancy hats or sunglasses.

If you’re a community manager for a company page, make sure the company’s bio is linked to the company’s website, concisely tell a prospect what it is the company does, and where the company is located. The profile picture should be a large, clear image of the company’s logo. Being able to easily identify the brand on social media is key.

Fact: Your Twitter bio will come up in Google search results of your name, so make sure you’re giving the best first impression that you can by being clear, concise and consistent in your messaging.

Cautiously use @mentions

Being able to tag other individuals or companies in your tweets is a great way to build relationships and encourage engagement, but @mentions have to be used right:

  • If there’s nothing before the @mention, only people who follow you and the person you’re mentioning will see the tweet. Adding a “.”, or a sentence, before your @mention will allow all of your followers to see your tweet.

And don’t forget to use some common etiquette:

  • Don’t @mention users in unrelated posts. Or in ALL of your posts. They’ll think you’re a spammer. And no one likes spammers.
  • If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on Twitter. And if you do, definitely don’t @mention them. Don’t mention them at all, period. Starting beef on Twitter is a big no-no.

Fact: Just because you don’t @mention someone, doesn’t mean they won’t see it. There are many social media solutions that allow you to track certain topics, or key phrases, on Twitter.

Make sure your hashtags are relevant

When composing your tweets, make sure that you’re using relevant hashtags. These hashtags will help other industry professionals or companies find your content, and will also allow other users to interact with it (via a reply, RT or favourite). Using hashtags like #sorrynotsorry may make your content feel light-hearted, but it’s less likely to be seen by your desired, qualified audience.

Hubspot recommends using 1 – 3 hashtags, at the very most, to maximize engagement.

Wondering how to choose the perfect hashtag? Check out our blog post: Five tips for making a happy hashtag.

Properly format your tweets

You have to craft your tweets in a way that makes the 140 character limit count. That means that the information you’re providing should be ordered by the level its importance: a key fact, figure or quote from your content, a link, hashtags, and any side notes.


The average adult attention span is down to 8 seconds, so it’s incredibly important to make information accessible and digestible for your followers.

Here is an example of an optimized tweet:



Fact: Pictures take up 23 characters of a tweet. Keep this in mind when you’re doing your social sharing.

Engage, engage, engage

Engagement is key to increasing both your follower count and your Klout within the Twitter community. Retweet other users’ content, reply to tweets if you have something interesting to add, and favourite content you think others will enjoy.

One of the easiest ways to stay engaged is to separate the people you’re following into Twitter lists, divided by category/topic.

Lastly, try to respond to users every time they engage with you. This will demonstrate your sense of community, and that you’re willing to reciprocate engagements.


Sara Chisholm


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