76% of Twitter users are either in college or are college grads. Compare that to Facebook, with only 50% in or having gone to college (Digital Buzz). Of course, people who have not gone to college are on Twitter, too, but it seems like Twitter is a prerequisite for college-goers these days. It’s a great tool for keeping in touch with friends, making connections with people around the world, and networking with companies and their leaders. I’m a social media specialist for a healthcare-related company, and I run a blog with an associated Twitter account, so I’m on Twitter all day—and that’s not an exaggeration. I guess you could say I’ve become somewhat of an expert, so I’d like to share some tips with you over the next few posts.
One of the most effective features of Twitter is the hashtag (the # symbol). One glance at your timeline, and you’ll see hundreds of tweets containing “#,” followed by a word or phrase. But, what exactly does it mean? I’m glad you asked. The basic principle of the hashtag is to create organization on Twitter. For example, if I want to share a great article with my followers about my favorite TV show, I could post a link to the article and include “#MadMen” at the end. When you click on the hashtag, it will lead you to a page containing all the tweets that also include “#MadMen.” This lets you see what everyone else has to say about your particular topic, and you can build connections with those accounts or find more information about said topic.
As a social media specialist, this is really great because I can see who’s interested in a particular topic I’m tweeting about and perhaps even forge relationships with some of those users and gain clients. As your typical Twitter user, it’s great to have everything organized, so you can find information in one spot instead of having to search through thousands of pages of results. And, as someone currently hunting for work in this tough economy, it’s a great tool to connect with employees and experts in your field. For example, a recent applicant to the company for whom I work included in his cover letter that he found the company after searching for various healthcare-related hashtags on Twitter and was inspired to apply. How’s that for a powerful tool?
Twitter has gone from being a way celebrities connect with their fans to a powerful career tool. All established businesses have one, and, whether you’re still in college or recently graduating, it’s a great way to get in touch with companies and start to build connections. Twitter is fun and easy to navigate, and it’s a simple way to find information in 140 characters or less. Talk about easy research!