Networking can be awkward, confusing and palm-sweat inducing, and doing it online isn’t much easier.
But it could be the key to getting hired for your next role, or making a career-changing connection.
Here’s how to network on Twitter without coming across weird.
1. Follow people whose jobs you want
If you want to be an entertainment journalist, type ‘entertainment journalist’ in the Twitter search bar and follow the first 20 people that come up.
Or if you’re not sure what job you want, but know where you want to work, follow people who work at that organisation — again just use the search bar to find them.
People are giving away free insight into their jobs online, and in many cases, looking for people to hire as they move up the ladder.
2. Interact organically
Please do not, for any reason, ask them to “kindly follow back” or continually follow and unfollow them to get their attention.
Take a look at their tweets, see the kind of things they do every day — are they solely an entertainment journalist/personal stylist/lawyer? Or do they have outside projects like hosting a radio show or running an online store?
Do not like or RT every single one of their tweets, but over time they will tweet something that interests you; maybe it’s a piece of their work, something they’re listening to or a question.
You’re looking for something like:
— Phoebe Parke (@PhoebeParke) May 5, 2016
— Phoebe Parke (@PhoebeParke) April 15, 2016
Why pursue something you know you can't maintain?
— Phoebe Parke (@PhoebeParke) May 4, 2016
In the first case you can read their piece and comment on it, in the second case you can tune in to what they’re listening to and comment on it, and in the third case you can offer comment on the question or answer it.
Do not be shady, rude, or overly enthusiastic — imagine you were replying to a tweet from a friend.
3. Do not slide into their DMs
I don’t know how many times I can share this piece without seeming spammy, but y’all aren’t getting it.
Direct messages are for friends, potential baes and colleagues in a crisis.
4. Be specific in your request
Tell them what you want from them in no uncertain terms, and do so in an email.
“You’ve probably seen me popping up in your mentions recently, I love your work and am interested in getting to know more about how you got your job as an videographer.
“I’m trying to get into the same industry, and I’m currently studying video journalism at Brunel University. Do you have some time this month for a coffee or could I ask you some questions via email?”
I recently had a similar email to the above from someone wanting to take the next step in journalism, we’re meeting next week for lunch. I assure you that most of the people who have the jobs you want are willing to share what they know with you.
5. Be their cheerleader
Everyone loves it when people actually share what they put on Twitter — it can sometimes feel like you’re putting things into a vacuum and no one’s listening.
That means RTing their articles (not every single one) and telling them how much you enjoyed them (if you did).
What are your top tips for networking on Twitter? Share them in the comments.