May 12, 2009

Like most people whose age has crept somewhere north of 35, I didn’t get Twitter.  It’s not that I didn’t appreciate technology or understand the potential benefits of social media, it’s just that I could not wrap my head around what possible benefit I could get from knowing what a perfect stranger was having for a snack.  Turns out there’s much more to it than that, and in fact I’m just beginning to realize the potential Twitter has to build my business and increase the power of my ‘brand’ in the marketplace.  Hopefully this brief article will encourage you to investigate it as well and see if it can do the same for you.

First off, proceed with caution.  If you are like most Executive Recruiters I know, myself included, you were born with a natural attraction to bright and shiny objects.  Twitter can be pretty shiny, especially once you begin to accumulate followers and get some momentum going.  Don’t let it distract you from your business though, or you will soon be cursing it as an unnecessary ‘timesuck’.  Plan times, away from prime calling hours, to get set up and then carefully limit the amount of time you spend ‘tweeting’ throughout the day.

If you want to take advantage of Twitter, you need to participate, and you need to do it in a way that catches people’s interest.  I would recommend posting a couple of days worth of ‘tweets’ before you begin following anyone.  The reason for this is that often people you follow will follow you in return, and when they click on your profile you want them to see that you are an active member of the community.  A good goal is three new posts a day, spread out.  I like to post something as soon as I come in, something right before lunch, and then a final one right before I head out of the door.

Only you can decide what you ‘tweet’ about.  The classic approach is to just post about what you are doing right at that moment, but there are lots of other valid approaches.  The only cliché I would avoid is posting about food.  Turns out that no one cares what you are eating, unless you’re happy to be the host of that ‘Bizarre Foods’ show on the travel channel, and even then you’re on shaky ground.  If you want ideas, simply read what others have been ‘tweeting’ about, and pretty soon you’ll get the idea.

One unexpected benefit I found is that Twitter is an excellent source of industry news and personal development for me.  By following the leading websites and blogs in my niche, which happens to be the pharmaceutical industry, I’m often the first in my office to know when big changes are happening.  And by following other executive recruiters, I’ve found numerous training resources that I would not have otherwise known existed.

If you are going to get benefit out of Twitter, you will need to stick with it over time.  I personally decided to give it three months, and in fact it only took about 6 weeks for me to determine that it deserved a place in my long term strategy.  The litmus test of any new recruiting tool is whether or not it improves my relationship with my candidates and hiring authorities, and since I have a number of them as followers now, I can say that it is doing just that.

This article has been almost criminally brief, so I would encourage you to check out other resources and play around on Twitter yourself before you take the plunge.  I personally found the book ‘Twitter Power’ by Joel Comm to be very helpful.  If you decide to sign on, please follow me, I’m @jdavidgoldberg.  Good luck and happy tweeting!

Goldberg, David photoDavid Goldberg works with talented Pharmaceutical Marketing professionals and helps them find new opportunities for professional growth.  With over a 15 year career in business, technology and communications, David’s role with the BioPharma team emphasizes relationship building and strategic recruiting.  Prior to joining the team, David enjoyed a successful career as an Information Technology project manager, giving him insight into a wide variety of business models and experience with goal oriented problem solving.

David’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State University and a Master of Arts from the University of Phoenix.  While not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading and watching Penn State football.

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