A Guide to Presenting Yourself on Twitter for Design Students

Being connected to what is happening online can be one of the most beneficial actions you can take for your future. Having a well-rounded web presence through your personal brand can help you gain more followers, connect with designers and build credibility as a student. In this section, we’ll go through how to appropriately present yourself on Twitter as a design student and why people do or don’t follow you.

Your Personal Brand

If you’re still in college, this is an opportune time to better prepare yourself for your future. Although juggling coursework and class and work schedules can be difficult, the more you do now, the farther ahead you will be when you graduate. Your personal brand is how you define and present yourself through social media channels. Do you want to be funny or professional? Serious or laid-back? Whatever you decide, your tweets will look fairly different.

You must understand that you are what you tweet. Keeping up a healthy Twitter image will help you get found, discovered and shared, and ultimately, build your credibility as a professional. Use your personal brand to differentiate yourself from other young designers. Employers and clients are generally impressed by a student who takes the time to grow their personal branding.

Being Consistent

Your voice on Twitter is possessive, it’s something you own and have control over. Most followers need some type of credibility to hold onto before they follow you. Avoid being chaotic with your tweets because you won’t attract or entice many users to follow you. Being consistent on Twitter doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Providing your followers with a mix of professionalism and personality is great – after all, most businesses like working with people who bring a great mix to the table. Just remember to be consistent about the way you behave so that your followers eventually know what to expect from your tweets.

Why People Follow

In our previous article, we talked about expanding your network on Twitter. When you were following users on Twitter, most of you probably looked for a few key qualities in people you followed, such as quality of posts, how often they post, how credibile their branding looks, etc. You probably didn’t just follow anyone that claimed to be a “web designer.” When others are searching for people to follow, they follow the same judgmental procedure on your background, biography and recent tweets, and decide in a couple seconds whether you are worth following or not.

Taking the time to present yourself well on Twitter as a design student can pay dividends. There are many techniques you can use to build yourself a tight-knit mini community. Understanding why people do (or don’t) follow you can help you build an effective branding plan in helping you get the most out of Twitter as a design student.

What Followers Want to See

Each tweet you send out into the world represents a small faucet of your personal brand. If you tweet regularly about what you had for lunch or what your cat is doing every 5 minutes, you’ll be known as “that guy that tweets about his cat too much.” You’re going to want to be consistent in what you tweet about because it reflects greatly on your personal branding as a web designer. There are a few things that your followers want to see – you provide them some form of value, you interact with others through discussions and provide help when needed (you’re friendly) and you want to build rewarding relationships with others.

Provide Value

In Jack Humphrey’s blog post on the 90-10 rule for Twitter networking, he suggests that 90% of the time you should use Twitter for personal insights and thoughts along with a heavy dose of helpful links, while the other 10% should be messaging that directly benefits you. When someone follows you on Twitter, it is implied that they followed you because you can provide them with some sort of benefit or value. Here are a few ways you can provide your followers with value:

Answer Questions – Taking the time to help others. Give detailed responses to questions you feel qualified to answer. If you provide a solution to a followers problem, they will likely be more willing to provide assistance to you when you encounter a problem.

@ Replies – Reply to others! If you don’t, your followers may take it personally and think you are unfriendly or just a robot who tweets to get followers. Start, follow and contribute to conversations happening in your niche.

Retweet – Retweeting is beneficial for both parties – you’re sharing interesting content with your readers and helping out fellow Twitterers at the same time. Many people are thankful for retweets and will pay back the favour.

Links – Provide links that are entertaining, informative and relevant to your reader’s interests. The more interesting your links are, the more likely your followers will share it with their followers, further spreading your messaging. Remember that these links will contribute to your level of consistency and credibility online.
Why People Don’t Follow

Frequency of Posting

There is a striking balance between posting too much, and annoying followers, or posting too little and becoming inactive. The secret to having success on Twitter is to keep your feed fresh by maintaining a balance between the two. You also have to be careful of alternating between promotional tweets – you’ll look selfish – and links to outside sources – you’ll lack originality. A good rule of thumb is to post high quality content, often.

Obviously you want to use Twitter to help promote yourself and your services as a designer, but it’s not always about you. People don’t like others that just talk about themselves. What’s worse is that you might come off as a spammer – you don’t want to be one of them. If you spend the time determining how you want to present yourself as a design student on Twitter, you can provide followers with massive value and create a pool of knowledge, experience and help that you can tap into at any point.

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