New social networks pop up every day, but there are a few core networks that business professionals simply must participate in. Once a fringe network for fun, Twitter is now one of those "musts." But there's a difference between establishing a presence on a social network, and wringing every drop of utility you can from a social network. The difference is in the features you use, how you use them and how often.
By this point, most professionals have registered as users on Twitter. With any luck, you're using a flattering picture for your profile and tweeting at least once a day. For individuals looking to boost their careers, those tweets should be professional, relevant and timely. Witty is good, too. For companies, tweets should be focused on the customer. Yes, you are branding, but you want to make sure that everything you post also is meaningful in some way to the audience, your customer.
Regardless of whether you are an individual or an organization on Twitter, you also should be practicing good social citizenry, such as following, retweeting and mentioning others when it makes sense.
All of this is Twitter 101. When you're ready for advancement, there are many Twitter features and third-party apps for Twitter that can make your experience richer and more rewarding. Indeed, depending on the job you have -- or maybe even the job you are looking to get -- success might depend on the extent to which you are able to leverage social networks, including Twitter. For organizations, the ability to use a social networking platform to its full potential is a competitive advantage -- it might even help lure young, talented professionals who want to work for a company that's up on the latest and greatest tech.
Just remember, although wringing the most use possible out of any productivity or marketing app makes sense, there is a corollary when it comes to social networking: Just as wise use of a social network can give you a huge leg up, sloppy use can get you or your organization into a lot of trouble. So think carefully about what social networking features you use, and how they might or might not align with what you and your business are already doing. Consider the ripple effect: Who will see what you are doing on Twitter? Who won't? Are there any personal or corporate privacy concerns to consider? Like an app developer thinking about every possible scenario stemming from every possible user action, social business users must think about the effects -- positive and negative -- their actions will have.
Keep reading for the features we think you should check out once you are ready to take your Twitter presence to the next level. What are your favorite Twitter features or tools? Let us know in the comments section below.
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.