Changing careers can be both stressful and exciting. After all, it’s a decision that can completely change your life.
Some people have no trouble transitioning into a new career, while others struggle to carve out a spot in their new niche. Why is this? Sometimes it’s simply a matter of branding: those who find success have worked hard to rebrand themselves within their new field.
Rebranding your personal identity is similar to rebranding a corporate identity. It involves changing the way others perceive you. This can be achieved through a variety of offline ways, including furthering your education and experience, volunteering within your new field and more. But it is equally important to rebrand yourself online as you work on your skills and expertise offline – so read on for five tips for using Twitter to help you rebrand yourself.
1. Use lists effectively
Twitter lists are a great way to organize and keep track of important accounts, and they’re very useful for someone who’s shifting focus. You can create new lists that include users who are already in your new field, and interact with them, learn from them, and maybe even find a job prospect or two.
Here’s how you’d go about it: first, create a new list by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of Twitter.com and choosing “Lists” from the dropdown menu. Click the “Create List” button, and come up with a name for this new list. It could be something as simple as “Cool People in PR” if PR is your chosen field. Next, decide whether this will be a private list (good for keeping track of people without anyone knowing), or a public list.
If you are already following some people in PR, great – go ahead and add them! If you’re starting from scratch, I recommend doing some keyword searches on Twitter to get a quick start. Try “PR”, “PR jobs”, “public relations”, etc. Anything that you think people might be tweeting about in your new field.
Once you have a handful of folks in your list, start listening and engaging. Listen to the topics they tweet about (which can help you with your own content strategy, as we’ll discuss shortly), and don’t be too shy to reach out and tweet directly to them! You never know what opportunities may arise.
2. Rewrite your bio
Your Twitter bio consists of just 160 characters to say exactly who you are – so make them count! If your bio is vague (“I love my dog, nature and my morning coffee! Life is beautiful”) or unrelated to the reason why you’re on Twitter (“I’m the #1 fan of Man U!” when you’re tweeting about PR, for instance), it will throw people off and won’t earn you as many followers in your new career field.
Instead, take time to craft a compelling bio that clearly shows which career you’re aiming for. Depending on how far along you are in your transition, you might want to explain that you are in the middle of a transition (“A fresh new PR pro looking for ways to expand my knowledge and build new relationships”) or you might want to keep that information to yourself (“A PR pro looking for ways to expand my knowledge and build new relationships”). There are benefits to each approach, and it’s up to you which one you’ll take.
3. Shift your content focus
Since you’re transitioning into a new career, it makes sense that you’d want to tweet about that new career, right? Just like your bio, your Twitter content strategy has to change.
When you begin to tweet about a new topic, it’s always a good idea to let your followers know the change is coming. Some of them might stop following you, since they were interested in what you were tweeting about before the change – and that’s OK. You’re shifting focus because you want new connections who are interested in or who have careers in your new field.
To get ideas for the new content you’ll be tweeting, take a look at what others are doing. This is where your new list can come in handy. Read up on the links shared within that list, and pay attention to the kinds of tips and opinions they tweet. Pretty soon you’ll understand what kind of content you want to share.
4. Learn new hashtags
Every subject under the sun seems to have its own hashtag on Twitter these days. Whether you’re transitioning into a career in PR or one as a ferret trainer, there’s bound to be one out there for you!
To find it, you might have to do a little digging. For starters, take a look at your list again. Are the people on it using a single hashtag frequently? Something like #PRChat, or #FerretTrainingTips? That’s a good indication that it’s a popular one in your new field. You can also use Twitter’s search to find your new hashtag. And if these aren’t turning anything up, why not tweet about it? Ask your network if they can recommend useful PR hashtags to you.
Once you have one or several hashtags that you know are popular, use them! Participate in a weekly hashtag chat, or tag relevant tweets with the right hashtag. This will help you integrate into the community, and can net you some great new Twitter connections.
5. Know your tools
Rebranding takes work, so why not make it a bit easier on yourself? There are plenty of tools out there that can help you automate content, discover new accounts to follow and more.
HootSuite is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for something to help you schedule tweets. It is a robust dashboard that allows you to write a tweet and schedule it for any time in the future. You can also use it to manage multiple accounts, so it’s useful if you’re rebranding on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks in addition to Twitter.
And Just Tweet It and Wefollow are two Twitter directories that can help you discover new accounts to follow and network with. You can search for keywords or browse by categories related to your new career.
Do you have any tips for someone rebranding themselves on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter at @alltwtr.
(Image via Shutterstock)