By Joe Londergan, @Joehio_
Last week, we took a look at the basics of setting up a professional Twitter presence in part one of this series. As discussed in that article, the platform allows users an opportunity to create a presence that establishes your professional credibility and allows employers to find you. The latter of those two things, however, becomes harder if you don’t put yourself out there in the right contexts.
In this second installment, we’ll explore how sport industry professionals take advantage of the networking aspect of Twitter.
“Search a hashtag that interests you, find a tweet, and jump in the conversation," advises Jeff Mason, Communications Coordinator for Athletics at the University of Central Missouri. “While the (many) chats on Twitter are perfect for networking, they’re not the only chance to connect with industry peers. There are thousands of opportunities to connect online every day.”
Katie Cavender, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Communications at the Mountain West Conference, echoes this sentiment:
“I’d encourage those who want to break into the industry to participate, to track hashtags and Twitter chats, and start engaging in dialogue with others in the business. I’ve made several connections and have built working relationships with folks across the country whom I first met thanks to social media. It's such a great tool to bring people together instantly.”
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For a complete list of chats that are great examples of what Mason and Cavender refer to, check out this LinkedIn post from friend of the site Danny Kambel. To name a few, I recommend exploring #YPSportsChat and #smsportschat.
While LinkedIn can be a great place to foster professional relationships as well, Twitter has the ability to provide a lot of the same experience, without some of the excessive formality. There’s also more versatility within Twitter which allows you to get a deeper look into who they are as a person through the things they enjoy discussing in their professional and personal lives.
Digital producer and content creator Rhodri Williams hits the nail on the head when he states that Twitter is a “great way to get a feel for *someone* beyond just what they do.” Williams also describes it as “a little more casual than LinkedIn” and “huge hotbed of talent, people & ideas.”
One benefit that you’ll immediately notice about the sports business community especially is its welcoming nature. Across all subsets of the industry, there are a wealth of professionals willing to offer insight and advice to students and anyone else seeking help.
Carl Schmid, Assistant Director of Football Video with the University of Cincinnati, has experienced this first hand:
“I've been fortunate to establish relationships w/ some great people across the country. They've helped me advance what I can already do & learn new skills at the same time. It's a very collaborative group which is awesome to see & be a part of.”
To go along with sharing ideas and concepts surrounding your specialty, the medium of Twitter allows you the chance to learn how to boil down those ideas to the key concepts. Because of the character limit, you need to make it clear exactly what you’re trying to say. That skill can carry over to the real world as well: craft your messages to be succinct and easy to understand.
“[Twitter] has been especially good for exchanging ideas, dialogue & information. Its brevity is golden," states Ron Barry, Director of Baseball and Marketing at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex. “[It] forces you to compress your thoughts & better express yourself quickly. So it's timely as well.”
In regards to how those thoughts read/sound, it really all comes down to how you establish your own unique voice. This will be covered more extensively in part three, but it all comes down to not being afraid to let a little of your own individual personality shine through in this digital professional context.
“Think about some of your favorite twitter personalities. Do you feel like you know a little about who they are beyond their job title? Tweeting about some of your likes/dislikes can be common ground for you to connect with others in the industry, forming a bond beyond professional interaction and leaving a lasting impression.”