Category Archives: License to Skill

Complete Guide to Twitter [Resource Hub]

Last week we brought you our complete guide to LinkedIn, and this week we’re back with another resource hub for everyone’s favorite shortform social networking site: Twitter. Whether you’re a 140-character guru or a total newbie, the resources below will teach you to conquer the platform from top to bottom.

The Twitter Basics

Still haven’t set up your Twitter account? Whether you’re using it for marketing, personal branding or simple communication, this guide will help you optimize your Twitter profile in a way that will help you get the most out of the site. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Be sure your @handle and description include keywords relevant to your interests and/or industry.
  • Choose a profile image that will instantly communicate your purpose to Twitter users (who have notoriously short attention spans).
  • Upload a custom background image to engage users and promote your other social profiles.

Learning Twitter’s Lingo

Most web discussion platforms preserve all posts to a discussion topic in the same contained space for easy reference. Think of the structure of Facebook status update – the conversation evolves chronologically in the comments section. In stark contrast, Twitter’s conversations are a series of thoughts volleyed back and forth between accounts, like a game of verbal tennis.

Because each user’s profile only displays their end of the conversation, Twitter has developed its own nomenclature for directing, sorting and organizing tweets. Get familiar with this glossary of Twitter terms to help you navigate the multi-threaded interactions that make Twitter tick.

Corral the Conversation

If the last section makes Twitter’s discussion threading sound a little convoluted, take solace in the fact that you aren’t the first person to crave a little organization in the conversational zoo. Many programs exist to corral Twitter’s wealth of personal interaction into something you can make sense of. We recommend using HootSuite to manage your social media presence. This guide will teach you how to schedule tweets, track conversions and set up multiple columns and lists to monitor the conversation surrounding your brand.

Content Marketing

Twitter is a fruitful pursuit for businesses looking to promote their products, but you’ll need to understand one very important thing before you get started: Twitter is about conversation, not advertising. Just like you wouldn’t walk into a party and yell, “EVERYBODY BUY BURT’S ICE CREAM!!”, you shouldn’t spam your followers with self-serving sales tweets that add nothing to the community.

If you were to walk into that same party with a tub of Burt’s Ice Cream, though, they might leave talking about how delicious it is – a scenario that more closely approximates how you can capture marketing opportunities on Twitter. Here’s how to do just that:

Use Twitter for Your Business – The Right Way – Conversations, not advertising.
How To Write the Perfect Tweet – Write headlines that cut through the noise. (And there’s a lot of noise.)
The Science of Social Timing – Time your tweets to be broadcast during peak hours, and post frequently enough to remain visible in Twitter’s constantly refreshing conversation stream.
Complete Guide to Newsjacking – Promote your products creatively by inserting yourself into trending conversations.
4 Awesome Types of Successful Twitter Contests – Contests are one of the best ways to build your audience – and they can require something as simple as a retweet.

Networking on Twitter

How to Use Twitter Lists For Time Management and Profit – Organize brands, thought leaders and other connections into public lists. People can save valuable lists for reference, and you can use them as an excuse to give shout outs and initiate conversations in your space.
Twitter Chat Doc – Twitter chats are discussions conducted through a specific hashtag at a predetermined time. It’s a great way to engage precisely targeted communities in conversation. This Google document lists them all.
8 Easy Ways to Network on Twitter – Suggestions for engaging the right people the right way on Twitter.

Monitor Your Brand

Some brand monitoring advice has been scattered throughout these links, but it bears repeating: custom lists and saved keyword searches can tell you what the world is saying about you – and your competitors! Use them wisely to provide customer service, brainstorm future blog content, keep track of your competitors, engage influencers and generally stay plugged into the conversation.

8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas – Use Twitter and other monitoring platforms as a “listening tool.”
Using Twitter to Monitor Brand Conversation – A PR firm’s take.
Integrating Social Media Into Your Workflow – Our very own guide on efficiently sifting through the noise.

Hopefully we’ve covered our bases here, but of course this isn’t an exhaustive list of useful resources. If you have a killer Twitter resource to add, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments.

License to Skill: Patrick Berzai

At Smarterer, we’re not shy to say we love our users. From students who are embarking on their career to professionals looking to validate their long-learned knowledge, each of our users has their own story of skill and success. We’re sharing these stories on our License to Skill Q&A series, so read up and get inspired to embark on your own skill-seeking mission.

Tell us about yourself! Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m Patrick Berzai.  I do business development at Boston Logic Technology Partners which is a software and online marketing company focused on real estate.

What digital tools do you use every day for work? What about for play?

For work I use both Twitter for lead generation and ‘soft’ outreach and a CRM (Zoho CRM) to keep track of sales leads.  I also use Facebook forums to discuss industry trends with other real estate agents and brokers who consider technology to stay ahead of the curve and close more deals.

Personally, I mostly use Facebook to keep in touch with friends.   I use Facebook as a social CRM in my lifelong effort to flout the Dunbars Number.  I can maintain  meaningful relationships with all of my friends old and new, all over the world.

What has changed about the skills that your job demands since you first started?

Since I began my job at Boston Logic, I’ve acquired a significant amount of offline skill in sales as far as asking the right questions and consulting our clients about how to get ahead in their online marketing by leveraging technology to get better search engine ranking for real estate sales searches, as well as use social media to drive traffic to their websites.

Boston LogicAlso, I’ve slowly gotten people at my office to see the value of social media in lead generation efforts.

How do skills play a role in your personal and professional brand?

Most of my skills enhance my personal brand in effort to enhance the profile of my company and drive revenue growth.  People need to trust that I know all there is to know about online marketing and social media so that they trust that my company is the best choice for their personal and professional brands.

Where do you go to learn new skills? What resources do you use?

I have always been curious about the internet and marketing in general, which comes from my background studying philosophy.  The internet changes almost daily, so if you do not stay on top of it, you will fall behind.  I read TechCrunch, Mashable, Search Engine Land as well as various real estate sources and blogs daily.

What skills or tools do you plan on learning in the next year?

I’d like to get a bit better with Google Analytics as well as perfect my ‘voice’ for my own personal blog.  I would also like to be a bit better at using Salesforce.com, even though I do not use it now.

Which of your skills are you most proud of? Why?

Well, I would have to say it is my social media skills.  Personally, I dont think you can teach social media.  Sure, you can show someone who is bad at it how to be confident.  But those who are good at it are just naturally good networkers.

How did you first hear about Smarterer? Why do you keep coming back?

A friend of mine told me about it and I wrangled an invite.  What keeps me coming back is that I love trivia and challenging myself to know all there is to know on certain industry (and non-industry) topics.  It’s fun.

LinkedIn

How does Smarterer help you professionally? How do you use your scores and badges?

In the era of LinkedIn, you get many recruiters scanning your profile so I put a link to it on there. Many start ups or tech savvy companies know of Smarterer and what it does.  Some companies that have contacted me even have tests on Smarterer so it is a great way to get a leg up on the game.

I have used it in resume’s as a list of my skills as a way to make my resume more visual and to highlight the fact that when I say I know Google Analytics, it’s not just me saying that; a third party source can verify it.

If you could challenge anyone to your favorite Smarterer test, who would it be? Which test would you challenge ‘em to?

I’m a lover, not a fighter so I dont think I would challenge anyone in particular.  I do like to look at the leaderboards, so whomever knocked me off my spot on a particular day I’d likely challenge.  All in fun, of course!

License to Skill: Trish Fontanilla

At Smarterer, we’re not shy to say we love our users. From students who are embarking on their career to professionals looking to validate their long-learned knowledge, each of our users has their own story of skill and success. We’re sharing these stories on our License to Skill Q&A series, so read up and get inspired to embark on your own skill-seeking mission.

Trish Fontanilla
Tell us about yourself! Where do you work? What do you do?

Hi my name is Trish Fontanilla and I’m the community manager at Vsnap. Vsnap is a simple web (and soon mobile) platform for sending 60 second video messages with attachments. It’s a startup, so I try to help out with everything… creating content, social media marketing, documenting features, creating user interface mockups, filtering through and answering tech/media/info inquiries, engaging with the community offline, and of course, being Vsnap’s number one fan. :)

What digital tools do you use every day for work? What about for play?

For work: Google Analytics, Rapportive, TweetdeckFacebook, Balsamiq, Jira, Tumblr, Skype. I’ve also been playing around with TwitSproutSocialBro, and ManageFlitter too to see what fits.

VsnapFor play: Twitter for Mac, Twitter.com, Seesmic, Foursquare, Runkeeper, Foodspotting

And of course Vsnap which spans work, play, dreams, everywhere!

What has changed about the skills that your job demands since you first started?

When I first started, our site wasn’t live and now we’re in our alpha. Over the past several months, I’ve learned more about bug reporting, website testing, documenting features, and creating UI mockups. I’m sure there’ll be new demands once we launch our beta and mobile apps in the coming month. When you work at a startup, you learn on the go and you lend a hand where you can. Job descriptions and titles be damned.

How do skills play a role in your personal and professional brand?

In my personal/professional brand, being a resource has been really beneficial to me. When I was looking for work and freelancing, most of my recommendations were from people I had helped (mostly volunteering). Because I shared my brain with them, they knew what I was capable of and recommended me right away.

Where do you go to learn new skills? What resources do you use?

When I want to learn something new, I usually dive right in. The process is usually Google search > websites > Twitter > hashtags > then Meetup. If after meeting up with folks it seems like something I’d like to continue/pursue, I join some Linkedin groups and really start getting into forums/blogs on the topic.

What skills or tools do you plan on learning in the next year?

I want to use Gimp and Photoshop more. I’m a design fangirl.

Ooh and code. I went to one of the project based workshops put on by the Boston Python User Group last year. As a n00b, it’s important to keep up with the coding since my brain isn’t used to thinking in that way. To add on to that pile, I signed up for Code Academy’s Code Year. :)

Which of your skills are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of the skills I’ve learned documenting features and creating UI mockups with Jira and Balsamiq. There’s an awesome sense of accomplishment after you’ve spent hours/days/weeks thinking through a feature and how it’ll affect everything else on the site, then taking a stab at designing what it should look like.

How did you first hear about Smarterer? Why do you keep coming back?

I remember watching an interview with Jennifer Fremont-Smith (Smarterer Co-Founder and CEO), then that same week hearing about it from Dave Balter (Co-Founder, Executive Chairman), and across the web. I had to check out this site everyone was talking about since there was this continuous amount of buzz.

I keep coming back because the quizzes are addictive and I kind of like to get things wrong. It means I’m learning something new. haha That and Smarterer can be a bit of an instigator with all the “You’ve been bumped” emails.

How does Smarterer help you professionally? How do you use your scores and badges?

BadgesI mentioned my scores to my boss, CEO Dave McLaughlin and he just smiled and said, “I already knew you were awesome”. I haven’t had the need to build out a resume page, but I do plan on adding the badges to the bio page on my website. You can say you have skills on LinkedIn, but in some cases there’s no way to tell. I think Smarterer is a great way to show off a little bit and people know that it’s based on a test you took as opposed to some complicated algorithm.

If you could challenge anyone to your favorite Smarterer test, who would it be? Which test would you challenge ‘em to?

Would this be live? I gave up on live, timed competitions after I got 7th place at a spelling bee (I swear the woman said Appalachian). I suppose I’d challenge Eric Andersen to the Twitter test. He always tweets me whenever our scores are close or he’s ahead of me on the leaderboard.