About three years ago, a friend advised me to leverage Twitter to grow my business. Back then, I never really understood her suggestion—how could a 280-characters-based network help me get more clients?

Fast forward to now and I can assure you: Twitter isn’t a network to take for granted. Use it correctly and you can not only grow your business but use it as a tool for your professional growth.

Wondering how?

Let me walk you through 3 proven ways you can use Twitter for professional development:

1. Grow your network

Growing your professional network comes with several perks including getting more exposure, finding different opportunities, getting a job/more clients, and positioning yourself as a person of authority in their field.

With Twitter, you can get all this and more in the following ways:

👉 Find the right people to connect with

Hunt down industry influencers, thought leaders, recognized names, and whoever your target is by surfing the right hashtags in your industry. For instance, I often go through the #contentmarketing tag to discover people talking about content marketing and connecting with them.

👉  Jump into industry-relevant Twitter chats

I know people on Twitter that come from various walks of the marketing industry such as video marketing, email marketing, blogging, freelancers, and more. How? Simply by being a regular participant in the right Twitter chats. This is a great way to use twitter for professional development.

Twitter chats are typically hour-long conversations that a business or user hosts on a pre-announced topic. Participants follow along by using the chat’s hashtag and answering questions that the host asks.

But to double the fun and connect with like-minded people, engage with others in the chat. Share your thoughts or ask questions on their answers. Most importantly, keep in touch with these people outside the chat hours and boom! You’ll have a solid network in no time.  

2. Learn how to write for the internet

Think writing for the web is easy? Think again. You need to hold your audience’s attention by penning down engaging ideas in a non-flowery, straight-to-the-point language. Luckily, you can train yourself plenty in writing succinctly and clearly on Twitter.

Essentially, writing tweets is a skill since you have a limited character count to express your ideas. As you practice writing them, you’ll learn how to cut straight to the point, write clearly, and even write conversationally.

In addition to these writing lessons, Twitter has taught me:

✔  It’s okay to rewrite. In fact, rewriting is what helps you explain your point clearly.

✔  Brevity is, in fact, the wit of the soul. Limited characters mean you learn to give up short paragraphs.

✔  How to make my tweets about the reader, not myself.

3. Learn new things daily

Lastly, you can learn new things (based on who you follow) on Twitter. In fact, there are exactly four ways Twitter can serve as your daily teacher:

👉  Discover great content

Including eBooks, free conferences, webinars, blogs, and a lot more. The people and businesses you follow can be your primary source of finding such brilliant content. Alternatively, you can surf relevant hashtags and find accounts sharing interesting content.

👉  Find opportunities to participate and learn

I believe there’s a lot to learn by doing things yourself. With Twitter, I’ve found myself participating in challenges as well as being invited as a guest host on various Twitter chats. I’ve also had people reach out to me to ask me to contribute to their articles.

See what’s happening there? I’m learning (as well as getting exposure) from the opportunities coming my way. Be consistent in using Twitter for professional development and engaging with your audience and you’ll see such opportunities come your way.

Pro tip: follow the #journorequest if you’re interested in sharing your insights (on topics that you’re an expert on) and getting features in various publications.

👉  Learn new tips and facts from the accounts you follow

Lots of people on Twitter are dedicated to sharing their experiences, lessons they learn, pro tips, interesting stats and facts, and more on Twitter. So, if you’re following the right accounts, you can learn lots from their tweets every day.

On top of that, you can learn from people as you participate in Twitter chats. You’ll see that everyone has unique thoughts on a topic that a chat discusses, giving you a good channel to learn from others.

👉  Learn by sharing your insights on Twitter

Lastly, you can strengthen your grip on topics that you’re knowledgeable in by sharing about them on Twitter. For example, you can share what you’ve learned from a project by tweeting about it.

Here’s an example thread:

Plus, as you participate in chats and share your insights, you’ll see that you’re learning more and getting confident about sharing your opinion with others. That’s a win-win!

In short…

Connect with the right people on Twitter, engage with them, and share your insights. One last thing: be consistent with using the platform. If you plan to use it one day, but ditch it the other day, you really can’t expect to pick anything from it.