Twitter Basics – Social Recruiting for Beginners

So you’ve been told that you need to be more active on Twitter as a recruiter, right? Well for most people that really boils down to where do you start? What’s a retweet and how do you contact people? What in the WORLD does DM mean? Don’t panic! We’re here to decode and define these terms for you so that the next time you get an urge to tweet, you can do it with style.

Set Up Your Profile

Start by adding a header photo (1500 X 500px), a profile image (400 X 400px), a bio (max of 160 characters) a website link and a theme color. You can also add your birthday and your location, but those two aren’t super necessary for an optimized profile. Make sure to choose professional wording and approachable imagery. More details on creating an awesome profile can be found here in our blog post A New You! Rebranding Your Recruitment Persona. If you are a current client of ours, contact us and we’ll do it for free!

Find People to Follow

A great place to start is to search for other people you know, businesses you like or associations you are a part of. You’ll be surprised how quickly your list will grow. The goal here is to find people that will show you information you want to see on a regular basis.

Send Your First Tweet!

With just 140 characters, the name of the game with Twitter is to keep it simple. Consider your audience, your tone and what you want to address before sending one out.You can also include a hashtag.

AHHH! WHAT IS A HASHTAG and how do I use one?!!??

Don’t worry, we’ll get to that shortly.

Use Your Timeline

Once you follow people you don’t have to go to their individual pages to see their tweets anymore. They will just show up in your timeline in order of timeliness. Of course, if you feel you’ve missed some, you can always navigate back to their page as well.

Now that you have a profile, here’s some jargon that will help you navigate the Twitter-verse.

DM stands for Direct Message. Though many people choose to use the reply feature of Twitter, if you’d like to send something confidential or specific to another user, you can always send them a direct message. For instance, recruiters can ask if certain candidates are looking for a job at the moment or would they consider relocation. Just keep in mind that that sort of thing works best if you build a social relationship first though.

Your username is called a handle. It looks like this within a tweet: @hargerhoweadv.

When you retweet someone, it simply means that you are sharing their content as is. You may also see RT, which means that someone is retweeting content, but copying and pasting it in themselves. Usually, you would just see a retweet symbol that looks like two arrows going around in circles. Some users lock their tweets so that you cannot retweet them, but most people allow it to increase their overall reach.

In most basic terms, reply is just what it states! It’s a way to reply to another user’s tweet. All you have to do is use the @ and then put in the username. Example: @hargerhoweadv how do you find inspiration for blog articles? #stumped to which we would reply, @supercoolrecruiter we just listen to our clients and produce things we think they would want to read!

A mention is when someone uses a person’s handle in the text of a tweet, which means that yes, replies can most certainly be considered mentions.

Hashtags are basically topics that people use for the any of the following reasons:

  1. To tag onto a trending topic,
  2. To signify a theme such as #TBT (throw back Thursday)
  3. To organize a social stream for future searches.

Typically, it is best to limit tweets to no more than two hashtags.

Trends are popular topics determined by an algorithm that help you discover new and cool things happening around you or in your industry. For instance, this week, you may see a trend of posting #Christmasweek.


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