Welcome to the fifth installment of our Social Recruiting Pro Tips Series. If you’ve signed up for Twitter and are wondering how to get started, this post is for you. Our latest edition features ten beginner’s steps from author and sourcing expert Amybeth Quinn (@researchgoddess). Amybeth shares her thoughts on how the Twitter platform is suited for recruiting tech talent – and how you can get started engaging on-the-go pros today. Stay tuned in 2015 as we continue to deliver expert advice and actionable tips from industry experts on social sourcing, assessments and engagements. The famous marketing adage “fish where the fish are” is equally prudent when it comes to sourcing tech professionals. So, given the millions of tech pros on Twitter, is there a better place to have a social presence? Not according to Amybeth Quinn, Talent Acquisition Partner at Hewlett Packard. Amybeth advises recruiters to leverage the sheer weight of the tech twitosphere by following these ten beginner’s steps to successful Twitter engagement: 1. Craft a memorable Twitter handle. Make it personal, and make it professional. Using your real name when possible is best, but if that isn’t possible (Mike Smith?), at least consider a handle that contains words that identify you in a way that is relevant to your calling, i.e. TechRecruiter, SourcingSavant, etc. AmyBeth recommends using a site called NameChk.com to search the availability of your handle. For consistency, she also advices using the same name/handle across all of your social media networks. 2. Write a profile like a pro. Your Twitter profile is essentially the landing page for your personal brand. So make it succinct, compelling and relevant to your tech audiences. Use a real picture, preferably one that you’re using across other social networks to keep consistency and make it easier to identify you. Treat your bio like SEO copy by including key words that sum up the spheres you operate in. Don’t get cute. If you want to be taken seriously, opt for a straight-forward bio like this: Tech recruiter, talent acquisition maven, horse lover, foodie, wine connoisseur and soccer coach. Include your URL, and if you don’t have a blog or website, link to a more in depth bio of yourself on Linkedin or elsewhere. 3. The power of the right hashtags. Fact: Tweets with one or two hashtags get Retweeted much more often than Tweets without hashtags. Perhaps you already know that a hashtag is simply the use of a pound sign (or hash) to transform any word (or group of words) following it into a searchable link. You should also know that a well-chosen hashtag can be the engine of your success when trying to engage tech pros on Twitter. So, if you wanted to engage cloud engineers with your post, you could choose to use hashtags like #CloudComputing, #CloudExpo, #Azure, #OpenStack, etc., within your tweet to join the conversation. The important thing here is to use key words in your hashtag that are relevant to the tech pros you’re sourcing. 4. Join the conversation with mentions and @replies. You can engage anyone on Twitter by clicking the Reply button on their Tweet and adding an opinion or comment. This is a great way to make tech candidates aware of you while letting them know you’re impressed with what they have to say. You can also mention anyone with a Twitter account in your Tweets by including an @username in the body of your Tweet. When you do this, the target of your mention will see your Tweet in their Mentions tab. With any luck, they may @reply you and continue the conversation. 5. Retweeting works. A Retweet is just that: a re-posting of someone else’s Tweet. Choose Tweets and content that make sense and help establish your organization as a relevant player. This is where you create your organization’s voice. Imagine you’re trying to start a conversation with Big Data engineers when you come across a Tweet that links to an article on open source software. This would be great content to Retweet and begin growing some credibility with this audience. AmyBeth also stresses the value of Retweeting hiring managers and experts at your company to gain an extra layer of reach. 6. An image is worth a 1,000 characters. And since you only get 140 characters in a Tweet, images can say a lot. Add a photo for amplified results. Tweets with images receive more click throughs, more favorites and way more Retweets. Simply type your tweet, tap the add photo icon and select a photo from your gallery. You can add up to four images at once to Tweet. Images are a great way to showcase your office, people and culture. For instance, if you’re attending a conference like CloudExpo, snap a selfie, Tweet it and gain instant credibility with techies. 7. Effective direct messaging. While the value of Twitter as a sourcing/recruiting tool is that it’s open to the world (and all those tech pros you want to engage), there are times when you may want to communicate privately to a follower (and candidate). You can do that with a Direct Message. Just click on the Messages icon at the top of your profile page, click on the New Message button, select the person you’re messaging, type your message and hit send. If the follower you’re direct messaging is a tech candidate you don’t really know personally, be mindful of their privacy. Think about their best interests first. What’s in it for them? Give them a compelling reason why you singled them out. For instance, you might compliment a developer on some code they may have contributed on GitHub. A personal touch goes a long way in making a great first impression. 8. Scheduling Tweets. Timing isn’t everything in scheduling your Tweets. Scheduling is also about the kind of content you put out there. AmyBeth recommends following an 80/20 rule in the content of your Tweets. She sees this working a couple ways. Eighty percent of your Tweets can be supportive of your community through Retweets and adding value and comments, while 20 percent can be about you (or your company). Or 80 percent can be about driving engagement through questions and sharing article links with the other 20 percent consisting of call-to-action or brand-centric content in the form of job postings and company press releases. In any case, the key is to share more than you request because candidates won’t care what you know until they know you care. Also, consider the use of a content calendar to help you organize both the timing and type of content you Tweet out. 9. Find and follow others. Maximize your Twitter experience by finding and following Twitter accounts that can significantly impact your tech recruiting efforts. Look for leading companies, experts and news sources in the tech world. Seek out the leaders in your own company and see who they admire and follow. Consider using a freemium site called followerwonk.com that allows you to search user bios. Or search Twitter profiles for job titles, employer names or skills that might hint at job skills you’re trying to source. Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and search the actual Tweets for any clues to skills the user might possess. For instance, if someone shares a Tweet that contains “github,” you may have uncovered an open source developer. 10. Create a Twitter list. Once you become familiar with Twitter basics, you can begin to explore this social site’s more advanced features. One of the most popular with seasoned recruiters is the Twitter list. This is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own list by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists. Then click on Create a list. Enter a name for your list, a short description of the list and select if you want the list to be private or public. Save the list. Now you’re ready to begin adding people to your list. The beauty of curated lists is that you don’t necessarily have to create them yourself (but you should create private lists, too). Many are actually already created and made public. These will group techs by skills, job titles, interests and locations. The trick, however, is finding them. Try a Google search typing in keywords consisting of job titles, skills, etc. Relevant lists for tech recruiters might include those candidates you’ve identified as having specific skillsets including cloud, open source development, Java, iOS, SAP, etc. Having techs curated into defined lists gives you a quick and convenient way to catch up on the Twitter activity of a particular group you’re attempting to source. If you’re not leveraging the awesome engagement potential of Twitter, you’re missing the opportunity to make meaningful connections with top tech professionals. By applying a few Twitter basics, you can begin immediately tapping into a far greater pool of talent. ——————————————————————————————————————————– To download slides from Amybeth Quinn’s “Real-Time Recruiting: The role of Twitter in tech recruiting” click here or view the presentation below.