(The Root) — A recent poll by social recruiting company Jobvite revealed that 46 percent of the American workforce now uses Twitter. And most of those people are higher-skilled, higher-paid individuals who are using the social media tool as a vehicle to find new job opportunities.
Personal branding is a critical piece of attracting those potential opportunities, and the number of Twitter followers you have is one of the metrics that prospective employers will use to gauge the strength of your brand. If professional networking is at least part of the reason you're on Twitter and you've found yourself lacking in followers, a few things could be holding you back. Here are three ways to improve your chances.
Your Profile Picture Is Missing
This is probably the biggest reason you may not be getting the followers you should. People like to make a visual connection to the folks they follow. Also, just having that egg as your avatar can be a signal to some people that the account is a fake, and who would want to follow that? Add a recent photo in which you're easily recognizable.
I can tell you right now, if your username is something like "@sexy_kitty" or "@gettindatmoney," I'm probably not going to follow you, and you may have a challenge getting other professionals to follow you as well. (I have actually noticed a few adults with similar Twitter handles.) Generic names such as "@smith_1901" may also raise a fake-account red flag. Best advice is to send tweets using your a handle with your full name. Two separate accounts — one for private and another for professional use — may be a good idea, too.
Your Most Recent Tweets
Before they decide to follow you (or not), most professionals will take a look at your bio and your most recent tweets. If all of your tweets over the last 24 hours consist of Instagram pictures of you in the mirror or updates of what you ate for lunch, your personal brand may not be as well represented as you think. Retweeting or replying to tweets in your field of interest or linking to your own work should be at least as prominent in your Twitter feed as anything else.
If you utilize Twitter strictly for social and entertainment purposes, you probably don’t have much to worry about as it relates to your account. But if you'd like to take advantage of the power of the social network for its career-advancement potential, it's worth a closer look at your profile to make sure you're putting your best foot forward.
Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.