Personal branding is the latest buzz. Everyone is talking about building a personal brand and how it is helping them. Well, there is definitely truth to that.
As a programmer, your personal brand is like a resume or portfolio that you are putting out in the online world. Anyone who wants to hire you, work for you, or associate with you in any way, will judge you based on your personal brand.
Having a strong personal brand will build your reputation as a skilled programmer (preferably in your niche), help you gain visibility, and open up new, exciting opportunities for you.
Maintaining a strong personal brand will also help you network and stay up to date with the latest industry trends. It will leave behind a powerful trail of thought leadership that people will refer to later on.
As a programmer, personal branding is something you must focus on. Period. The sooner you start, the better. The fact that you’ve landed here shows that you are interested in building your personal brand. And what better way to start than with Twitter!
Twitter is one of the most powerful platforms to build your personal brand as a developer. The content is short, so you’re able to quickly reach more people, plus you’re able to stay up to date with the latest industry trends in your niche.
There are no general restrictions on following or connecting with people, hashtags can give your reach a massive boost, and, most importantly, you’ll get direct access to many fellow programmers, thought leaders, and influential decision-makers in the industry.
If you are keen on building a strong, impactful personal brand on Twitter as a programmer, then read on to learn some actionable strategies that actually work.
Define Your Brand and Programming Niche
Defining your brand is the first step you must take to start building your personal brand in the programming niche. Without that, you wouldn't know which direction to head toward.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want your brand to look like?
- How do you want others to perceive you?
- What programming niche and technical skills do you want to be known for?
- What is your value proposition? How are you unique compared to your fellow programmers?
- What are your future goals and aspirations?
Based on your answers to these questions, you’ll get a fair idea of what your ideal personal brand as a developer will look like. You don’t have to overthink your idea; it’s fine if you get it wrong now. You can always pivot and change directions later on.
But why do you need a niche for growing your personal brand on Twitter? Because when you define your brand and niche down, you’ll get more attention.
There are lots of programmers on Twitter. However, the ones that specialize in your programming niche are a very few. So, you are more likely to emerge as a strong thought leader in your niche on Twitter.
There are many ways to showcase your niche expertise on Twitter. You can add it to your profile bio, and you can also use niche-specific hashtags in your tweets. Plus, you can create and share content that is mostly related to your programming niche.
Try to go super niche with your branding. When you are a generalist coder, you face a lot of competition and lower visibility. Even if you are good at many things, stick to one niche in which you are an expert.
For example, instead of saying “developer,” you may say that you are a “PHP developer.” Or, instead of saying “front-end developer,” you can build your brand around “React JS developer.”
Optimize Your Twitter Profile
Your Twitter profile is going to be the highlight of the entire process of your personal branding. If you get this wrong, everything else won’t matter much. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Add a clear, professional headshot to your profile picture. The profile picture is your chance at making a good first impression. Hence, avoid things like pet photos, distracting backgrounds, or your website logo. Instead, come across as a confident and welcoming personality.
- Add a cover photo that adds credibility to your brand. For example, you can add a photo of you speaking at a conference, a graphic that states your programming skills, a snippet of your website, awards you have won, or anything relevant and interesting.
- Optimize your bio. It’s good to be witty and talk about your hobbies, but focus majorly on your programming skills. For example, if you specialize in VueJs, then mention that in your bio. Remember that Twitter also acts as a search engine, so when people search for a “VueJs Developer,” your profile should pop up.
- Add a link. You can link to your personal blog or website.
Follow Thought Leaders and Engage with Them
Twitter is full of super-influential people and decision-makers. Whatever your personal branding goals are, it’s good to catch the attention of top programming influencers.
Start by following these leaders on Twitter. By doing this, not only will you stay updated on the latest industry news, but you’ll also get a fair idea about what types of content these people put out and how leaders engage with their audience. Like, do they share snippets of code, latest industry updates, or expert coding tips?
Next, engage with them regularly. Comment on their posts. Retweet their posts and share your insights along with these retweets.
You can also tag such leaders on your tweets while sharing some content relevant to them. If your content is interesting enough, you might even get a retweet or a mention from them, which will be great for your visibility as a developer.
Remember to be authentic with your engagement. Do not comment on things just for the sake of it. If you disagree with someone, you can state that too. This kind of engagement will show people that you too are a leader and not just a mere follower in your programming niche.
Build Your Network
Apart from following and engaging with leaders, you should also connect with fellow programmers who share your interests.
When you share your expertise, you need to get the right kind of traction on your tweets and content. It is always important to find people who are active on Twitter, who will share programming skill sets with you, and who are likely to engage with your content.
Apart from your colleagues and people that you know in real life, you can find more people using Twitter search. Or, you can find people doing things similar to you, such as engaging with other programmers’ posts.
Whenever you come across such people, follow them and engage with them. Retweet their content. Favorite and comment on their tweets. You can also start conversations by sending personalized messages to them.
This way, people will start noticing your personal brand. They will know your area of expertise, and they will eventually start forming opinions about you. And a few may want to learn more about your personal brand.
This opens up a whole new set of opportunities for your future as a programmer. People will come to you for advice, offer you exciting opportunities, invite you to communities, etc. And that is how your personal brand will grow.
Put out Valuable Content
Creating and curating valuable content related to coding will be the main deciding factor in how people perceive your personal brand as a reliable developer, which is why this is the most important part of personal branding. If you don’t have time for this, then personal branding is not for you.
Curate Valuable Content
Curating content is an easier way compared to creating and sharing original content. You can curate valuable content either by retweeting others’ tweets or sharing great, valuable content that you come across every day, such as useful coding tips or upcoming tools in your niche.
For instance, if you come across a great YouTube tutorial related to programming, you can share that with your Twitter audience. You can also share blog posts, newsletters, images, infographics, and any other useful resources.
Create Original, Valuable Content
While curating other’s content is good, you should also be putting out original content. So, start tweeting about programming, thoughts, and tips related to your niche, or any day-to-day experiences.
Remember to score high on relatability. If more people can relate to your content, you’ll get more engagement.
You can also share any other original content that you create. For example, if you have a website where you put out blog posts and coding tutorials, then you can share them with your Twitter audience.
You can also create and share other interesting forms of content, such as illustrations and infographics related to programming—especially because tweets with images tend to get 150% more retweets.
You can create original infographics using free editable infographic templates and share them on Twitter.
Remember that adding value to others’ lives or solving pain points through your content is the key. These small pieces of content, when compounded together, will add more credibility to your personal brand, and people will start perceiving you as an expert in your programming niche.
Research Your Hashtags
Hashtags are super powerful tools to boost your engagement and increase your visibility on Twitter. Hashtags originated from Twitter back in 2007, and they have been adopted by various other platforms since.
Unfortunately, a lot of people still believe that hashtags are just for fun. If that was the case, then you wouldn’t see so many hashtag research tools on the market.
Hashtags are a way to categorize content on social media platforms. This means that by using hashtags, people can find, follow, and consume content that interests them. So, with the right use of hashtags, you can gain visibility and expand your reach to new audiences who are interested in programming.
For instance, if you tweet with the hashtag #phpdeveloper, the people following this hashtag will get your post in their feed. This is a brilliant way to grow your personal brand.
Using any random hashtags may work. But if you are more strategic about it, you’ll get better results. In fact, your tweets and content may even go viral!
You can use tools such as Hootsuite, Hastagify.me, RiteTag, or All Hashtag to find the right hashtags for your tweets. You can also look at other developers’ tweets and see which hashtags they are using.
Remember to experiment with your hashtags. The ones that work for others may not always work for you. So, switch up your hashtags and see which ones give you the best engagement. Also, stick to two or three hashtags on Twitter; do not overuse them.
Be Consistent and Experiment
Lastly, just like in everything else, consistency is key to building your personal brand as a programmer. Take time out of every day for your future.
Do not think of Twitter as just a social media channel. Twitter can be much more than that. Your future as a coder can be entirely different if you take a few minutes every day to be active on the platform.
Another thing to keep in mind is to experiment more, and keep an open mind. Question the usual. Experiment with different forms of content, such as humor. Try to bring something new to the table every day. Amaze the programmer community by creating mind-blowing content often.
One of the best things about Twitter is that you can view analytics, such as impressions, profile clicks, and expands. You don’t need any other tools for viewing them. These analytics can be helpful for you to understand what types of programming content resonate most with your Twitter audience.
Grow Your Personal Brand on Twitter and Secure Your Future as a Top Programmer
Personal branding is not just for top entrepreneurs and industry hotshots. Whatever your goals are as a programmer, you need to grow your personal brand.
The key to growing your brand is to stand out, stay unique, and add value—all this while staying authentic. Do not pretend to be something that you are not.
So, over to you now. Start using Twitter today to grow your personal brand as an expert programmer, and you’ll reap its benefits in the coming years.