Are you Twitter-curious? There are innumerable sustainability-related hashtags on Twitter these days, and it can seem a daunting task to try to get your feet wet in this social media sphere for the first time.

At its simplest, a tweet is an expression of a moment or idea. Millions of tweets are shared every day, many of which contain not only a text, but also photos and videos embedded in 140 characters! Don’t be overwhelmed at first glance: Twitter can be picked up quickly and the rewards are worth the time spent in learning how to tweet (just ask our principals - @JenAndSustain, @JW_Sustrana, and @Nancy_Cleveland!).

This social media channel is the perfect realm to share your company’s employee engagement stories, best supply chain practices, or latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) report. Simultaneously, it’s the perfect place to educate yourself on current industry trends, as well as updates and successes of customers and competitors, so you can place your company advantageously.

What’s an “MT”, an “RT”, or a #FF, you might ask? If the thought of tweeting is still overwhelming, you might want to start by following some of the top-ranked tweeters in CSR, or in your own industry. You’ll be able to easily learn from their tweet composition styles, and find the right place to jump into conversations. Then to build your own clout – simply ask questions, retweet, and dive into the chatter yourself! Soon, you may find yourself amongst those listed here or here.

Twitter is unlike traditional letters and resumes; it allows users to instantaneously communicate on a topic with other users around the world – who may agree or disagree with your viewpoints. In either case, this is free speech and networking at its finest! Chime into a topic-related Twitter Chat for instantaneous education, inspiration, and conversation.

I’ve personally connected with dozens of professional contacts through Twitter, sometimes even leading up to having coffee with sustainability leaders in my neighborhood. I’ve also enjoyed following and using hashtags in real time at conferences, which facilitates immediate handshakes with fellow participants at the end of the day.

The real value of Twitter is not the up-to-the-minute sustainability news you’ll share and receive, but the personal, mutually beneficial business relationships that can be made. Social media truly opens up a global network of opportunities for learning, building connections and strengthening your brand.