I thought I would give you a few insights into Twitter and your business, so hopefully I can help you avoid tweet-anxiety!
First of all, if you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s a service that gives you a platform to answer the question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. Characters include letters, spaces, and punctuation! It’s also commonly referred to as “microblogging.” If you haven’t checked Twitter out, but you are familiar with Facebook, then you are probably familiar with the status updates on Facebook – same idea.
You can access your Twitter account via the Twitter main page, but it is much more usable if you use other methods to access it, such as a twitter client in iGoogle or even with your mobile phone. If you are a frequent Facebooker, you can set FB up to post to your Twitter account when you update your status in FB. There’s a lot more to know about this subject, but I’m not going to focus on that here.
A “tweet” is what Twitterers call their posts. You can tweet about anything. Start with the standard question posed by Twitter: “What are you doing?” The answer can be as simple as what you are having for breakfast (trust me, a LOT of people tweet about that!) or you can be as broad or as specific as you want to be.
Tweeting for Business:
Many Twitterers-for-business tweet about when they have listed a new product in their shop (along with URL to said item), or the title of their newest blog post, along with appropriate link. It’s totally fine to tweet about what you’ve been producing, but make sure you mix other stuff in there, too! Nobody likes a string of 10 just-promotional tweets because:
Twitter is, at its heart, still a social network! Remember when Myspace was a fun way to keep track of your friends and promote your business? I barely remember that, either, because now that it’s used primarily for promotion (and SPAM!!), I don’t even log into my account anymore. Once you’ve been on Twitter a few weeks and you notice that some of your friends are all-business, you’ll get bored with the friend who only tweets about her newest listing on Etsy. Remember:
You don’t always have to tweet about your business. Even if your Twitter account is named the same thing as your Etsy shop, your tweets don’t always have to be on topic. In fact, it’s better if they aren’t. Twitter is a way to personally connect with your friends, customers, and potential customers. They want to get to KNOW you, not just be notified when you have a new blog post! Let them know what you ate for breakfast and if your toddler is getting into your crafting supplies. Personal posts will elicit:
On Twitter, you can interact with your fellow Twitterers by sending them comments. Usually, these comments are reactions to what others are tweeting about. You send a comment by typing the @ symbol followed directly by the user’s name. (If you want to tweet to me, type @dollarcraft)
Sending comments to others is a great way to interact and make an impression on others. Pay attention to them, and they will pay attention to you, and possibly start noticing and/or buying your products!
Limitation of Characters:
You only have 140 characters to get your point across in. Be concise and descriptive as possible! URLs can be shaved down by using a service like TinyURL that automatically shortens long URLs so they fit better in a Twitter-type microblog.
Following and Followers:
Once you sign up for Twitter, you might be like, “now what?” To really make it work, you need to follow and be followed. Find some crafty online friends who you already know, or bloggers who you read who also tweet, and follow them. If you need to get started, you can follow me: dollarcraft. If you start following me, send me a tweet so I know why you’re following and where you found out about me!
Many people who you follow will automatically follow you back. Some people believe you should follow all the people who follow you. I don’t. It depends on what you want to get out of Twitter. If it is just a promotional tool for your business, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t follow everyone who follows you. If you actually want to interact with people, it starts to get harder to interact with the people you really care about if you have too many friends. At some quantity, you lose quality of communication.
You can decide for yourself where you stand! I would love to hear your opinion!
So what do I tweet about?
- What you ate for breakfast.
- Other things you are doing today. (“Going to see Watchmen with my girlfriend FTW!”)
- Things you’re doing that have to do with your business (“packing up order for Singapore!”)
- Challenges you’re facing in your business (“ran out of jump rings! placing emergency order!” or “my toddler just ate my new cupcakes!”)
- @replies to others (“Congrats on the Sampler mention @wonderlandq”)
- Randomness (“I like to eat peas with honey and put them on my knife”)
- Promotion of your new Etsy listings, new blog entries, or anything else you want to draw attention (and clicks) to.
- Promotion of others is a very friendly Twitter practice (“Check this awesome blog post about dyeing eggs with silk ties from @dollarcraft! http://tinyurl.com/cnkrhj“)
- A “ReTweet” is repeating the exact tweet from someone else, usually preceded by the letters RT (for Retweet) and an @reply attribution to the original tweeter. (Example: RT @dollarcraftRosar Pomar ripped off by Oilily??! http://tinyurl.com/ct7j8b)
Hopefully that helps a bit with what you should post on Twitter! Basically, anything goes. Once you are following others for a few days, you will get a feel for the types of things people post, and the kinds of tweets you respond to. Emulate those you admire!
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter!