Friday, January 18, 2013

Beginner's Tutorial for Using Twitter

Are you lost on twitter? Does it confuse you? Maybe you're scared to sign up or don't know how to use it effectively? Do you care? You should.

Twitter can be a powerful tool for your online business. It can also be a wonderful place to make new friends. Ideally, you will combine the two. I'll try to help you figure out how.

1. First, set up a Twitter account.
The best way to do this is to make it the same as your Etsy ID, your Artfire ID, your domain name, etc. You want to trademark yourself across the internet and be recognizable.

2. Fill out your profile and add an avatar.
This makes you more accessible and people can more easily gauge if you'd be a good person for them to follow.

3. Find some people to follow.
Don't go crazy and just follow anybody. That will end up driving you crazy and add to your confusion later. Twitter has a search box about halfway down on the righthand side where you can search by subjects. Are you a painter? Type art, artist, painting, acrylic, or something similar in the search box and you will find people who have used those "hash tags" recently. These are probably people you will want to check out.

It is also good to find people who share the same hobbies with you, so it's not always about business on Twitter. Do you like to garden? Try searching gardening terms. Or cooking terms. Or music.

It is also a good idea to figure out your target market for your business and aim at having some of those people follow you, too. Do you sew and sell purses? You might try finding well-known fashion magazines on Twitter and following a few of the people who follow those magazines.

4. Comment and reply on the people you follow.
If you see a tweet that sounds interesting or asks a question, answer it! Make sure it is addressed to the person you are replying to so they see it. Meaningful conversations are a great way to meet people and become known on Twitter. Other people can see the conversation and think, "Hey, that person sounds interesting! Let me check them out!"

5. Follow back.
You don't have to follow back everyone who follows you. But check out their profile. If they look interesting, follow them back! If they just spam links to their own items, feel free to pass.

6. Make a few interesting tweets throughout the day.
Don't be one of those people who tweets what they are doing 24/7. No one will care if you are going to the bathroom at 7:47 am and eating toast at 7:52 am and waiting for the mailman at 8:02am. Tweet things that others will respond to or find something in common with or that are just plain interesting. Tweet a few things in the morning to connect with the morning crowd, a few things in the afternoon for a different crowd, and a few things in the evening, too.

7. Let people know you're now using Twitter.
Do you have a facebook fan page? (New tip of the day blog post about that soon) Let your fans know your twitter link. Do you have a blog? Put a 'Follow me on twitter' link there. Visit discussion forums and join in on the twitter talks and see if anyone there looks interesting and add your links if they do.

8. Visit
Here you will find a ton of categories to browse to make it easier to find people you'd be interested in following in the subjects that interest you.

9. Be somewhat consistent.
Don't post a ton of stuff on Monday and then forget to check for a week. People like other active people and will engage much better if you're active. And interesting. (Notice a theme, yet?)

10. Use Direct Messaging sparingly.
This is a big one with a lot of twitterers. DMs are for saying things to people that you don't want public. A lot of people use DMs to spam. Don't do this. Don't send a DM saying "Hey, thanks for the follow. Come buy my stuff." Don't send a DM saying "Retweet this for me". Don't send DMs just to say "Hi."

Originally posted on my blog in March of 2010

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