If you’re already a Twitter aficionado, skip this post. This is for folks who are just diving in and trying to figure out how to use Twitter effectively. I have three Twitter profiles (@TheJewelryLoupe, @clmccarthy and @TheCityTraveler ) with almost 1,700 followers altogether. Some of the folks I follow have several thousand followers on one.
I spend very little time on Twitter compared to them but I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I’ve been alerted more than once to news and juicy bits of information I would never have found on my own. I’ve “met” some cool people and gotten to know others better, sometimes people I’ve known peripherally for years. It’s also proven to be an effective marketing tool.
Where social media is concerned, I’m about maximizing returns and minimizing effort. If that’s your goal, let me offer some shortcuts – and feel free to weigh in with your own in the comments.
Post regularly …at least until you get the hang of it. It takes a bit of practice to get in on the conversation here; don’t abandon the effort too soon. If you only have 100 followers, don’t expect a dozen responses to every pronouncement. (That’ll come later, after you’ve acquired Twitter fame.) If you feel like you’re tweeting into the wind, try responding directly to others. Yes, it’s kind of like a cocktail party that way.
Some people check in and post all day long, via Hoot Suite or TweetDeck Personally, I find ongoing Twitter and Facebook conversations fun but distracting – perfect for procrastinating, not so good for productivity. But for you, tweeting may prove to be a virtual water cooler, a way of staying in touch with customers, clients and friends while you work.
Be responsive. If I post in the morning, I try to check back a couple hours later. If someone has retweeted or sent a direct message (DM), it’s best to respond the same day. I know if I direct a comment at someone using their Twitter tag, I look for a response. (It took me a while to get the hang of that.)
Don’t retreat, retweet. See something interesting? Share it with your followers. Retweeting is the easiest way to update your tweets and help others at the same time. Do this by clicking “retweet” to the right of a tweet, or cut and paste (adding RT @ upfront) then add your own comment.
You can even retweet a retweet. (Should I be alarmed that I can say that with a straight face?) Let’s say you post a new piece of jewelry on your site, then link to it on Twitter. A follower sees it, likes it and retweets to his 5,000 followers – some of mine have 15,000 or more – that’s how many potential eyes just picked up your post. If you retweet his retweet (with a quick thanks), anyone searching for his tag will pick that up as well.
Avoid auto DMs. Twitter allows you to set up an automatic response to anyone who follows you. This looks like a brilliant, easy way to encourage people to visit your site but it’s become a royal pain. Every time I do a mass follow-back I get flooded with spam DM/emails that say things like: “Thanks for following! I tweet about blah-blah. Please check out my site.”
Guess what? If I followed you first, I already checked out your tweets and the link posted on your Twitter profile. And if you follow me first, you can bet I’ll look that up before I follow back. For folks who don’t do this bit of due diligence, is a DM really going to make a difference? I doubt it. Now, if you want to DM me to say hello and introduce yourself, please do. But use my name or say something to indicate you visited my blog first. That scores points.
Hashtag it. Another way to increase the chance that people will find your Twitter post is to hashtag it. If you put a numeral symbol (#) in front of a word, it creates a live link. Click on #diamonds, #handmade or #lampwork, for example, and you’ll see the most recent posts with those hashtags. These links don’t lead to anything if there is no hashtag set up for them so, unless you want to create your own, do a quick search for the most-used hashtags on that topic.
If you have an online shop, you’ll increase you’re chances of being found and retweeted by adding #etsy, #ebay, #1000markets (or #1KM), #artfire or whatever applies. Any major event or craft show will likely have its own hashtag. When I tweeted from the Tucson gem shows, for example, I used #TucsonGemShow. Sometimes @Tucson_Gem_Show or the Tucson CVB retweeted.
Use Twitter names. If I’m referring to someone in a tweet, I always search to see if they have a Twitter profile first. If they do, I use their Twitter tag as a live link so they will find it (and hopefully retweet). I always try to do this with jewelry designers and artists I profile here. If I profile you and you’re on Twitter, all you have to do is click “retweet” to send that link to your followers. Hopefully, some of them will retweet it to theirs. Instant free publicity for both of us. See how easy this is?