Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fabulous & Fun Fridays - Twitter 101

After being at much of a loss of what to do for Fabulous & Fun Fridays this week, I was given a great idea from a friend and fellow Etsian Artist member.  Last week I opened up a Twitter Account for our Etsian Artists Team and since then have been out promoting it around in an effort to gain followers for the greater good of this team.  During such time it was brought to my attention that there are members of this team that all though they would like to follow along, they can't!  Why?  Because they don't have a Twitter account and do not know how to use it.  

I had forgotten just how scary and foreign Twitter was when I first opened my account.  Now that I am sitting here thinking about it, I am remembering just how confused and overwhelmed I really was in the beginning.  Wishing that I had someone to show me the ropes!  I will tell you what though, as overwhelming as it seems in the beginning, once you get the hang of it, you will be sailing off totally forgetting that there was ever a time that you didn't get it!  Which is where I am at now, and why the thought never ever crossed my mind that this would be a good topic for Friday.

Lets start with the basics..... What is Twitter anyhow?  Twitter is a network comprised of information in the form of a "Tweet"  What is a "Tweet?"  A Tweet is information given in 140 characters or less.   Everything on Twitter, whether you are posting a status update or filling out your bio on your profile, is 140 characters or less.  I would say that that is probably the hardest part about Twitter to get use to.

Basically when you learn Twitter, you are going to have to learn a new language.  This language consists of short forms instead of whole words, hashtags (#) and mentions (@).  
  • Hashtags are basically like a tag on Etsy only they are words that start with a # symbol.  So for example if you were to tweet your new listing on Etsy for an ACEO card you just created you might add the hashtag #ACEO to your tweet so that your tweet will appear to anyone searching that hashtag.  Twitter always gives you a list updated daily of the most popular hashtags so it is smart to pay attention to this list and use them in your tweets to gain more visibility.
  • Mentions are usernames starting with the @ symbol.  Facebook has now adopted this method so many people might already be familiar with this from FB and not even realize it.  So if you want to direct your tweet to a certain person  then you would include their Twitter username beginning with the @ symbol and they will receive that tweet in their timeline.  You can include multiple @mentions in a single tweet.
As for the short forms, this is something you will have to learn as you go as I can't possibly list them all here. lol  If any of you are fans of texting then you may already know quite a few and they do just carry over to Twitter.  Some common examples are...
  • ttys = talk to you soon
  • brb = be right back
  • ab/abt = about
  • b/c =  because
  • bfn = Bye for now
  • cre8 = create
  • em =  email
  • ema = email address
  • fab = fabulous
  • prt = please retweet
  • rt = retweet
  • twewbie = anyone who is using this blog post a twitter newbie
Here is an excellent Twitter Dictionary with over 130 Twitter abbreviations, words, phrases and tools to get you going.

Now you may still be wondering why the need to even learn this new and confusing language, I mean you've been living for this long with out it just fine, right!? Wrong!  You just don't even yet know what you've been missing.  Especially if you are a member of the Etsian Artists Team that means you own an Etsy Shop, which means that you are always looking for new ways to promote and network.  Twitter is easy once you get the hang of it.  It is also FREE! There are millions of people on Twitter some of which are bound to like what you do, maybe even enough to want to buy it!

The trick to using Twitter successfully for your Etsy business is to learn to use it in a meaningful way.  The worst thing you can do is appear like a robot with no emotion, just tweeting out your new listing every time you list a new item on Etsy.  Think of Twitter like a room full of people, it's a really big room with A LOT of people in it.  Everyone is connecting through little conversations here and there, sharing information with each other in a meaningful way.  You don't want to be that guy or gal that just walks into the room and starts shouting out "hey look at me, I just listed a new art card on Etsy!  Look at it!!!"  and then you disappear and tomorrow you walk back into that room and you do it again, yelling the exact same thing in a different color.  This is the fastest way to get ignored and to lose followers!  Don't worry though, you will get a chance to share your new listings, you just need to learn how to do it right.

When it comes down to it, if you want people to look at what you got, then you have to be willing to look at what they've got.  If you put in a little time, you WILL reap the rewards.  The easiest way to do this is to work Twitter into your daily routine.  I assume most of us are the same in the way that we check our email, our Etsy shops, our blogs, our team and our FB's  all on a daily basis, now you just need to add Twitter to that list too.  When you log onto your twitter account and you are looking at your homepage, you are looking at a timeline.  A timeline shows you whats going on with all of the people that you are following.  Just as what is going on with you will show up in the timelines of whom ever is following you.  It is important to follow people that interest you, this is what will help to make Twitter a useful tool that works for you.  For example, if you do not know a single thing about sports and nor do you care, then a sports caster is not exactly the type of person that you are going to want to follow.  However if you are an abstract artist and that sports caster enjoys abstract art then he might want to follow you.  This doesn't mean that you are obligated to follow him back.  I do realize that there is controversy on this subject so I guess this is a matter of opinion.  There are many people out there that will follow anybody and everybody,  the you follow me and I will follow you, regardless of whether or not you interest me types.  However I do follow every other Etsy shop that follows me and even the ones that don't.  That is the only circumstance where I do become the 'you follow me and I will follow you type' lol But that is because Etsy intersts me! Outside of Etsy then I am mainly just following anything art related or the random occasional Twitterer that seems interesting to me.  I have had many the sportscasters follow me but I don't follow them back.  I don't think this is rude nor do I think that it is considered to be rude.  This is how Twitter works and that is what keeps it working properly for people.  If your timeline gets crowded full of stuff that doesn't interest you then it no longer becomes fun or interesting and you are no longer giving it any attention and it has then at that point failed as a tool.  This is why following people that interest you only is so important!

Back to your homepage and timelines.  When  you look through your timeline it is important to look at stuff, click on stuff and share stuff.  For example, I have a few followers that I also follow them back.  These followers are very kind and quite often, pretty much daily they retweet my tweets.  This means they have taken something I tweeted and shared it with all of their followers.  So I will return the favor.  When I look through my timeline I will not only look for stuff that seems interesting to me but also for tweets from those key followers so that I can retweet their tweets in return.  It is also proper etiquette to reply a thank you to those that have retweeted your tweets.

You may be wondering now how you will know if your tweets have been retweeted.  When you are logged into your homepage there are several tabs, the one right next to timeline is @mentions and then retweets is next.  If you click on the @mentions tab this will show you all the tweets that you are mentioned in.  The retweets tab is a bit more complicated.  Under this tab there are 3 categories of retweets that you can view.  
  • Retweets by others = People that you follow have retweeted tweets from people they follow.  These tweets might not necessarily have anything to do with you but the people that you follow have found them interesting enough to retweet so you might in turn think that they are interesting.
  • Retweets by you = This will show you all the tweets that you retweeted. Easy
  • Your Tweets Retweeted = This will show you who has been retweeting your tweets.  This is good to pay attention to because you will want to go down the list and give a reply of thank you, you need to atleast acknowledge that it happened or they may not bother to do it anymore.  This is something that is good for you, especially if it is your Etsy items and shop that they are retweeting.  For any example I have 431 followers but one of those followers who retweets everything I post has 6000 followers so even though I only have 431 followers, I can be sure that everything I tweet is being seen by over 6000 followers thanks to a very kind follower of mine.  So I make sure that I thank this person everytime as this is a huge benefit to me!
The next 2 tabs on your homepage are search and lists.  The search tab will not show you any information until you start saving your searches.  So if there is a popular subject that you search quite often you might want to save this search so that instead of typing it in the search bar everyday you can simply click on it under the search tab of your homepage and have instant access to the results.

Lists are a bit more complicated.  Your 2 options under Lists is Lists you created and Lists following you.  You can create lists to organize who you follow.  For example you might create a list of all the Etsy Shops that you follow so that when you view your timeline all of the Etsy shops will only show up under your list.  You could potentially list all of the people you follow if you were really organized.  Lists can be private or public.  If a list is public then you can follow other peoples lists.  If they are private then you can't.  If you want to be removed from a list then you can remove yourself by blocking the creator of the list.
Click HERE for full detailed instructions on how to use Twitter Lists.

To take even further advantage of Twitter you can even connect it to your other social networking sites such as FB, Blogger and Flickr just to name a few so that everything you do on those sites automatically post to your Twitter page.  If you are not automatically connected most sites give you the option to share on Twitter anyhow.  If you blog you have probably seen the share options at the bottom of every blog post on Blogger and one of those options is the big blue T for Twitter.  Just click that button and it will bring up your tweet already to go unless you want to add any hashtags or @mentions to it.  

If you are on Etsy and you Tweet then you should positively start following @handmadebot and once you do then you can add the #handmadebot hashtag to all of your Etsy related tweets and once you do that handmadebot will automatically retweet your tweet to thousands of people in the handmade community.  There use to be one called Etsybot that did the same but I have noticed that it stopped retweeting mine and others tweets so I'm not sure what happened to that one. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.  

I think this should be enough to get you started on Twitter.  Once you are signed up go to this discussion in our Team Forum to share your Twitter accounts so we can all follow each other.  I hope this tutorial is helpful to those not yet familiarized with Twitter and I look forward to following you and reading your tweets soon!

1 comment:

  1. I've been considering Twitter for a while. I'm having an in depth read so that I'll have some sort of clue what to do.
    Now all we need is Facebook 101 and I'll be sorted!!
    Many thanks for doing this. It must have taken ages.


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