Twitter. Either you love it, you hate it, or you’ve never used it. I think those are the most common 3 types of Twitter people out there. Over the course of the last year I have run into many, many crafters who tell me they hate Twitter, or they don’t know how to use it, or they have never used it. I think this is a shame because Twitter is a super useful tool for crafters.
I don’t want to spend a whole article telling you how to set up a Twitter, so if you have never used it, read this how-to article from Agent Genius and set your Twitter up in 12 easy steps. You might also enjoy The Ultimate guide For Everything Twitter to help you learn a bit more about how it works.
Once you set up a Twitter you want to gain followers, and besides following others and hoping they will return the favor, a really great way to help people find you is to use a hashtag (#). Read about hashtags here and here on Mashable so you know how to use them properly! Hashtags are most important because they help people searching on Twitter to find things. If you aren’t using hashtags at least some of the time, you are wasting a lot of your time tweeting.
Another really important thing to know when using Twitter is how to use shortened URLs when tweeting. Because you only have limited space of 140 characters, you don’t want to take up half your characters just on the URL. Use a service such as http://bit.ly/ or http://tinyurl.com/ to shorten your crazy long URLs into smaller, more manageable links.
Alright, now that you set up an account and you know what a hashtag is and how to shorten a URL, what I want to tell you is how, as a maker of things, you can use Twitter to help expand your business name, make sales, and make connections.
#1 Use Twitter to let people know you have posted a new product in your online shop
Whether you use Etsy or Meylah or any other online shopping site, when you add a new item to your shop, tweet about it! Send out a tweet with a brief item description and include a link (shortened URL preferably) directly to that item. One way to increase the likelihood that some one, besides people who already follow you, will see this tweet is to use a hashtag such as #etsy (if you listed it on Etsy) or #handmade. There are many others you can use, so search what you are selling and see if it has it’s own hashtage floating around. Using the hashtag means that people searching that tag will see your listing. The big question, I know, is you wonder is whether or not this will get you sales. I can say that many times I have sold an item almost immediately after posting the link to Twitter. Another awesome thing is that people can re-tweet to others to share your listing and that might get you a sale, or at least a new follower.
#2 Use Twitter to let people know you posted a new blog article
The same goes for blogs as for listing new product. When you write a new blog post, tweet a brief description of the new post, the shortened URL, and use a hashtag that relates to the post. You can use tags like #blog, or if it relates, use #etsy or #handmade here, too. There are lots of other hashtags for blogs, so search the topic of your post and see if it has a hashtag, then attach that to your blog post.
#3 Host a Give-Away on Twitter to Gain Followers
If you want to see the people who follow you grow, host a product give-away. Encourage people to re-tweet (abbreviated as RT) your give-away and tell them re-tweets will be entered into the drawing as well as new followers. The main reason I can see for doing a give-away on Twitter is to gain more followers, so make sure you clearly state it is for new followers or those who follow you already but re-tweet. You don’t want to just give away something to someone who did nothing for you.
#4 Meet new people and get social by attending a Twitter Party or posting a #FollowFriday tweet
A great way to meet new people on Twitter and to interact on Twitter is via a Twitter Party. There are many options for Twitter parties for crafty folks. The most popular is probably the #CraftSocial (http://craftsocial.net/) hosted by Sister Diane of Crafty Pod. Another very new one is the Twitter Tea Party hosted by Oh My! Handmade Goodness. If you follow these tweeps on Twitter, you will surely learn about their Twitter Parties. At a Twitter Party you will be able to ask and answer crafty biz questions in real time and meet new tweeps joining in on the conversation while exposing yourself to new people as well. This gains you followers, and helps to build relationships with new people on Twitter.
Another option for getting social with others is to get in the habit of doing a #followfriday or #ff post on Fridays. The simple idea is that you send out a list of @mentions for people you like to follow and hashtag it for Follow Friday. This lets others know that you like to see what this person says, and maybe later that person will #ff you and help you to get new followers, too!
#5 Use a check-in service like Foursquare to tell people you are set up at a craft show (Via Twitter!)
If you are already using Foursquare, you might be in the habit of checking into Joann’s or your fave Thai place, but don’t forget to check in at the craft fairs you are vending at! When you check in on Foursquare, it allows you to add a new venue if one doesn’t exist, so if your fair isn’t already created, create it, then check into it! When you check in, be sure to shout out via Twitter and say the dates and hours for the fair, maybe your booth number, and use a hashtag for the city you are in (such as #Indy or #Chicago). This will help let people know an event is going on in the area via Foursquare, and others will see it on Twitter. Gowalla is another check-in service to try, and there are many others. See which one you like best and use it to tell people where you are vending!
#6 Get Personal
People who like your business like to know who you are. If you are using Twitter for all of these business things, also use it let people get to know you a little better. Share links from other bloggers you like. Re-tweet something that someone else said which you admired. Answer a question for another crafter. Ask a question and see who answers or re-tweets it. Tell a little bit about your day. Don’t be silly or annoying because some people really get bothered by the banter, but a quick “just finished up a new painting” or “heading into the studio to work” or something like that is really nice for people to see. Avoid posting gross bits about your life, and beware of drunk tweeting (similar to drunk dialing). Once you start to follow a good core of people, you will decide how much personal information you want to share. Just remember that if you tweet it, everyone can see it, so as the rule goes, don’t tweet it if you wouldn’t want your Grandma to read it.
I hope those of you who aren’t on Twitter can get up the courage to join in on the fun. If you use Twitter in the right ways it is well worth your time as a small business owner. You will meet some delightful people on Twitter and soon you will find yourself addicted.
Those of you who are already there, I would love to hear your thoughts on these tips and to hear any other tips you might have for crafty peeps new to using Twitter!
By the way, if you create a new Twitter account, you’ll find me at @sundyaftrnoonhw. Please be sure to say hello with an @mention so I can follow you back!
Original Post: Sunday Afternoon Housewife