10 Useful Twitter Tips - Guest post from Jo Simmonds

Guest Post from blogger Jo Simmonds of Sewing is for Girls

10 Twitter Tips 

You run a small craft business online and the whole world keeps telling you to get on twitter, but you just can’t see the point. You don’t have time and you mostly spend your day making. Reading blogs is ok but you don’t want social networking taking over your life. Or if you’re already on twitter you have 50 followers and aren’t sure what to tweet about.

Twitter is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you use it the more you want to use it. The more you tweet the more it becomes interesting. 

Here are my top ten tips after being on twitter to promote a craft business for over two years:
  1. Be focussed when you start. I started to get a lot more followers when I tailored the businesses I followed to my specific interests. I found another business account on twitter which was similar to me in the things it posted and the items it made. Then I followed all its followers who statistically were much more likely to follow me back.

  1. Following. The more people you follow the more people you’ll get following you back. If you follow 1000 people even if you’re follow-back rate is 30% you’ll have 300 more followers. Of course if you follow 100,000 people you may achieve even more followers but, this will be seen as spammy behaviour and twitter may freeze your ability to follow anyone else for a while or even suspend your account. Try taking time to find relevant people to follow and engage with rather than going down the path of following and then unfollowing people because they haven't followed back.
  2. Be yourself but be professional. If you can’t be professional lock your account or set up another one where you can let rip. If you tell your 9000 followers about a customer not paying up they won’t bother to look into the finer details. What they are most likely to do is not feel so safe when buying from you in the future. What if something goes wrong? Will they be ‘shouted out’ on twitter? ‘Shouting out’ means not making reference to someone who could be identified by someone else. Even if it is just that person.

  1. If you are looking for work via twitter be mindful of the fact that your followers could employ you one day. So don’t relax too much, but be yourself. It’s a tough call I know!
    Don’t be blunt about it like directing people to your CV but network subtly. Take an interest in their magazine/blog/shop. Be friendly and just chat. Get to know them and what their personality is like. Can you share a joke? Do you really like their magazine? Could you suggest a meeting after a while?

  1. Retweets should equal replies and updates. Don’t forget to reply to people. They have taken the time out of their day to chat with you so you should respond and be friendly. Twitter is all about making connections and this is more important than achieving followers. You may find out your child is into the same TV show or has recently had the same bug, or you have similar tastes in fabric and can swap hints. Don’t be afraid to get personal and get to know people. It will pay dividends.

  1. Sales tweets should only make up 5-10% of your output. If you look too desperate people won’t go and browse your shop. If you really want to advertise check out the opportunities on blogs or in magazines. People generally prefer chatter with the occasional marketing tweet to remind them of what you do rather than the other way round. This also applies to not sending sales direct messages or ‘auto-direct messaging’. Do you really want your first impression to be spamming someone?
  1. Know when to direct message. Decide if something is private and if the person you are saying it to would mind having it ‘out there’ on twitter.
  1. Think laterally. Anyone can post news items about craft or tweet while watching a TV programme but what can you do that’s truly innovative or creative? After all this is a highly creative industry and you can tweet about anything you want to within reason.
  1. Be friendly and helpful. If someone wants to know something and you know it then share knowledge. Don’t keep quiet about it. Very often it can lead to a further discussion which then increases your knowledge in return.
  1. If you become addicted to twitter don’t blame me! Seriously though, twitter is highly addictive if you use it actively to network. If you find it getting in the way of your ‘real work’ be it writing, making or running your business make a schedule in your head or on paper of the time you will be around on twitter and the time you will make. If you really can’t keep to that buy a smartphone or cheap mobile with web access. It leaves you ‘hands free’; able to make while keeping in touch with your emails and social networking. Perfect.

Good luck!

Jo Simmonds