It seems that everyone’s talking Twitter at the moment - I didn't have a clue until a few days ago. Here’s a quick guide to how it works and why it could be good for you and your business.
What is it:
Twitter's essentially a social networking site like MySpace or Facebook.
The big difference is that on most networking sites you have a large profile page and a short status report.
Twitter is the reverse.
Your profile section (little green box on the right) is small and doesn’t really get used all that much. The bulk of your time on Twitter is spent reading and posting 140 character status reports (called tweets).
Like reading the paper
Scrolling through everyone’s tweets is a little like scanning newspaper headlines before deciding which articles to read.
Most people have links to other sites, their blogs, their shops, funny photos/videos etc. So if you see something interesting you can usually find out more.
You've signed up to Twitter. Now what?
Well, start following people. (Like me!) Many will follow you back.
And get tweeting.
Naturally, who you follow and what you tweet will be depend on why you're there.
If you're just out to have fun, find some interesting people to follow. Or track down your friends (if Twitter's search isn't working, there's a link to an alternative search on the bottom of this post). And tweet about anything you like! But try to keep it interesting and relevant and try to limit yourself as constant tweeting is a little like hogging a conversation.
If you're on Twitter to market yourself or your products, you'll need to find an appropriate audience for whatever you're selling (which is an art in itself):
Marketing on Twitter
Twitter is great news for marketers. A few Etsy Twitter users have reported immediate sales from their tweets.
But the danger with Twitter is it’s incredibly easy to produce spam. So when it comes to promoting your business, gently does it! Remember, the 'BLOCK' function is only a button-press away.
You’re really just trying to get people to visit your site, so use your tweet as a headline.
You've only got 140 characters, so keep it short, relevant and write something that will interest your audience. The general rule in writing advertising headlines is people don't care about you, they want to know what's in it for them. If you can reflect that in your headline, it will work a lot harder.
- Show off your product in your avatar. If people see it and like the look of it, they'll track down where you sell it.
- Change the background on your profile so it features a range of your products. If people see them and like the look of them, they'll track down where you sell them.
- Make sure you have a link to your site (or blog) on your profile. So it's easy for people to track down where you sell!
Finding your market.
Sure, you can randomly follow people and hope they'll buy something for you.
Just like you can wear glass slippers to a ball and hope to marry a prince.
But it's much smarter to narrow down the people you're targeting to those who are most likely to want to buy it.
A great way to do this is to figure out what these people are likely to tweet about (that relate to what you're selling) and then search for tweets using those keywords.
For example, if you're an artist, a great way to find the right people is to think of a famous artist (anyone who's likely to be talked about) who does similar work to you. When you find someone who's tweeting about how much they adore this artist, chances are you've found someone who may be interested in your work too.
The difficult part is finding the right keywords.
To find these, think about what your audience does each day, what TV shows they watch, what they're passionate about, what sports they play, what they eat, what they buy.
Eg. If you're selling children's products, think about what their parents would talk about: 'kindergarten', 'day care', 'the wiggles', 'santa', 'tooth fairy', 'little aths', 'scouts', 'lost a tooth', 'playgroup', 'first birthday', 'turning two' etc.
Some useful Twitter tools
This lets you set up delayed and automated messages. Handy if you want to automatically welcome new followers.
You can get Twitter on your desktop if you want immediate updates.
The easiest way to search twitter (as the onsite search function seems to be a little glitchy).
Links to other Twitter info
Twitter marketing dos and don'ts
17 ways you can use Twitter
5 reasons to use Twitter for network marketing
5 Twitter tips and tricks
Create your twitter account