For a long time I didn't understand what Twitter was all about. What could you say in 140 characters that was worth my time? I just couldn't figure out what Twitter was for. Would I enjoy it or just find it to be a waste of time?
Although at first I found Twitter difficult to grasp, I now really love it and recommend it crafters and creative business owners.Dirtsy, is about turning a craft into a business. I first connected with Blaire on Twitter (oh the irony!) and have become an avid reader of her blog.
Blaire knows a lot about how designers and makers can build a presence on Twitter. Our aim in this conversation was to shed some light on how Twitter might benefit you as a crafter and creative businessperson. Okay, here we go!
Hi Blaire! Thank you for joining me in this discussion about Twitter for creative businesses. Let me start by asking how you describe Twitter to people who say, "I just don't get it."?
That's a great question, Abby. I didn't get Twitter at first either: I signed up years ago, didn't really know what to tweet about, and let the account sit.
Looking back now, not embracing it was a huge mistake on my part.
To get the most out of any marketing tool, I believe you have to understand the best way to leverage it and use it properly. I use Twitter primarily as a networking tool, and I'd describe it as the perfect social network to stay updated, connect and learn.
For anyone starting out on Twitter, I recommend coming up with a strategy first. Define your goals, then map out how you're going to reach them.
Photo by Rosaura Ochoa on Flickr
I primarily see Twitter as a place to connect with people in my industry. I’m a sole entrepreneur and I work from home. I use Twitter to keep abreast of what’s happening in the sewing and craft world.
I follow all of the major players including the craft publishing houses, trade shows, retailers, and major and indie designers so that I can see what they're concerned about, what news is happening, and who they are working with. Many of my most valued relationships began as Twitter interactions.
I use Twitter to follow my interests. I follow start-ups that serve small creative business because I enjoy writing posts here on my blog about new tools for people like me. I follow a slew of content marketers because I’m interested in learning more about the connection between blogging and selling.
The articles all of these sectors link to via Twitter are often eye-opening and give me clues about better ways to run my own business and blog.
Okay, Blaire, how would you suggest a crafter get started with Twitter?
I'd recommend writing an attention-grabbing bio to start with. Bios are the first thing anyone who checks your feed sees and they're what compels someone to follow you back. Unfortunately, it's also the very thing most Twitter users ignore. Twitter bios are often unclear, boring, or worse- blank.
Think of your bio as the social media version of an elevator pitch: you've got 160 characters to define your business and convert readers to followers.
The best bios evoke a desirable emotion (be it shock, amusement or curiosity), tells the reader about your product and inspires action (usually a follow or a click). Putting in relevant keywords will also improve your chances of showing up in searches.
Once the bio has been written, it's time to start following people.
Photo by Coletivo Mambembe on Flickr.
Abby, how do you go about looking for who to follow?
Twitter really gets fun when you’re following great people! Start by searching for your favorite bloggers and makers. Most bloggers have a Twitter icon right on their blog which makes it easy and you connect with your favorite Etsy sellers on Twitter right from their Etsy shops.
I also enjoy following some of my favorite comedians, chefs, writers and musicians on Twitter. Just check to be sure that they are actually tweeting more than once a year before you follow them!
When someone I’m following will retweet something interesting posted by another Twitter user. I check out that person’s bio and then often choose to follow them, too. Keep in mind that following and unfollowing someone on Twitter is less personal than on other social media platforms. If someone is tweeting too much for your taste, or tweeting material that is irrelevant to you, you can always change your mind and unfollow them.
Photo by John Benson on Flickr.
Any last words of Twitter wisdom to share, Blaire?
Yes- automation. It's a huge time saver! One of the keys to Twitter success is tweeting often. I tweet at least once every two hours and it's impossible for me to log on to Twitter so much.
What I do is automate a lot of my tweets, then check in once every few hours to reply to mentions and thank those who have re-tweeted me. I actually lost my internet for an entire day last week and because I'd scheduled my tweets a day ahead, my tweets didn't suddenly stop. I was still able to share interesting articles, cool handmade finds and business tips with my followers.
There are many tools that can help you schedule your tweets: FutureTweets, HootSuite and Buffer are the ones I've tried. My current favorite is Buffer. It's so easy to use and their support is stellar (responses within minutes!).
If you're looking for something a bit more “all-in-one”, HooteSuite Pro lets you create multiple personalized streams. Since I tweet on behalf of clients and help with their publicity, I create streams with search terms that help me find bloggers to pitch to.
Of course there are pros and cons to everything, including automation. A huge event might occur and you'll seem obliviously tweeting to followers. For this reason, I recommend scheduling tweets for two days at a time.
Photo by wonderferret on Flickr.
Thank you so much for our talk Abby. It was fun to to discuss insights into Twitter. If you have any last thoughts on Twitter as well, I'd love to hear it.
When I first set up my Twitter account I really didn’t understand how Twitter worked, no matter how much I read about it. I decided to just set up an account and give it a try for six months. If I still didn’t get it, or thought it was worthless, I’d end it. I came to see how valuable Twitter is for professional relationships and keeping up with my industry and now I wouldn’t run a business without it.
Thank you, Blaire! You can find Blaire at dirtsy.com where she blogs about turning craft into business. When she's not blogging, she's preforming professional blog critiques and helping small business owners build a presence on Twitter. And I hope you'll come say hello to me on Twitter as well.
So how do you use Twitter? Has anything here changed your perception? And if you dont' use it, why not?