In part three of our series of social media tips for designers and makers, we're taking a look at Twitter. We've already covered Facebook and Pinterest, so by now you're likely getting the hang of how to think about your audience, your presence, and how you can share your story and brand in a personal way that's more engaging and meaningful than simply broadcasting: "Here I am! Buy my stuff and click my links!" The upside to all social media is the opportunity for a two-way conversation, where you can learn from your fans and customers as much as they learn more about you as a maker, your products, your aesthetic, etc. Twitter is probably the best example of this social conversation, as you have the opportunity to reach and interact with people in an easy to use format (once you get the hang of it, that is).
As with each social media channel, we've discussed so far, here are the questions we'll cover below:
• Should I be on Twitter?
• What's my audience?
• What are my goals?
• How can I promote myself?
Should I be on Twitter?
According to HubSpot 49% of internet users are on Twitter. 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands they follow. Do you have friends, fellow instructors, brands, or news you'd be active in sharing related to your craft? If you start by finding your friends, folks who inspire you, and follow brands relevant to your craft to re-tweet and interact with, you can start to build your reputation as a trusted resource. The more you can keep yourself focused on your audience and goals (we'll get to those below), with maybe the occasional update on what you're watching/eating/doing for fun, you'll both endear yourself to your followers while proving yourself an asset for news, opinion, and inspiration about your craft.
What's my audience?
Who are you talking to on Twitter? If you don't know, you can't really connect with your followers. This is why starting with brands, friends, fellow experts in your craft are a good place to start in terms of people to follow and interact with. If you blog, attend events and shows, give in-person classes, take photos or do anything else related to your craft, post it on Twitter and don't be afraid to bring it to the attention of specific Twitter-folk by tagging them @username. Use the hashtag feature to make what you're talking about easily searchable on Twitter, like #Craftsy or #quilting, etc. If you're looking for ideas on where to get started, WeFollow.com is a handy directory of Twitter users you may find helpful.
What are my goals?
If you start as a good disseminator of news, opinion, and inspiration by sharing photos or updates of what you're working on or making, you can start to connect with your audience. Share photos, link to a Pin from Pinterest you find inspiring. Share your friends' blog posts, and of course share your own as well. Don't be afraid to push your book with a link to Amazon, your Craftsy class with your instructor link, or the like. But look for natural ways to do so, unless you have something news-worthy to announce.
How can I promote myself?
Look for natural ways to share links to your blog, maybe an interesting Pin from Pinterest, photos of what you're working on, etc. Maybe talk about a fun question from one of your Craftsy class students, and ask the same question of your followers. Offer your solution and include a link to your class. This is how you build a real conversation and prove yourself as an asset and trusted source, rather than just schilling your class without any context. Check out free tools like Hootsuite for your computer, or Seesmic on your phone for listening, managing, and staying active on Twitter. Use hashtags with your tweets to make them searchable and relevant. For example, if you're at a craft event, it's likely there's a hashtag for folks live-Tweeting the event. Think about using hashtags, mentioning relevant people or brands in your tweet, and look for opportunities to include a link, photo or video to add engaging media to your update. For example, if you were attending International Quilt Festival in Houston, you may compose a tweet like: "So much inspiration here @QuiltFestival. I can't wait to get back to my sewing room! #QuiltFestival #quilting" and maybe include a photo from the show.
If you're composing a tweet to link to a blog post, a pattern you have for sale, or the like, think about who you can mention in the tweet to help get their attention. Asking people to re-tweet you is also common and totally acceptable. Once you've shared a tweet, don't forget to check in on any responses, thank people for any re-tweets, and follow up asking for people's questions, feedback or reactions to your tweet and/or content.
For help getting started on Twitter, click here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/215585-twitter-101-how-should-i-get-started-using-twitter#
Social Media Tips for Indie Designers & Makers, Pt. 1: Facebook
Social Media Tips for Indie Designers & Makers, Pt. 3: Pinterest
Social Media Tips for Indie Designers & Makers, Pt. 4: Instagram
How to sell more patterns on Craftsy (and the Web!)