Well everyone, I have great news for you. Facebook is some of the hardest stuff to get started with. The lingo can be a bit complicated (as we all saw!) and setting up a Page isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do. So the good news is, Twitter is easy! Easier to set up, easier to tweet, and easier to come up with things to say… especially since you only have 140 characters to do so! Today's post is going to get you setup on Twitter, while the check-in later this week will really focus on what you should be tweeting, how to work with Twitter and Facebook, and cutting down on time spent.
So why should you be on Twitter? Well, Twitter is an absolutely essential tool in your social media arsenal for communicating and interacting with your customers. It’s less formal than Facebook and is really your chance to create a voice for your brand (which is your ArtFire shop). Twitter serves as an amazing customer service tool, a way for you to really connect with your followers, and can even serve as a sales tool!
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social media network that millions of people are on. It’s a short-form of communication.
What is a tweet?
A tweet is what you send out on Twitter. Just like Facebook has “status updates”, tweets serve the same purpose. However, it’s really important to note that tweets have a 140 character limit!
Why do they limit the character count?
Twitter was created as a means of communicating information, but not too much information. Capping the number of characters per tweet ensures that Twitter has a certain uniformity and avoid total information overload!
What does “follow” mean?
To follow someone on Twitter means that their tweets will show up in your Twitter stream. The Twitter stream will show up when you log into your account, and will show the tweets of the people you follow in reverse chronological order (the newest tweets at the top). When you go to anyone’s Twitter page there will be a “follow” button.
What is with people using the @ symbol?
In Twitter, the @ symbol is how you communicate with other users. For example, if you want to reach out to Postling you can tweet: “Hey @postling, thanks for all the boot camp help!”. This is called “@ replying”someone on Twitter. By adding the @symbol before any Twitter username the tweetwill show up in their account. People are pretty unlikely to see your tweets ifyou don’t have that @ symbol before their username.
Now, let’s get you on Twitter! From the Twitter homepage you’re going to click “Sign Up”. Twitter is going to ask you for your full name. Unless your name is actually associated with your ArtFire shop, we recommend just putting your ArtFire shop name here. Your username is what people are going to know you by on Twitter. Again, I would recommend your ArtFire shop name (without spaces). Some of you have very long ArtFire shop names though so you may have to get creative if you run out of characters for your username. As laid out in the registration process by Twitter, your username will be part ofyour URL (i.e. Postling’s Twitter account is http://twitter.com/postling).
Next, select the password and email address you want to associate with the account. I’d recommend using the email address you use for your business and leaving the first box checked (saying allow people to find you by your email address). Now, why would you want this? Say your customers search Twitter for email addresses they know. They’ll see your Twitter account and are more likely to follow you. After all, you want as many people following your Twitter account as possible! Lastly, accept the terms of service and select “Create my account”.
After you create your account, Twitter prompts you to select the topics you’re interested in. For most of you the natural choice is going to be in the art/design realm. By selecting an area of interest, Twitter will give you suggestions of people to follow. I’d recommend following some big brands to start off with… maybe a famous museum or a designer you’re fond of? You certainly don’t have to follow anyone, but Twitter is very much a give-and-take community. Follow people, they may follow you back. I’d definitely suggest following a few people to start off with.
Once you’ve done this, hit the “Next Step” button. Twitter allows you to see if any of your email contacts are on Twitter. Simply click the type of email service you use and sign in to your account. Don’t worry, Twitter isn’t taking your password… you just simply need to allow access. Once your address book loads you can check off which contacts on Twitter that you’d like to follow. You can always skip this step if you want, but I highly recommend completing it.
Now you should complete your Twitter profile. You can do so here. From here you can upload a photo (probably your shop logo), enter your location (if you want), link out to your ArtFire shop, and write a short bio. Keep it simple, but give people a sense of just what it is that you do. See those tabs at the top? You can also set up different settings for your phone, change the design of your Twitter page, and change your notification settings (how often you receive emails regarding activity on your account). Be sure to look through all the options and make your profile as complete as possible and that it fits all of your needs.
To get back to your Twitter stream/homepage you can click “Home” at the top or the Twitter logo. Now, why don’t you send out your first tweet? Keep it simple like you did on Facebook at first, maybe mention thatyou’re just getting started.
Here is your complete assignment for the week:
- Complete your Twitter profile in its entirety
- Find people to follow (like @postling!)
- Send out 14 tweets this week (2 per day). Keep it conversational, keep it simple. Ifyou know people on Twitter you can even try @ replying people you know. You can certainly start out by tweeting @postling. We'll absolutely respond to you! Make sure there isn’t a space between the @ symbol and their Twitter username!
We’re going to leave the assignment at that for this week. Below are a few great resources that we think are really worth your time, including beginner’s guides and tips/tools:
- Getting Started with Twitter for Small Businesses (SEO Locally Listed)
- 20 Must Read Beginner Twitter Tips for Small Business Owners (Twitip)
- Twitter 101 for Small Business (Office Arrow)
- 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business (Chris Brogan)
- 80 Ways to Use Twitter as a SMB Owner (SmallBizTrends)
- Is Your Small Business Following the Right People on Twitter? (Postling Staff Blog)
- Can Twitter Really Help Your Small Business? (AOL Small Business)
- Marketing Small Businesses With Twitter (New York TImes)
- Why Twitter is a Big Win for Small Businesses (Mashable)
- 10 Dos and Don’ts for Brands on Twitter (Mashable)
- 5 Twitter Mistakes (SoloPreneur)
Now this may look like a lot of things to read, but take the articles that you think will be the most valuable to you. We know you guys are at different levels when it comes to social media so we wanted to provide a lot of different options. They’re all great resources.
Later this week we’ll talk about tweeting habits, how to increase follower counts, and the relationship between your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
As always we’ll be watching the forums and jumping in to answer questions. Get tweeting!
If find the trick to getting and keeping followers that will click through, is to treat Twitter as it was intended - as a micro-blog. Every 140 characters is like a blog post - the more interesting, the better! Auto-tweets are handy, too, but don't get as many real-person clicks.
If you want to follow me you can :)
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I didn't know about the @reply thing, so that was really helpful, thanks! I'm still a newbie at twitter, so all those links are some really good reading. Thanks for all your effort!