Back in June I nervously gave my first talk at Makerhood Battersea to a very friendly audience of makers.
The title was My First Year of Blogging and Social Media for Business (catchy, eh?), and I covered my learnings on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and, of course, blogging.
I didn’t talk about Facebook as I don’t have an account, either personally (I closed it around the time I started Inky Collective, coincidentally) or for business, and I never hear anything that makes me regret that.
During the talk, I mostly stared down at my notes and probably rambled a bit more than necessary, but everyone was lovely and said that the tips I’d passed on had been helpful so I thought I’d pass them on here too.
This week, I’m sharing tips for Twitter. Ironically, anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I’ve been quite neglectful of that whole channel of late, so hopefully this post will get me back on the horse!
- First tweet – 14th July, 2014
- Tweets so far – 3,500
- Following – 657
- Followers – 1,400
Build a community
Ask questions, talk to your followers, and reply to mentions. The more relevant people you follow, the more likely you are to find someone to start a conversation with, which will help those relevant people find you too!
But, don’t follow loads of people just to get followed back. Even if this seems to be growing your follower numbers, what do those numbers actually mean? Are those people engaging with you and your business?
I worked at a start up once that was looking to work with a pretty specific market. They hired someone who set up their Twitter account to follow 1000 new random people each day, but unfollow anyone who didn’t follow back with 24 hours. They all celebrated when their follower number hit 5,000, even though only a tiny percentage of those followers were relevant to their business, spreading the word about their brand, or really engaging in any way.
If you tweet with a voice that is different from your own, it may become difficult to keep it going. You could end up drifting in and out of different styles, sound unnatural, or find it harder than it should be and so share less than you otherwise would.
If your social voice sounds like your own, you’ll sound more authentic and followers will get to know the real you from the beginning.
Share personal things, rather than just using your account to promote business. Again, people want to get to know you – the maker, designer, or founder. Letting your followers know about the ups and downs will help build you the most wonderful supporting community. I’m always blown away by how kind and motivating my readers and followers are when I share a personal update.
Adding relevant images to your tweets helps them to stand out, especially when linking to your blog.
It’s also great when raising awareness of other accounts and whereabouts online. For example, a screenshot of your online portfolio or shop.
I don’t add an image to every tweet (I don’t have time to take and edit that many photos!), but I do share images from my blog posts to hopefully give some context at a glance.
Use your own judgement here. Try different approaches and see what works best for you and your followers.
I’m probably overly cautious of over-sharing links to my online shops, or even to new blog posts, as I always worry I’m going to annoy people. I only post links to my blog posts once or twice a day for the first few days after publishing, and I expect I could do to share a little more often.
The other thing to bear in mind is linked accounts. If you use If This Then That recipes so, for example, Instagram photos are automatically shared to Twitter, don’t also click the in-app option to share there too (this will make sense to IFTTT users!). I’ve seen it happen where people have shared an Instagram photo to Twitter, and an IFTTT recipe has shared the photo to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook too, and then the Facebook and Tumblr posts have pushed to Twitter also… meaning each Instagram update hits Twitter four times, every time. Slightly annoying for your followers if you use Instagram several times a day!
Use hashtags sparingly #lol
Ohh, hashtags. So useful and brilliant in certain situations, so very annoying… well, most of the rest of the time.
The point of hashtags is to make your tweet easier to find in relevant searches.
They are brilliant when you want to join a Twitter chat, voice your opinion on a particular topic (for example, #backtheBBC), or if you want certain related tweets in your timeline to be easily found (for example, when running a giveaway or building up to an event).
They mean nothing if you’re just hashtagging random words, and they make your tweets look really spammy. Quit it.
Twitter chats most commonly last for an hour, once a week at a particular time. As mentioned above, you can join in by adding that specific chat’s hashtag to your tweets. It means your tweets will show up alongside all others with that hashtag, so you can find new people to follow and become known to a whole new audience!
There are loads for makers – #handmadehour, #crafthour, #buyonlinehour, and so on. Some people say that these chats aren’t worth joining as the only people following are other makers. Personally, I don’t see the problem with this as those makers may still share your tweet with their own followers, plus some of my best customers are other makers.
My favourite Twitter chat by far is #Blogtacular, every Wednesday at 9pm. There is a different topic each week, and it’s always an eye-opening, enjoyable experience. I don’t make it every week, but when I do I come away with a load more followers and following load of new interesting bloggers!
Don’t worry about the wrong numbers
When building up a following for your business, pay less attention to the number of individual followers, and more attention to the level of engagement. Retweets, mentions and favourites mean your new network is really listening to you and like what you’re saying.
It’s better to have a handful of people who support you and help spread the word about your work, than hundreds of people who never respond at all. So don’t stress about that follower count too much, and get to know the audience you already have.
Buffer – Easy and free scheduling of tweets to keep your updates regular, plus easy to understand analytics.
Tailwind – More tweet scheduling and analytics.
IFTTT – A recipes tool for connecting your apps and accounts to share in multiple places at once.
Further reading / listening:
Authentically building trust online – Make It Happen
8 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Content for Twitter – The Collative
Networking Using Twitter for Bloggers and Creatives – The Private Life of A Girl
I hope this advice comes in handy for some of you! Do let me know if you think I’ve missed something, or if you have any questions.
Next instalments over the coming weeks will cover Instagram, Pinterest and blogging, so let me know if you have any questions around those too and I’ll work them in!
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