How *you* can learn to love Twitter! Twitter tips from one of the very first tweeters

Twitter tips, Twitter tips and tricks, how you can learn to love Twitter, Emily Clark, Larryware

How to use Twitter and love it!

Emily Clark from Larryware shares her Twitter tips

In the Summer of 2006, I somehow managed to join a new social media platform called Twitter. After an already eight-year education on how to send a text message with very few characters (160 back then), using abbreviations and silly-looking faces made out of punctuation keys, the 140 character limit per tweet sounded like a doddle! You kind of went with the flow and didn’t think too much about what you were doing. Fast forward 11 years and Twitter is very different: it’s busier, faster and tougher to be seen, no matter how many followers you gain along the way. But there are ways to help!

I recently hosted a #folksyhour chat, to find out what everyone else thinks of Twitter, how they use it and share my own Twitter tips and tricks. This was my very first time hosting a Twitter Hour, and one of the things that struck me was that lots of people are still daunted by Twitter, especially if they’ve come from Facebook, which is a very different experience and where you can write an entire essay if you want to. So I’ve put together some of my tips for using Twitter which will hopefully help ease people in and help you all learn to love it too!

Twitter tips, how you can learn to love Twitter

 

1. Think of Twitter as a giant hangout

How do you see Twitter? For me, it’s like some giant hangout. When you tweet, especially if you use a particular hashtag, you’re tweeting to everyone and anyone. It’s like a crazy party where anyone can join in.

Because so many tweets are retweeted and replies are added into tweets, you end up talking to people from all walks of life, whether they follow you or not. It’s like an ever-stretching network, reaching into all corners of the earth… the mind boggles! Twitter gives you news, support, friends, advice. Enough said!

 

2. Introduce yourself in your profile

Before they follow you, or when they see your links or tweets showing up in their feeds, most Twitter users will check your profile. So make sure you fill this in and tell people who you are, what you do and where to go to find you.


As well as the main website link, you can include three links into the first box on your profile, so why not add links to your latest blog post, one of your product collections or your Instagram page, along with lots of info about who you are and what you offer the worldwide web. For example, my profile says: “Abstract painter, photographer, my Folksy shop URL, robin whisperer, nature lover, designer, loopy most of the time” and then my website address.

If you’re just starting up on Twitter try to get the same Twitter name as your business. When I first started my Twitter name or ‘handle’ as it was once called was simply ‘Skylark79’, my favourite bird. But my account got trolled and I had to delete it and start again so now I’m EmyJSkylark. It’s much easier for people to find you on Twitter if you keep the same name across your shop and all your social platforms though.

Add a nice cover photo too. There are so many great free editing photo sites online now (I use Canva) so you can create your own covers (my one needs seeing to!) using pictures of your business, your work or things you love.

 

3. Bring your personality

Do you keep it business or personal? I think a combination of both works wonders so like all of my social media accounts, I mix the two.

I like to show I am NOT a robot but a real feeling person who creates art and lives life! Although I don’t generally post what I had for dinner.

 

4. Use hashtags to find ‘your tribe’

When you start out on Twitter, it will suggest a few accounts for you to follow. The ‘trending topics’ you can see down the side are quite helpful too. This is where Twitter shows the topics or hashtags that most people are talking about – follow the conversations by clicking on the hashtag.

By choosing and using the right hashtags you’ll find you’re tweeting with like-minded people, people who do the kind of things that you do and because you’re using a hashtag, your tweet won’t get ignored. I rather like these ones:

#ThrowbackThursday

#MondayBlogs

#ArchiveDay

#MeetTheMaker

Some of these tell you what day to tweet and what kind of thing to tweet about, and then there are hashtags like #smallbusinessUK, #supportsmall, #justacard and just generally #handmade.

Hashtags are great conversation starters too, especially the ones you make up yourself! For example, #IhavenoideawhatImdoing once started a conversation for me which lasted for days!

Click here to read our interview with Joanne Hawker who started the #MarchMeettheMaker hashtag challenge.

 

5. Join the chats

Twitter chats like #folksyhour are really helpful and a great way to find more people to follow and potential friends! They have set times when everyone can talk to each other and share tips or their listings.

Apart from #folksyhour, there’s #HandmadeHour #Crafthour and there are local county hours too. I love my own of #DevonHour – I’ve watched it grow and flourish and, yes, I was there when it all began! So if you feel like you’re tweeting to the abyss, join in with the ‘hours’ – you’ll get lots of retweets, new followers and chat, plus your tweet is actually seen!

Twitter tips, how you can learn to love Twitter, Emily Clark, Larryware

Original Robin Painting by Emily Clark from Larryware 

 

6. Use lists so you only see the people & tweets you want

Once you’ve been on Twitter a while, you’ll start gaining so many new followers on top of your friends and original followers that you lose them completely in a timeline that’s constantly moving and changing. What do you do? Make Lists!

Twitter lists are so useful. A Twitter list is a way of sorting the accounts you follow into different groups, and when you click on the timeline for one of your lists, you’ll only the tweets from the accounts on that list. I am possibly the most disorganised person in the world, but with Twitter lists I can add people to specific lists and so never lose them and be able to converse, rather then drowned in a sea of tweets and pictures.

Find out what Twitter lists are, how to create them and how to use them here >

See and follow Folksy’s Twitter lists here >

7. Talk about things that interest you… or just make smalltalk!

So what kind of things should you tweet? I would recommend chatting, commenting and retweeting (RT) things that interest you. Share your favourite song or links to articles etc. Embrace the character limit too – I think it makes us all better writers! Be present at least some of the day on Twitter and share your work in progress –#wip is another great hashtag.

Words and pictures are very important – 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Like everything, only you know what works for you and your business. I never believe in hard and fast rules. Make it convenient for you and use Twitter how you want to use it, or it will just become a chore and you’ll lose the joy in it.

It’s sometimes tricky if you have your personal and business Twitters accounts together. People can take things the wrong way. No-one can hear a tone in tweets so lots of people (including me from time to time) do get offended, but really that just means we care what you’re tweeting about. If we don’t, we unfollow – it’s as simple as that! I’ve been in some pretty heated debates in the past and because Twitter is so public (unless you set your account to private, which isn’t advisable with a business account) everyone can see them. That’s why many of my friends have a business account as well as a personal one. It’s very much up to you whether you want to go down that route. Maybe if you’re a seasoned user this might be a plan, but if you’re just starting out, I’d keep it business and pleasure together.

 

8. Be a regular

When do you tweet? Again this is all trial and error. The mornings are good time I find, especially with the first coffee and now we’re well into the age of the smart phone, you could be anywhere to do this. Lunchtime tweets are favourable too and then evening tweets, especially between 7-9pm when people are home from work, dinner consumed and relaxing with a glass of something and looking at their phone/laptop/ipad. Most of the Twitter hours start from 7:30pm onwards as this is when most people tend to be online.

The thing with Twitter is you have to keep consistent. If you disappear for long periods of time or only tweet sporadically, people tend to get bored, wander off or unfollow you. There are several sites that can tell you who ‘unfollowed’ you. I used to check obsessively – now I don’t really care as I feel if I lose one, there are plenty more fish in the sea and perhaps they weren’t right for me anyway.

If it all gets too much, especially if you’re constantly sharing shop listings and new work, do sign up to a tool that you can automatically set to tweeting anything at any time of the day. I use Around.io which costs $9.99 month but has a free trial. That lets me schedule posts to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. It also tells me how many impressions my tweets have earned in the last 24 hours and how busy Twitter is at different times, so I can schedule my business tweets for the busier parts of the day or night.

 

9. Enjoy yourself!

Twitter is like a room full of people, mostly ones you’ve never met and the only way to be heard and seen is to step in and start chatting. If you’re lost for what to say then talk about the weather – that usually gets people talking! Just enjoy it.

If you’re ever in doubt, just tweet me. It comes on my phone, so you’ll never be alone! My ‘handle’ is @EmyJSkylark. Yes, I kept the ‘Skylark’ bit – it was my identity on Twitter and I figured if I changed it to ‘Larryware’ which is my business name, I would alienate a lot of the people who I’d been tweeting to for years. So I kept it as myself. And that’s what Twitter is – like all your social media accounts, it’s yours!

 

If you’ve got any questions about Twitter, ask us or Emily by leaving a comment below. You can also follow Emily on Twitter and talk to her there at @EmyJSkylark.

 

More things to read…

Read our 10 Super Useful Twitter Tips >

Read the full summary of our #folksyhour chat about Twitter here > 

How to choose the right social media channel for you

How to Find Great Content to Share

How to increase your reach on Facebook – 7 ways to get your posts seen

How to use hashtags on Instagram – without making a hash of it!

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1 Comment

  • March 30, 2017

    Kate

    Thanks for this extremely useful post! The tips are brilliant and very easy to understand.