Thursday, June 23, 2011

Using Twitter Effectively

Twitter, it can be a time suck. I’m currently struggling with using it in an effective way that doesn’t eat up hours of my time each day. So far Twitter is winning, but I’m gaining some ground. And since it appears that I may be getting the upper hand I thought I’d share a few of the tips that I’ve implemented and offer my thoughts on whether they helped.

Automated Postings

So far I’m not a fan. What I mean by automated posting is linking other sources like your blog or Facebook to Twitter so that updates are automatically tweeted. It is a great way to make sure you’re updating your content and that is very important, but it lacks the personality that I want to have. I’m primarily using Twitter to connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with and the automated posts stick out like a sore thumb. So for now I’ve disabled all automatic tweeting.

However, those of you who’ve decided your Twitter account is just a source for sharing information may really like the options out there. I would recommend I like what they do; it just doesn’t fit my goals and style.

Twitter Lists

I love lists, both lists in general and Twitter lists. They make finding what I’m looking for so much easier. I’ve set up both public and private lists that I check in with regularly. To give you a quick run-down, lists are a way to organize people on Twitter. The even cooler thing is you don’t need to be following someone to put them in a list.

So what kind of lists do I create? I started with public lists that were pretty simple like local happenings, artists that I liked or knew, galleries, and photography related stuff. Then I created my private lists that are more about why I’m really on Twitter. One is a list of people I consider movers and shakers, they are peers, competition, people I’d like to work with and people I am working with (I stole the idea from Tara Gentile). I also have a private list that I call “ideal client”, they are people that fit the profile of my target market.

It’s these last two lists that I pay the most attention to. I watch for what everyone is talking about, I look for new people to follow or introduce myself to, and I make a point to add to these conversations. When I look at my ideal client list I’m also looking for the type of information these individuals are looking for and sharing.

You can also browse other peoples public lists if your looking for more people to follow and connect with.

Defining A Purpose

This is both one of the best things I’ve done and the hardest for me to stick with. Once I really thought about how I wanted to use Twitter I was able to Tweet more consistently, build a larger following, and started to see positive effects. I chose to use Twitter as a way to connect to potential customers, peers and mentors. So with that in mind I look for conversations I can join and add some value to, I share information that I feel will be valuable to my followers and I look for people that I wouldn’t come in contact with in any other way.

That said I waste a lot of time some days reading through posted links, looking at photos and just generally getting lost in the Twitter chatter. But if I quickly remind myself why I’m there I can interact in a way that furthers my goal, but still feels fun.

I highly encourage you to find the best way for you to use Twitter to your benefit and let it guide you. Find what works, stick with it and by all means remember it’s just a tool.

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

great tips -- esp like the movers and shakers list idea!

curious: what would you say would be an ideal amount of time for you to spend on twitter to meet your goals? i've tweeted a bit, and it's been fun, but the main reasons i've resisted is that i'm very aware of the whole "time suck" thing and extremely wary of getting involved for that reason!

Geraldine Adams said...

Hi! Thank you for your interesting post. Do you have any experience with twitter applications or extensions? I don't know how to name them, but tools like for example tweetdeck?


Anonymous said...

I do have some experience with both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. They are great in that you can schedule posts into the future and to see multiple accounts at one time. There are definitely pros and cons to both, but each offer a free membership so you can at least try the out.

Here's a link to a post I did a while back on the Lightbox SF blog,

Anonymous said...

Jen - to reply to your comment even though a few weeks late, I think if you stay focused you can get a lot done in 15-30 minutes. I would spend some effort trying to see when the people you want to connect with are most active. For me I find if I only have a little time the 9-10am time frame is the most useful.

If you have more than a half hour to spend I'd spread it out. Spend some time in the morning, then check in again around lunch and maybe even again around 5 or 6 as the day is winding down. Very different conversations happen at different times of day.

Keep testing and you'll find what works best for you.

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