Consume and Create
Twitter is most definitely a two-way street, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. You can't expect a lot of followers if you only go on twitter and read everyone's tweets, but don't say anything yourself. But by the same token, you can't really expect a lot of followers if you just update everyone on the mundane aspects of your day without ever interacting with or following other users (unless you're a celebrity or something, in which case I sincerely doubt you care about gaining more followers, especially me). When I first joined Twitter, I only followed people and didn't tweet at all. I hardly had any followers, but I think I learned a lot about how to actually use it, so it was actually helpful to me. But of course everyone is different, so just remember that twitter has two purposes, and you should probably be making the most of both if you want to get the most out of it.
Discover Your Purpose
Twitter is definitely fun, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using it for just personal reasons (obviously). But if you're using it attached to a business or blog, and you really care about building a following, you should think about the purpose of your Twitter. Are you doing it to bring traffic to your shop? If you only post a bunch of links, then no one will really care to click the links or even follow you. So I'd take a less direct route - sometimes post links and sometimes think about what other things your target audience would care about. Share links to other etsy shops, cool blogs, art collaborations, or whatever you think fits well with the overall brand image you're trying to project. The businesses I follow on Twitter are those that don't only post links to new items and collections. But if I follow them based on their overall content, I'm much more likely to click those links when they do come up.
Inject some Personality
Remember earlier when I said no one cares about the mundane details of your life? Well, that's mostly true - if that's all you post. However, if you're a blogger or a shop owner and I am gaining interest in your brand, I'm probably going to be more interested if I know I can relate to the person behind the brand. You don't need to let everyone know when you're brushing your teeth, but if you recently saw a cool movie or want to share your opinion about current events, I'm much more likely to interact with you and thus become more connected with your Twitter account and your brand.
Talk to People
This is a big one for me. When I look at accounts who follow me to decide whether I want to follow back, there's nothing that gets me to turn away faster than if I can clearly see they never talk to anyone on Twitter. You can post interesting content and have a cool brand, but I think that one of the greatest aspects of Twitter is that users are so accessible to one another. If you don't talk to people then I might assume that you don't read anyone else's tweets, and probably don't even respond to people who try to contact you. Even people who have millions of followers take the time to respond to people, so if you don't then you are either really stuck up or you just don't really get Twitter. Either way, I probably don't want to follow you.
Don't do it for Follows
One of the main points I tried to make last week is that it can be really obvious to potential followers if you're trying too hard. The same goes for Twitter, though it's kind of hard to explain. I can usually tell when a user has some kind of tweeting strategy, and while it doesn't necessarily mean I won't follow them, it certainly doesn't help. I think if you just be yourself and post about things you care about, while just keeping your audience in mind, it will seem more natural and less forced. Another thing that's a tell-all is if you follow 94890859 people and you have 7 followers. That's an exaggeration, but I think you get the picture. If I see a really imbalanced number, I pretty much know that you're following people just in the hopes they'll follow you back. Obviously it's okay to follow more people than you have followers, but a super high number can throw people off. It also might tell me that you're one of those people who follows people just so they'll follow you back, then you unfollow them. I couldn't believe people actually did this until I saw it myself. Rude. Please don't do that - it's awful and there are so many ways we can find out this information. Even if I would have followed you in the first place, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and you'll forever be associated with that.
Lastly, I think it's important to represent yourself well in the stuff that people will always see when visiting your twitter. Tweets come and go (I'll never scroll through more than a few tweets before deciding whether or not to follow), but your photo, bio and website can say a lot about you. There's no specific formula for this, but I think your bio should tell about you personally and also what you tweet about. Your photo should ideally include your face and not just a logo (I like to know who I'm tweeting with), and I'm fairly likely to visit your website if you have one listed. Since I blog, I'm especially interested in following other bloggers, and I think the same goes for many Etsy shop owners. We all want to find people we can relate to, so the website and your info is just another opportunity to make yourself relatable to potential followers.
So that's my spiel for this week. I hope it was helpful to some people! Let me know what you think or if you have any other tips and tricks to share either here or on twitter (@AnnieHP). Also, I'm still hoping for someone to do a guest post in the next couple weeks about Facebook pages. If you're interested, let me know at wattlebirddesigns at gmail dot com.
P.S. the little birdie in the graphic above is a preview of my new blog design that I'll hopefully be uploading early next week. I drew a lot of it by hand and I'm really excited to unveil it!
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