Tip Share :: 5 Basic Twitter Tips

I found out the other day that I’m a couple weeks away from being on Twitter for three years. Three years? Really? And if you count the time I signed up, then almost immediately deleted my account, chances are I’ve already technically passed that milestone.

This isn’t to say that I’m a Twitter guru, because I’m not. When I first started, it took me a while to get comfortable with it and figure out how to make it work for me (maybe you feel that way, too?). There were hits and misses and bumps. Now, though, I feel like I’ve found my groove because I realized that I use Twitter as my work water cooler, the place I go to chat with work friends. I follow a lot of fellow makers because they interest me, are hilarious, are friends I want to support, or I want to keep up with what they are doing.

A water cooler atmosphere isn’t the only way to use Twitter. Other people use Twitter to promote their business, and they’ve found awesome ways to do that without being spammy (I envy them for that, in the best possible sense). Still others have found it a good platform to get their messages across and get heard. I’ve also been known to use Twitter to get the attention of service companies I use, like my cable company, my domain host, and my shop provider (it was faster than telephone support), and to ask questions before I buy products (it was faster than telephone support).

No matter how you use Twitter, or how you want to use Twitter, you have to start somewhere. If you’re considering jumping in, here are 5 Basic Twitter Tips to get you up and tweeting:


#1: Upload an avatar

Don’t be an egg (which is the default Twitter avatar – they kind of freak me out). I want to see your face, or your products, something to give me a clue who you are or what you do. Something I can remember and identify with, so when you tweet, I recognize you.


#2: Write in a description and put up a custom background picture

I want to know who you are and what you do. Be yourself, be pithy, and be sure to include your website in your profile. If you’re an artist, adding in a custom background picture is a must. That’s one easy way to extend your brand and give a visual snapshot of what you do.


#3: Talk to people, don’t just plug your work

This is the biggie for me. When all you do is promote your own products, it sends up a big red flag that you aren’t ready or willing to engage with people (which is the point of social media, and why I’m there). It also means that if I follow you, my timeline will full of product tweets from you. Unless I really, really dig what you do, chances are, I’m going to pass. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote yourself on there, either; you can. Just do it in moderation, and mix it up with non-promo tweets.


#4: Follow people because they interest you

…and not because you expect them to follow you back. If you’d like someone to follow you, talk to them, and give them time to see they’ve got a new follower. I sometimes forget to check who’s following me, and I know I’ve missed out on following someone interesting back. Some people only give me a few hours to decide before unfollowing me, so I’ll never know who those people are, much less be able to connect with them. Instead of constantly following and unfollowing people hoping for follow backs, find your friends on Twitter and start finding your favorite shops and people. Having Twitter friends helps me feel like I’m not just talking to myself.


#5: Don’t try to keep up with everything

The way Twitter works, with a constant, never-ending stream of tweets, it’s almost impossible to try to keep up with everything all of the time without going nuts. Use the list feature to set up different groups so that you can keep up with the people you most want to connect with. Lists are glorious, glorious things, and having different ones for different groups helps me not miss important announcements (especially if I’m short on time).


What about you? What’s your favorite Twitter tip? How do you make Twitter work for you?


12 Responses to Tip Share :: 5 Basic Twitter Tips

  1. Twitter confuses and scares me, I’m sad to say. My blog and GoodReads.com posts upload automatically, but I don’t do much else. I get this feeling I’d be lost out in all those faces. I’m much better at Facebook. But I still have a great name, I think — I_Make_Jewelry

    • You aren’t alone. I think for some people, you’re either better at Facebook or Twitter. I’m much better at Twitter (can’t stand FB), myself.

  2. all great tips, Brandi!

    I would add… use some sort of platform instead of the web interface. It makes lists easier to follow as well. (for example: tweetdeck, seesmic, whatever your preference is).

  3. I just signed up for Twitter last week and you were my first ‘following.’ You followed me back which I didn’t expect but appreciated. So this is a timely post for me. I especially like tip # 3 and will try to follow that tip. My blog is new and I’m trying to follow that there, too. Now I’ve got to work on getting my blog set up properly (kind of like yours with what you have on the right sidebar).

    Looking forward to the color palette blog walk on Friday!

  4. A perfect introduction to Twitter Brandi – I’ll be sharing this with the Etsy Greetings Team, there’s a few Twitter newbies that I think might appreciate this.

    And yes – I am totally a Twitter girl! I adore it, it’s my constant companion when I’m home alone! It’s even led to some real life meetings, as well as lots of lovely blog hops and the like. On the other hand, facebook just confuses me and seems less like actual communication to me although most of my friends and family are FB people so I still pop in to see what they’re up to.

  5. Brandi, yet more great information to read and reread. I’d like to use my Twitter account more effectively rather than the occasional second-thought. Thank you for sharing your insight. You are always brimming with great business information!
    BTW, I loved the pictures from the fair. I can see why you’d also like to take night time photos, but these were great. There’s nothing like those classic ferris wheel shots!

  6. Hi Brandi and everyone,

    I’m with Lori… makes me nervous… lol And you are correct #5: Don’t try to keep up with everything”, I tried that when I first started twitter… I felt like a hamster on a wheel, spinning out of control… you have the @ and the # Slow down! lol Whew! To much information in such little time.

    So when the spinning stopped, I realized what a useful tool twitter is for me (on a part time bases). Furthermore, I have become friends with a some of my followers, started supporting a new cause (angels4epilepsy), and discovered sites and one of a kind products, which would not have happened without twitter. With that is mind, I suppose running on my wheel for 15 minutes a day is worth it…;o)

    Thank you Brandi and everyone for the chat… off to figure out how to make a custom background for my twitter… ;o)