Monday, 4 April 2016

Using Social Media For Your Business - Twitter

Last time we were discussing using Facebook to help promote your business and this time we're going to talk about Twitter. As I mentioned, Facebook is definitely my preferred social media platform, however, Twitter definitely has it good points too.
Twitter is an excellent platform for instant interaction between your customers, colleagues, friends and of course yourself. The one downside is that your tweets are limited to 140 characters which I often find a challenge. There are no groups as such to join as with Facebook but it does have hashtag threads which are extremely useful when you want to focus in on a particular topic and you can search for the hashtag you're interested in for instance #crafts, #cardmaking, #jewellerymaking or even #downlandcrafter. I always remember the hashtag after I've tweeted which is less than ideal and I really must try to include them all the time as it can make a huge difference to your post reach.
If you haven't already set up a Twitter account for your business then I would definitely do so, it is equally as important to have a Twitter presence as well as a Facebook page. Many people prefer one or the other and you don't want to only reach half of your potential customers. Setting up your account is extremely easy just visit and enter your details. Twitter profiles have an @ at the beginning you can follow us @DownlandCrafts and we'll follow you back.
Using Twitter itself is an easy enough process however you will need to flick between screens to see your notifications, messages and your timeline. Personally I use on my laptop. This a free service and enables me to see everything at once, which is especially useful when you are taking part in a specific hashtag hour. You can customise your columns set up to show you exactly what you want at any given time such as your timeline, messages, notifications, favourite hashtags etc.
There is also Hootsuite which enables you to manage all your social media profiles in one place, not just your Twitter ones. Hootsuite is free to use for up to 3 social networks and you can choose to upgrade if you wish to add more but there will be a charge for this. I have recently set up an account with Hootsuite but as yet have not used it to publish posts, so perhaps we'll come back to it at a later date when I have more information to share with you.
As well as general hashtag threads there are also hashtag hours. Try looking for your local area for instance #leitrimhour which takes place every Tuesday 9-10pm. Most will also have an account in the same name such as @leitrimhour which you can follow for information, the account profile will also show what day and time the hour takes place. There are 2 hours that I want to recommend to you. The first one is #irishcrafthour which takes place each Monday night 8-9pm and is a great way to interact with your fellow crafters and pick up a few hints and tips along the way. I take part when I can but unfortunately I often have other commitments and am not free at 8pm. The second one I want to mention is #irishbizparty and this one takes place on Wednesday nights 9-11pm which I am nearly always free for. The #irishbizparty is not craft specific but is an excellent networking tool and I have made many useful connections and friends by taking part. If you want to join in with either of these hours or indeed any other then simply use the # provided and your tweets will be seen by the others using it too. This is where the Tweetdeck columns come in very handy as you can see at a glance all the tweets using the same hashtag as you.
Twitter can be a little daunting at first, at least it was for me as I never knew what to say, but joining in with a specific hour is sort of like being at an event. Just say hello and mention it's your first time and someone will soon tweet you back. Be sure to include the hashtag and ideally follow the account as well. If you like you can tag me in your post @DownlandCrafts to get the ball rolling. You'll soon pick it up and people are very willing to help if you ask. Find a few people to follow and before you know it you'll be tweeting like a pro.
The important thing to remember about social media is that it is meant to be social. This may sound like an obvious thing to say but so many people, including myself before I knew better, simply post from a business perspective. The truth is that these days a lot of sales are made by people who buy from people not just businesses. I'm not suggesting that you necessary post lots of personal information but simply posting products for sale is not ideal either. Try to mix it up a bit with selling posts, information on your business, some behind the scenes info, work in progress, that kind of thing. I am guilty myself of knowing what to do but not necessarily doing it.
If you do feel you need help with Twitter or any other social media platform for instance then there are lots of people out there who run courses and can go into much more detail than I can. For instance @tweetinggoddess who is the founder of the #irishbizparty. There are many different social media platforms out there and you may wish to choose a few to focus on depending on your customer base. I have heard it said many times that it is better to be good at one or two social media platforms than bad at lots of them.
Until next time....happy crafting

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