Tuesday, April 30

Some thoughts on twitter

Another rambling that may be helpful, may not! As always tweak to your own needs, disregard what you disagree with and have fun in your own way :)

Twitter is a fantastic meeting and melting point for the small business owner, you get to chat to like minded, network, find customers, find suppliers and get loads of advice all from merrily clicking away.  I only asked the other day how did small businesses cope without twitter? And genuinely meant it because I have met (on line and then in real life) some fantastic people.  So many of our newer sellers are because of it, I found a helpful solicitor when I needed one, someone to help me with some branding issues and so so many more that the list would be stupidly long.

Why does it work for us?  Because I use it - and that is the simplicity of it.  To get the most out of it you need to play with it, engage with people, chat, share and generally be visible.

Try to imagine you walk into a party where you vaguely know one or two but the rest are strangers, who are you drawn to? Who do you continue to chat with and meet later?  Is it the one that just says 'did you know I sold 3 cars yesterday, I can tell you all about it ...' and then drones on with tedious detail about the engine size etc etc all of which you have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.  Is it the person that every time you say something they've been there, done it better and got the T shirt? Or is it the person that says 'hello, don't think we've met before - how are you?' and then actually has a conversation and a giggle with you?

Hmm not exactly rocket science is it, and that's exactly what twitter is.  There's a mix of car sellers, T shirt wearers and chatters and you can follow or be any or all 3 of these types.  If you are the one who only ever says 'I just listed 3 items on etsy' you're not likely to gain that many followers, let's face it that's quite dull.  Likewise if someone you tweet with just says 'oh no, another disaster why did I bother' they tend to bring you down.  We all have moans, just like in real life but again we have enough misery of our own without hearing other people's all the time!

I try to work on a 1/3 basis of tweets - 1/3 is information such as 'we've just got our lastest offers going'; 1/3 sharing - re-tweeting people, or talking about someone else and 1/3 random drivel - usually about the stupidity of my cat to be honest, but it works for me.  Not saying I'm an expert but that balance seems to work for me and a basic rule of thumb it's probably a good starting point.

Dont't be frightened of it, and just remember that in exactly the same way you wouldn't announce to a room full of strangers about something really intimate and personal don't do it on twitter!  When you tweet, try to imagine that at the party everyone can hear exactly what you say for good and for bad.  So, thinking you're whispering to the woman next to you 'flip, does she really think she can wear that?' is heard by everyone, including the woman in the wrong outfit! 

Gradually, as you would in real life you start conversations with folk and find some utter gems of people that become friends.  I have twitter buddies around the world, and it's great to catch up with them, it's sort of like when you had pen pals at school and talk to people you've not met yet.  Equally I have met some trolls, and if in doubt block and report them - use your instinct about people, don't engage just report.  It's their choice what they put and not up to you to police them, but often if enough report a person they are suspended by twitter so use that facility if necessary.  Please don't say 'you all need to unfollow @bibble-twit' because all you do is give them exposure which is often what they wanted.

You are not obligated to follow anyone, but use your common sense.  Again, the party scenario - and also try and remember that just because you get annoyed by seeing stuff about for example Britain's Got Talent but love tennis there will be followers on your timeline going yuk tennis again.  We can have different interests so don't be rude about others, just go do something else or ignore them for an hour till it's finished!  As in real life your friends will do or like stuff that you just think is odd, they're still your friend just with a different take on things - exactly the same on twitter.

Hope that helps and have fun, Hippo x