Before I started selling t-shirts online I had an aversion to Twitter. I thought, “How silly? I already have a Facebook account and only put up goofy status updates anyway. Why would I start using a new fad and be limited to 140 characters?” The fact that you would hear the inanity of someone’s inner monologue being played out like a checklist of things they’ve accomplished throughout the day sounded like a waste of time. Then I started working in the POD business and thought maybe I should revisit this tool.
Truth is, Twitter is not a fad anymore. There are millions of users on Twitter and businesses can reach targeted audiences with well crafted tweets that advertise their products. Now, I have tried to be balanced in my tweeting since I use Twitter for both my regular and store blog, but I’ve come to hand a lot of the heavy lifting to automatic updates from various sources. I’m still tweaking as I go for maximum efficiency and better user experience. I have a snake eating its own tail type of pretzel logic involved with my Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, and blogs, so bear with me. A lot of this is regurgitation from the net and I’m only detailing some of it as a lead up.
- Create your feed
Be mindful of your user name. I didn’t want myself or someone to have to type MONGOANGRYMONGOSMASH into a URL so I went with AngryMongo which is the middle of my store name and still retains some brand awareness.
- Customize your profile
Depending on who you are, there could be people or businesses out there with similar account names. Make sure you customize your profile to include a picture or logo that is part of your branding. I use the Mongo image on my Twitter avatar. I’ve also done myslef a disservice by doing very little to spruce up my bio since I set it up. I didn't put a lot of thought into my initial jaunt into Twitter. I think right now it just says, “Grrr, Arrgh!”
- Get the word out
If you already have a blog or store or even Facebook fan page you can mention you are on Twitter through these channels. If you don’t, you can embed your Twitter feed name into the basic structure of your POD stores on Zazzle, Skreened, CafePress, or what have you.
- TWEET TWEET TWEET
Start tweeting. Start off small, but be consistent. If you can you manage to come up with something every day that is interesting and relevant, do it. Sometimes I just have an opinion like, "In the year 3000 the Earth will have 12 billion people and three last names, Suleman, Gosselin, and Duggar." I try to consistently interject other tweets to break up the flow. It's more like “SELL, SELL, SELL, SELL” that can become stale. More often it becomes “SELL, FACEBOOK DESIGN ADD, SELL, BLOGPOST, SELL, RANT, SELL, WTF TWEET, SELL.” See more about this in step 6. Automation.
- Attract followers
There are a few ways to do this. Some may benefit you and some my just get you a lot of clutter in your feed.
- Follow someone else
You can search keywords like Zazzle or Tshirt and start looking for others in the business. If you follow them and engage them on a complimentary level, they may follow you. I wouldn’t suggest a celebrity because I’m sure they don’t have their Twitter feed turned on to display all their followers’ tweets.
- Use Twitter like a customerStart looking for people interested in stuff like you and follow them. You may see some spillage from them into your followers list. But, unfortunately, you need to hack and slash who you follow if they aren’t following you back. It’s nothing personal and people will do it to you as well.
- Just start following random people.
Go to their followers and follow them. It’s a wholesale approach that might gain a lot of followers who have no interest in what you do and are only looking to build their followers but you may get some staying power if you’re good.
Like anything else, whether it be savings, paying bills, or getting paid, I’m all for automation. Technology has made me lazy but it helps so much to be in the “set it and forget it” camp. I have 2 blogs, 2 Facebook pages, and four stores all running at once. Remember, this is not my main job. This is a side gig. Because of all this cross pollination going on I decided to make my Twitter feed an automated process, too. Let’s look at how I handle promotion and interaction with the Internet on a regular basis.
- STORE DIRECT TO TWITTER
- I create a design for my stores.
- I post the design on Zazzle (or any store)
- Zazzle updates my Twitter account with the design.
- FACEBOOK DIRECT TO TWITTER
- I add the design to my Facebook fan page’s photo album with links to all the stores carrying it or post a link to a specific design in my status update (Holiday, season, movie)
- Facebook updates my Twitter account with the added design or status update.
- BLOG TO TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
- I blog about a design, a theme of designs, a tip for designers or shopkeepers.
- My Facebook fan page imports the blog post into my notes section.
- The blog also updates Twitter.
- TWITTER BACK TO BLOG
- Since I have two blogs on Blogger, I added a widget for Tweets in the one blog that is dedicated to everything but POD business So, I guess it does have some dedication to the POD business. Blew my own business model right out of the water there, didn't I?
The not so simple way is to manage each individual connection to Twitter. Somehow, I really screwed up my Zazzle feed last week. I used to see posts directly from Zazzle on my twitter feed. But, either because I screwed up my Zazzle store trying to add something to the code or because I screwed up my Twitter settings trying to add other connections, my Zazzle publications stopped coming through. So, I went back and started over using Twitterfeed as one source. To correct the issue with my Zazzle account, I just added another feed, solely for that store’s updates. Not everything I post to Zazzle ends up on Facebook, so it bypasses it altogether.
A few final thoughts for using Twitter to promote your stores and you brand.
- Don’t spam: There are better ways to promote yourself without directly telling people to buy it.
- Be topical and fresh: Try to keep your followers interested in what’s going on with your world.
- Learn to be effective with your given space: Bookmark bit.ly. Use that to condense your links and save on space.
- Learn hash tags: If you are posting about a particular topic, look it up in a keyword search and see what hash tags are most commonly used. A hash tag is a keyword with the # in front of it, like #Twilight.
- Set up a Google alert: Just because things are automatically happening doesn’t mean you shouldn't stalk yourself.
- Retweet: If you are following someone and they are tweeting interesting stuff, retweet it, especially if they are in the same line of work as you.
- Twitter As a Traffic Generator : Set Up a TwitterFeed by Loren Baker
- Step by step instructions for setting up Twitterfeed By Kathryn Vercillo at eHow
- Twitterfeed Tutorial by Matthew Neer
- Adding a twitter widget you your blog in Blogger by Blogspot Tutorial
- Google Alerts by Linda McCloud at eHow