I’ve been running my on business for over two years now, and have some form of presence on nearly all of the social media platforms, however, Twitter is by far and away my favourite -not to mention, most successful – of all my accounts. This is a little ironic as when I was starting out Twitter both scared and mystified me; I didn’t understand all the terms, or how to use the platform – when to tweet, what to tweet, how to use hashtags, etc, etc.
As a massive twitter convert, I thought I would write a series of tutorials, containing the sort of information and tips, that I would have found useful when I was starting out on Twitter, in the hopes it might help other creative startups!
I thought I’d start with the obvious, and for some people the most confusing, aspect of twitter – using hashtags!
Put plainly, a hashtag is something which you include in your tweets, to increase the likelihood that it will be seen by other twitter users. This basically works in one of three ways; I’m going to list them in what I see as their order of importance, for small, creative businesses, like ours. I’ll start with the most important:
There are certain hours set aside each week, where people tweet about a certain subject, using a specific hashtag – I’ll suggest a couple of my favourites at the end of the post – but here’s just one example: #HandmadeHour runs every Wednesday 19.30-20.30 (GMT) and every Sunday (20.00-21.00 (GMT) – during this time lots of people with handmade businesses, as well as people who love to buy handmade, are all tweeting, using the hashtag #HandmadeHour, as well as searching for other tweets including that hashtag – it’s a huge community, and there will be lots of people liking, retweeting, and commenting on your work (more of all those terms later!) this means that more and more people are seeing your tweets, and your work, and I can say from experience that it does create sales!
Here’s a couple of examples of the sorts of things I might tweet during #HandmadeHour:
‘I hand print beautiful designs onto eco-friendly kraft paper #handmadehour’
I will also tweet about specific products, e.g. with Father’s Day coming up, I might tweet something like ‘Wish your dad a happy #FathersDay, with my handmade bunny print card #handmadehour’
I would also add a link to my shop or specific product in question, and often a picture as well (if I haven’t already used up my 140 characters!) I might also tag other twitter users in some posts too… But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s just get the basics of hashtags this time round!
Searching Using Hashtags
People with a particular interest or need might search for certain hashtags, e.g. in the run up to Father’s Day people might be looking for gift ideas or cards, so may search for such hashtags as – #FathersDay, #HappyFathersDay, or #FathersDayCard (side note – do not put any punctuation in your hashtags, as it will separate the words, e.g. if you tweeted #father’sdaycards, twitter would post it as #father ‘sdaycards.) So, for example, if someone searched #FathersDay, then my previous tweet, where I used the hashtag #FathersDay, would be amongst the search search results.
Now, it may be amongst thousands upon thousands of other tweets using #FathersDay, however, if you use more niche terms, then your chance of reaching your target customer is far higher. For example, I have a range of dog designs, so if I include the breed of the dog in a tweet about the product, lovers of that particular breed may well find it, as they like to keep up-to-date with, for example, all things #Frenchie, or all things #Pug!
Using the Search function in Twitter (just click on the magnifying glass icon), you can see what the top trending hashtags are at any time; if you think you’ve got something to shout about which relates to one of them, then you could include it in a tweet; e.g. recently #NationalPuppyDay was trending, which gave me an opportunity to tweet about my dog designs. Don’t just add a trending hashtag to your tweet for the sake of it though – this is bad twitter etiquette!
My Favourite Networking Hours
#wineoclock #womaninbiz: Mon-Fri, 18.00-19.00 – use these two hashtags together, to network with other small business owners; this is a really nice community hour.
#handmadehour: Wed, 19.30-20.30, Sun, 20.00-21.00 – biggest networking hours of the week for handmade businesses.
#woofwoofwednesday: Wed, 20.00-21.00 – a chance for dog lovers, and dog-based businesses to network, share products, and generally drool over each other’s dogs!
#crafthour: Sun, 19.00-20.00 – a close second to #handmadehour.
Any Questions? Just leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!