Monday, March 29, 2010

How to get More Twitter Followers and Reaching the Right Crowd

Paint My Love Wine Glass Dove Placecards by thebridegene

Twitter can be a fantastic promotional tool for your etsy shop when used properly. It takes a while to get established but it can potentially become a huge source of traffic and allow you to reach a targeted audience, which is a powerful feature not available to such an extent with many forms of promotion.

Another wonderful thing about twitter is that it allows you to really interact with and engage your audience- a very important component of effective promotion that translates into real sales and networking/publicity opportunities.

Follow Me Twitter Tattoo Tights by post

Build Up Your Numbers
One of the challenges most people face with twitter is not knowing how to build up their follower base. If you’re stuck at around 200-500 followers, it’s likely twitter isn’t working nearly as well as it could be for you. I’d suggest setting a goal of reaching at least around 2000 followers to really get a feel for the effectiveness of twitter as a promotional strategy.

A basic strategy you can use to build up your follower numbers is : Follow, Reciprocate and Flush (defined below). I use to manage most of this easily all from the one place (it will save you a lot of time! I love Tweepi!).

Follow- If you seek out and follow a lot of other people on twitter, many will follow you back, thus increasing your follower number.

Reciprocate- Some people will find you on their own and follow you- keep your followers by following them back.

Flush- To really build your follower numbers, you can follow as many people as you are able to (up to your limit) then wait for a period before ‘flushing’ (unfollowing) the users who did not follow you back. This allows you to then repeat the process and start finding more people to follow.

Additional Info & Tips:
Make sure you don’t follow or flush too many people in one go or you might get suspended. I avoid following more than about 60-80 in one go, then I leave it for at least an hour. I wait about a week in between unfollowing sessions to allow time for people to follow me back.
You can keep an eye on changes in your follower number by using a twitter stats site such as TwitterCounter (although I’m not sure if it’s always accurate).

Bunny and the Bird Coinpurse Hand Illustrated by PocketCarnival

Clever Following
As well as building up a good quantity of followers, it really is critical to make sure you seek out the right kind of audience for your products. If all of your followers are fellow sellers, it’s unlikely that your twitter activity is going to translate into sales very often (unless you’re a supply seller etc), or it might mean that you have to put in a huge amount of effort to get any results because your approach is not optimal.

This part requires thinking outside the box a bit and working out your target market (you may have a very broad or very specific target market, both of which have advantages and disadvantages). Once you have some ideas about who your target market is, there are two main strategies I’d recommend for finding people to follow (in the hope that they will follow you back):

Following Followers- find people based on the publications, companies etc that they follow. For example, if you sell children’s clothing, you could find a parenting magazine on twitter and follow their followers- perfect target market just waiting for you! You can do this easily by using the ‘geeky follow’ feature on tweepi (or directly on twitter).

Search Using Keywords- you can use the advanced search function on twitter to find appropriate people to follow by using keywords they might tweet about, keywords in their profile, and based on location. So you could search for people in your city, people tweeting about crying (if you sell baby clothes!), people tweeting about a craft show or market that might mean they’re interested in handmade etc etc. Maybe try people who tweet about shopping and see if you can grab some shopaholics ;)

(Note- it can be good to have some fellow sellers to chat to on twitter to help you get the conversation moving and help you with retweets etc, I just wouldn’t recommend seeking out other etsians as your only strategy)

Cables Across the Sky Beanie by Zwilling
One of my lovely Twitter followers!

Keep Your Followers and Establish a Connection
Traditional advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be (according to the experts!), and the challenge is to really engage and interact with your audience. Keeping this in mind can be very helpful in translating twitter follows into actual sales. I think this is particularly relevant for selling on etsy, where ‘the story’ and the person behind the shop are important aspects of the product.

So try and interact with your followers as much as you can (efficiently- you don’t want to spend hours on there!).

Some things you could try:
- Ask for feedback and ideas
- Ask other kinds of questions (Qs are likely to encourage a response)
- Re-tweet other people and thank people for RTs
- Respond to comments from your followers and comment on other people’s tweets
- FormSpring is a site that allows people to ask you questions and you can answer them and arrange it so that the answers are tweeted out to your followers- it’s like a mini interview!

A very important thing to avoid doing on twitter is spamming- including meaningful interactive content in your tweets and only posting links about your shop sometimes will help keep this balance and prevent loss of followers.

Robot Watch Necklace by lovespelljewels

Efficiency (or ‘Twitter for Lazy People’)
I’m very busy, as are many of you, so I am always looking for ways to streamline my promotion. Twitterfeed is a site that allows you to set up automatic tweets whenever you post a new blog post, facebook update, list a new etsy item etc. I have all of those things set up for my twitter account and it does a lot of the work for me! Just a couple of things to keep in mind using automated tools like this:
- Think about the settings you use. TwitterFeed allows you to set the frequency and the number of automatic tweets to be sent out. For example, if you list 10 etsy items at once, do you really want to send out 10 shop link tweets in a row?
- Some ‘live’ chat is good as well as using these kinds of services.
- You can set a tweet prefix in twitterfeed. I used to have ‘Just listed’ for my new etsy listings, but when I thought about it more carefully, I realised that many of my followers would not be familiar with etsy and might not know what that meant! I have now changed it to ‘now in store’.

Ocean and Sky Graphite Pencils by Missisaau

Additional Tips:
You can easily manage your twitter accounts and facebook etc all from one place by using HootSuite! This is another way I find targeted followers- you can add a column that will show tweets from people containing keywords that you've set.

Check out my post about scheduling tweets - particularly relevant for international sellers or sellers who want to promote while asleep (and reach international buyers)! This can also help you be more efficient with your normal twitter activities.

I've also put together information on where to find free buttons for your blog, including 'Follow Me' twitter buttons for your blog or website- this can help build your twitter following too!

Happy twittery tweeting!

Purple Recycled Bird Earrings in Titanium by polkadotmagpie

You can find me on twitter here - I follow back :)

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Twitter Power Book Joel Comm

How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time -


  1. Thanks for the helpful info. It can be difficult to find the balance of using twitter as an effective marketing tool and not letting it be a time suck. I look forward to trying some of your suggestions.


  2. Wow...that was fantastic! So helpful, thank you for sharing! I found I've got exactly what you said, 90% of my followers are fellow sellers! Off to seek different markets!

  3. This is brilliant and so helpful! Thank you so much Nicky.

  4. Great post Nicky,

    I must admit I haven't been strategic enough with my twitter follower buildup... but have implemented some of your tips already, and it's working!

    :) Thanks again,
    x Ange.

  5. Thanks challenge is not getting stuck on twitter chatting!
    Great advice here... : )

  6. This is fascinating - I don't use twitter like this, because I like to at least skim everything said by the people I follow, but it is amazing to hear these ideas how it can be used on such a mass scale.
    I'm guessing Tweepi allows you to track replies? You couldn't just use your twitterstream as they would be lost under noise. I use RSS for this which works pretty well I guess.
    Anyway, thanks for a really interesting read.

  7. Pixelated Mushroom

    Yes it does allow you to track replies :)

    Glad everyone is finding it helpful!

  8. Thank you for this great advice! Tweepi rocks!

  9. This is probably the most helpful blogpost I have ever read! I bookmarked it and thank you so much!!

  10. Thank you so much for this information you posted this link in the forum. I'm glad you are a member of the SASSy team. I have actually contacted a couple of people on that team and asked for a mentor, but no one has gotten back to me. I know everyone is really busy and all. Are you available as a mentor? I really need help promoting it is so unfamiliar to me!! I will send you a convo through Etsy and thanks again!!

  11. You are TOTALLY AWESOME! Your sharing spirit and expertise is fantastic and much appreciated.
    Thank You!

  12. I actually prefer to build my list in a more sort of "organic" way these days. At first I went spent a day doing the whole "follow as many people as poss and delete those who don't replicate"..but you just end up with a bunch of people you're not actually interested in on your twitter page and it's no fun! It felt ungenuine and I always feel a bit peeved when I notice people doing it to me. I left twitter for a while then decided to give it another go, only following people I was genuinely interested in and am having a much better experience! Tons of interesting links and news, funny conversations and more genuine connections :) As for followers, i advertise the fact that I have twitter and slowly but surely people are adding me who are (mostly) actually interested in me/my shop/blog. Which is really good! Quality over quantity I think is better in the long run.

    Sorry for the essay! Just another point of view :) I like your tips on keeping followers and establishing connections.

  13. Thanks for the information, I still feel lost on twitter, but with practice I'm hoping to get the hang of it.

  14. Very helpful blog post! Thanks so much. =)

  15. One of the best Twitter articles I've seen! Actually gave me lots of new ideas I'd never heard before, thanks :)

  16. Great post alot of information
    I'm starting to work on it :)


  17. Working my way through your list! Thanks for putting me on to Tweepi. There's a cool tool.

  18. great tips.... am checking out the gadgets and geegaws now!

  19. I seem to fall into your sellers etsians 200-500 category so thank you for all the info and I am now following you :-)

  20. This is full of such great advice! Thank you so much for sharing this information! :)

  21. Interesting article, thanx for the great advices! I hope to get out of the 200-500 category soon ...

  22. I've just found your blog and have already spent far too long here! So many great tips thank you.

    Twitter is still a bit of a mystery to me - finding time to make products, list them, research keywords for SEO, market off-Etsy, blog, network, find other blogs to follow, etc. etc. etc. as well as tweet is a challenge..... but this is a wake-up that provided you're focused and consistent, twitter can be an effective tool....

    Thank you again, L x

  23. Thank you for this article. I am still fairly new to twitter and this has helped a lot. Much appreciated!

  24. Thanks this is helpful, am going to try to up my twitter game and make it more personal. : )

  25. Thank you for the information. I'm fairly new to twitter and haven't really learned the ropes.

  26. GREAT info! Thanks so much to all of us "newbies" who are trying to maximize the return on social media!

  27. 200 followers - I've only got 55 so far! I obviously need to do a lot of work. Thanks for all the advice.

  28. Thank you for the helpful post! :)
    Indeed very useful for a newbie to both Etsy and twitter!

  29. @denise mackenzie - I know what you mean. I've got less than 100 and now 200 is meant to be failing. Wow now I really feel like a loser!!

    These are good tips though, and I'm going to try some of them out now. Particularly like the follow and flush idea. Although not convinced about timed tweets. Feels too impersonal.

  30. Now something like THIS article is what I have been looking for! Help driving new traffic onto Planet Etsy from external sources...Yeahhyyy! Thank you!

  31. Thank you for following me and sharing what you found to be helpful with building traffic. I really appreciate it! I think you are right about marketing outside of Etsy, itself. My husband has been saying the same thing. Will be following you. :) Thanks!


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