Thursday, 5 November 2009

Making Twitter Work for You

Twitter is pointless - or so it seems. Thousands of people typing 140 character messages about everything and anything. And who WANTS to read about someone-you-have-never-met's allergies, what their cute pet did today or how much they hate (insert politician's name here)? BUT like all social networking tools you CAN make Twitter work for you. The secret to using Twitter to promote your art is Quality not Quantity.

Firstly, are you following a gazillion people but, in comparison, only being followed by a fraction of that number?
Secondly, do you ever get a direct response to anything you say on Twitter or does your message get lost in the river of everyone else's tweets?
Thirdly, are you reading other people's tweets and thinking "well why do I care?"

It's time to organise your Twitter.
Firstly, you need to do some weeding out and stop following people who are not following you. Personally, I only follow four famous people - they are never going to read my tweets anyway. Unfollow all those people whose tweets you are reading but are not reading yours. They probably won't notice anyway.
Secondly, remove all those people who are following you that you probably wouldn't really want a relationship with such as people who bombard you with links with every tweet, people who make political statements that you don't agree with (block those) and people who offer to increase your followers if you sign up to their sites.*

*Once you sign up with this type of site you will be unwittingly displaying their promotional tweets too.

How do you do sort through all these people quickly and efficiently? Friend or Type in your Twitter name and go to Following. Click on each avatar and start unfollowing.

Thirdly, sort through your Fans on the Friend or Follow site. These are people who are following you but you are not following them. Click on each avatar and decide "Do I want to follow this person"? If not you have a choice - ignore them or block them. If you DO want to follow them click Follow (duh) and send them a Direct Message.

Now you have given your Twitter account a spring clean it's time to start afresh. Direct Messaging (DM) is your opportunity to send a personal message to your followers and begin a personal relationship with potential customers or like-minded people. for every new person who follows you send them a Thankyou and Welcome to... message. If they send you a similar kind of message respond with a simple message back.

Your Twitter Homepage Have you added your own personal background? Does it reflect you or what you do? If you make art then set your images as wallpaper or create a logo or a cartoon. Update your Bio with a direct profile about what you do and add a link to your website, blog or shop.

Sorting out your Followers It would be very short sighted of you to only accept followers who are artists. Everyone is a potential customer/friend/collaborator unless they are "hard sell" merchants (people who bombard you with links but don't actually interact on Twitter). But let's say you have something of interest that only a proportion of your followers would be interested in, for example - a local event? Well clever Twitter has now added a new tool for you to use - the List. Sort your followers into lists and use your list to DM them (after all, if you have 22,330 followers, like
Green Day * has, you can't physically DM all of them at once).

*I'm not jealous...

Tweeting Think about the types of tweets you are posting - are you just continually sending out links (look at me! look at me!) or do your tweets have a more human aspect to them? Nobody wants to click on a link and see EVERY piece of art you have ever made - although they will look from time to time - but they do enjoy a humorous tweet. Keep your tweets friendly and imagine you are talking personally to a real person. Each message is only 140 characters long but don't let that limit you in what you want to say. You can post several tweets in a row to keep the story going and say exactly what you want to say. If your website address take up too much space in your tweet then go to and reduce the size of the URL.

Links to your Twitter So, in conclusion, there is only one purpose to Twitter which, like all social networking, is to drive traffic to your website, blog or shop. This means you should add a link to your Twitter on your Facebook page, Facebook Group, blog, website, on-line shop and anywhere else you can think of.

If you have found this blog post useful please follow me on Twitter and tweet about it too!


  1. Great tips. Twitter is great when used correctly, like most viral online tools. I hope people follow these tips!

  2. Great tips, thank you for sharing all of this usefull info. Sx

  3. These are great tips but I just wanted to add that my brother recently got de-twitted, or rather temporarily banned, by twitter for doing too many marketing tweets (mainly for my jewellery website - she says embarrassed) - I think it was unfair as loads of famous people do nothing but tweet their latest film or book or whatever.

  4. Great post! Been thinking about doing twitter for a while and this has given me a better idea of what its about, so thanks for sharing Xx

  5. Good point - Sus - & yes it is unfair.

  6. Great tips! I have been on Twitter for a while but still am in a learning process. Your tips have sorted a lot of things out for me!