September 14, 2012

#FollowFriday: understanding Twitter

What is a tweet? How can it help your Etsy shop? How can you use Team Upcyclers and Twitter to maximize your social media efforts and therefore expand your online reach?

Twitter’s front page says, “Find out what’s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.” 

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service.  I like to call it my tweeting newspaper. With an email address and a little info anyone can join the Twitter community. It is estimated that Twitter has 175 million users. I think this translates into around 50 (active) million users when you look closely at the data. So let’s talk about how we can show those 50 million our beautiful upcycled creations!

The best advantage to Twitter, you get to look at what YOU want.  I have customized my personal Twitter account so that I view tweets from friends, organizations, recycling experts, and even my favorite shops and local restaurants.  When I log on I view DIY tutorials, artwork, sales, coupons, events, breaking local, national and International news.  I chat (or tweet) with friends all over the world.  Whatever is important to me! There are no ads on the sidebar targeting your profile to try to sell you something either! 

An important part to making Twitter successful is who you follow.  Check out people before you start following them.  How often do they tweet, what do they stand for, and how many followers do they have? There are spammers on Twitter, if you happen to follow one, just unfollow them.  It’s your tweeting newspaper.

Twitter Profile

Your Twitter profile is your first impression, your shop’s advertisement into the Twitter world. It should contain as much info as possible.  Your profile info is also picked up in Twitter’s search engines.
The red arrow is pointing the BIO section of our team's Twitter profile. It is good to place hashtags that you use in the profile, along with your Etsy shop or blog links.  I will discuss hashtags below.

Tweet, Tweet

Ok, you have a Twitter account, a juicy profile and a cool photo/logo, now it’s time to tweet.  A tweet is a post or status update on Twitter.  Your post has to be 140 characters or less. This is where tweeters, just like texters, get creative.  At first glance your Twitter feed might seem like a foreign language, but just take a minute to read it. 

@ symbol before any word is a Twitter handle or username (@TeamUupcyclers).
# symbol before any word is called a hashtag and is used much like a label in a blog post. They are just a way to have your tweets found or for you to search by subject on Twitter’s platform.  I will continue to talk more about these hashtags below.

RT means Re-Tweet... another person saw your status update (tweet) and shared or posted it into their feed (retweet).

Instead of the word “are” you might see “R”, instead of the word “for” you might see a “4.”  Tweeters find ways to say as much as possible in their 140 characters.

Favorite a Tweet – See a great quote or news article that you would like to read or share, just favorite the tweet and come back to it later.

What should I tweet?

If you are an Etsy shop it is good to tweet your new listings, your sales, treasuries you were featured in, and other shop related news.  It is equally important NOT to tweet about your shop. Tweet about your other interests, a funny quote, DIY craft ideas, ways to upcycle, or a good articles that you read online. People on Twitter don’t want to follow ads, they want to follow people. Successful shops don’t solicit their tweeters. They cross promote other shops and information to their followers.  The team tweets articles from the blog, our Facebook posts, retweets from our members, and other Etsy happenings. The team also tweets and RTs non-etsy news: quotes, tutorials, photos, environmental news, etc.



Example Tweet
@TeamUpcyclers tweets: “Great article on #upcycled #gift ideas on #Etsy! Love 2 Upcycle: Sustainable Fall Finds #teamupcyclers #upcycle #Fall” (That tweet was 138 characters).

People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets. This helps the tweet show up more easily in Twitter searches.
You can click on any hashtagged word in a tweet and Twitter will show you all
other Tweets marked with that keyword.  Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.  Similar to Etsy’s treasury tags, hashtagged words that become popular are often Trending Topics on the front page of Twitter.
Our team’s hashtag is #teamupcyclers or #TeamUpcyclers or #TEAMUPCYCLERS. Capitalization doesn’t matter on Twitter.  If you click on this tag in a tweet, you can find what the team is talking about and sharing.  Other popular hashtags (in our Etsy world): #handmade #handmadebot #etsy  #upcycled #upcycle #upcycling #green #eco #coupon #sale

How to maximize Twitter

There is a lot of research out there on how often you should post to your Twitter account. Twitter’s newsfeed isn’t like Facebook’s. A person can tweet several times in an hour without being annoying.  I find it ideal to tweet original content around three times a day.  It is good to interact and RT (retweet) several times a day too.  What? You don’t have time to hang around your Twitter feed all day? Don’t! With a little help and less than an hour of your time a week, you can make Twitter work wonders for you.

Every day I check my personal Twitter account @TheWoodenBee, to see if anyone has mentioned me in a tweet, or if anyone has retweeted my tweets.  I glance at new followers and read a few tweets in my feed. I search my favorite tags and then I'm done.  I spend about 10 minutes (or less) a day on Twitter. Then once a month I spend 30 minutes on two sites called Timely and Twuffer, and they take care of the rest. Let me explain…

Timely is a site that analyzes your past tweets, determines the best time to send them and then all future tweets will be sent on that schedule. This is a fantastic site that really gives you a good idea what is going on with your tweets in Twitter world. Here's a snapshot of the weekly report I get via email.
Twuffer allows Twitter users to compose a list of future tweets and schedule their release. This is great for utilizing the #followfriday tag, or the #ecomonday hashtags (which I will discuss below). You can pick the day and time your tweets are published.
If you are promoting your shop on Facebook as well, it is important to connect your Facebook account to your Twitter account, then when you post to Facebook, it will automatically tweet the same status to Twitter. Time Saver!
Important! Though these third party sites are a great help, people don’t want to follow robots. You have to get online and talk to people. You shouldn’t tweet the same things! Your content should stay fresh and then so will your Twitter audience as your account will continue to grow.

Friendly Faces and Twitter Chats:

@TeamUpcyclers follows our members, ecofriendly organizations, and environmentally conscious news networks.  We RT listings with the hashtag #teamupcyclers, so this is further exposure for your shop’s tweets. 

Check out these friendly faces on Twitter:

@TheWoodenBee @Pir8T @SnazzyTickets @UpcycleFever @CloneHardware @MikesTshirtYarn @laalicia  You can find a full list of our Upcycled Etsy shops here.

Many groups use Twitter for live chatting with a large group of people.  Twitter Chats are scheduled throughout the week and you are welcome to join in, just use the chat’s hashtag in your tweets.  There is a large gardening community on Twitter. If you search the hashtag #gardenchat, #rosechat, or #seedchat you will see all the related tweets. #GardenChat has a guest speaker and new topic each Monday evening.  The hashtag chat #sundaysupper is active on Sunday afternoons, bringing you home cooked recipes and menu ideas. Twitter goes green on Mondays with #EcoMonday hashtags. And Fridays are your chance to view and share follower recommendations with the #followfriday hashtag. Fridays usually yield more followers and higher traffic. There are many more chats available with a little research.
My final tip, don't waste your time with Twitter's DM (direct messaging service). We should tweet on Twitter, if you need to talk privately try a different method. Spammers and hackers try to use DMs and you should never click on links messaged to you.  Create a strong password and make sure you log on and off each time you use the service.

Let Twitter work with your current social media networks to reach a larger online audience. Be sure to connect it to your Etsy shop!  It's totally worth your time and it costs nothing!  I know it has gotten me dozens of Etsy orders.
Feel free to comment with questions or ideas, or tweet us on Twitter.



  1. Bee, this is a great and helpful article!! I have been staying away from Twitter but now I am considering it. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you Sarah! Let me know when you get online! :)

  2. This was really helpful! I'm not that active yet on twitter and hadn't thought of many of these points. Thank you!

    1. I couldn't find you. Tweet me so I can. @thewoodenbee Thanks! :)

  3. You're welcome. I will have to make sure I am following you! ;)

  4. GREAT Post!!!!
    This is really helpful!!
    Thank you very much!

  5. nicely explained. thanks for the tips!

  6. Great article Bee...Thank you so much for posting! I'm not a fan of twitter...hopefully this will help me become one!

    1. Thank you Patricia, I know some people aren't fans. If you understand hashtags and use them I think it is much more enjoyable, specific to what you want to read... a great tweeting newspaper. :)

  7. I have had several questions about other Twitter topics, so I am thinking about writing a second post to this article...on using twitter apps, how to share photos, and a few others Twitter things. Thank you all. :)

  8. Bee, this was very helpful. Some of us know I have been a Twitter hater for a while, and really just did not understand how to best use the site, even though I have had a Twitter account for months. I recently just started using it more, and am very excited to put this new information to use!

  9. Please note TIMELY is no longer in service!!!