Friday, 25 February 2011

Advanced Twittering

Guess who's back!
The first twitter guide seemed to go down really well with lots of people, so I thought a follow up on the more advanced features twitter has to offer would be equally helpful. Again, I am not really an expert twitterer, but I will do my best to explain what each feature does, and why you should use it.

Writing your Bio

When we signed up in the previous post, we didn't really talk about your bio. This is a place where you can describe yourself in 160 characters. You can stick a link in there too, allowing you to have a link to your folksy shop and your blog, depending on what you've listed as your website. To edit your bio, log in to twitter and then click on your username in the top right hand corner. A drop down menu should show a "settings" link, which you should click on. Along the blue bar there should be a link that says profile. Click on it, and you should see the box where you need to type your bio.

Knowing what to put in your bio can be tricky, especially when you're limited to 160 characters. In the bio for our twitter feed, I've just stated exactly what we do:

We are Po&Mo, a mother and daughter team that sell hand-crafted goods to (hopefully) the masses at our folksy store:
It's really up to you what you want to put on your bio, but including a link to your shop or blog can only be a good thing, as it will lead to more exposure.


Having a picture on twitter is something I'd advise as it sets you apart from everyone else who has the standard blank twitter picture! You can change it often if you want to display your wares, but remember it's a tiny picture so it might not be the best way to show what you're selling. Using the same picture as your folksy avatar is a good idea, as people may recognise you from the forums, and think "oooh, I know you!" and then click Follow! Whatever you chose, it helps to make your twitter feed unique to you. To change it, go to the same page as you did to edit your bio, and "change image" to upload a different picture.

Oooh, all this customisation...

It's nice to be able to mould your twitter into something unique to you and your store, so don't stop at your bio and picture! You can actually change a lot more about the way your twitter feed looks, from the text colour and links to the sidebar colour and background. To do this, go back to the settings page, and click "design". From here you can chose a pre-set theme, which you can then edit, by clicking "Change Design Colours". You can also include an image as your background, by clicking "Change background image", although the size of the image must be less than 800kb. You can resize an image using any paint programme. This means you can have an actual product adorning the background of your twitter feed!

Hash-tags? Like...hashbrowns? Mmm...

No, not at all! You may have heard about hashtags, or seen them being used around twitter. A hashtag is one of these # little symbols before a word. They are used to help people searching for certain topics being mentioned in tweets. This can be quite hard to explain, so here's an example. Say you're looking for all tweets related to fishing. If you just entered the word "fishing", you would be opening the search feed to anyone who mentioned the word fishing. Therefore anyone using it out of your context (e.g. say someone has tweeted about someone "fishing" for a favour) would have their tweet displayed in the results. However, if you search for #fishing, you will only be given results from people who deliberately want their tweet to be shown under the trend of fishing. Try searching using the #folksy hashtag, and see what you find! You can also include the hashtag in your tweets to ensure they show up when someone searches for folksy.

Wow. I can do all this?

And more! My post on the folksy forums about this blog post got some replies with things I'd missed out.

Mogstogs had this to say on the subject of retweeting:

Here’s another tip – when you tweet about your shop or a new product, you are more likely to be retweeted if someone can RT without having to shorten your message. eg if someone retweets something of mine, it adds "RT @mogstogs: " to the start which is 14 characters. I know that, so I try to keep sales stuff to less than 126 characters. (although I don’t always manage it!)
I’m not saying it’ll make everyone retweet your stuff – but if I try to retweet something, and immediately I’m over the 140 limit, I’m not going to fanny about trying to reduce the length of it, I’ll just give up.

Another matter that was brought to my attention was the need for picture hosting. Now, if you want to show a picture of something you already have for sale on Folksy, this isn't a problem as Folksy already has the picture hosted for you. However, if you're looking for feedback on an as yet unlisted item, then you need to upload the photo yourself. The most obvious places to do this are Twitpic and Yfrog. Both sites are designed for use with twitter, and because of this you do not need to create a new account to use them. Instead, you can just sign in with your twitter details. You do not need to worry that either of those sites will have access to your twitter log in details. They are instead run as applications, an extension of your twitter account. To be able to use them, you need to "allow" the applications access to your account. This is not as worrying as it sounds - these applications will never be allowed to tweet anything of their own accord, and you retain complete control of your account.

To approve either of these applications, simply go to either Twitpic or Yfrog and click log in. You are given the option to create your own account, or log in using your twitter account. I'd recommend that you use your twitter account, as I already have enough log ins for various sites around the web, and don't fancy having to remember another one! This will then take you to twitter, where you will be asked to approve the application, and sign in if you are not already signed in. From there you will be asked to approve the application simply by clicking "approve". Then, voila, you can use either of these sources to share pictures.

To do this, return to your site of choice. I've personally chosen Yfrog, as Twitpic kept displaying error messages when connecting with twitter, which annoyed me. I think this is due to issues on twitter's end, but still, I'm trying to write a guide here, and these errors are really irritating. So, with Yfrog, the homepage when you are logged in displays the upload form - very efficient! Click browse, and select your image from your PC. Then you can write about it in the box underneath. Remember this will appear on your twitter feed, so you are restricted in the amount of characters you use - 100 max. Then simply click post it, approve the application, and wait for it to load. The yellow and white striped bar shows the sites progress in uploading your image.

Then, it's all done! Your picture is uploaded, your twitter feed will display the picture when the tweet is clicked on, and you have a lovely page just like this one. Simples!

Well that gives me lots to think about...

It does, doesn't it? I'm kind of worn out from all this typing too, so I think that'll be it for now. If you have any questions, as always, stick them in the comments. We really appreciate any feedback we get as well, so keep it coming! As always, happy twittering, and good luck over on Folksy - I'm not sure about everyone else, but our sales are still pretty shocking!




1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the post it was really helpful. It's nice to know there are mother & daughter teams out there who work like my mum and me (I do all the tech stuff and she does the making) It just goes to show families can work together!! Thanks for the blog.

    Katie x