A twitter account is free, and relatively simple and painless to set up. There are a few important things to remember however. Your username is how people will get in touch around twitter, so make it one that refers back to your folksy site. As hilarious as bananahammock37 is as a name, it doesn't really refer back to a Folksy store...unless you are selling knitted banana hammocks or something similar. For example, our twitter name is @Poandmo. It's simple, and links to our other online exploits - our facebook, folksy shop, and e-mail address.
Now you have an account, you can immediately start posting. Now, you will notice that when you do post, typing into the box makes the number "140" next to the "tweet" button go down. That's because on twitter you're limited to 140 characters, including spaces, per "tweet". Yes, that's what each individual message you post is called, not a "twit" or a...erm, well anything else, just a "tweet". What can you post in a tweet? Well, whatever you like really. However, before we move on to that, we should look at who is actually going to see the tweets you write.
Be my friend?
Before you worry about the content of your tweets, you should actually ensure someone is going to be able to see them. It doesn't matter if your 140 character ditties would make Shakespeare feel inadequate if no-one sees them. So, it's important that you follow people, and have them follow you back. Who should you follow? Your fellow folksy friends for a start, as well as people you know from other places who have a twitter account. There are already a number of threads on the folksy forums for people who have twitter and are looking for followers on a thread I've started here as well as some other threads here, here, and on the official Folksy facebook page here. To add people, either follow the link that they've posted and click the box that says Follow with a little green plus next to it.
If someone has just left a name, normally with an @ at the beginning, then you need to search for it. This is a bit more long winded, but again, simple enough. Go to the twitter homepage, and type in the name - go on, try it now, type @Poandmo in. Then click the "people" tab, and you'll see a button that says Follow, again with a little green plus next to it. There you go, now you're following us! If you add people, most folksy followers are nice enough to follow you back. However, a friendly message to anyone you add may also prompt them to follow you back.
Okay, so I've followed...now what?
Now you have an audience, we can work out what you need to preach to them! You can say whatever you like really, as long as it's 140 characters or less. It's likely that some of your tweets will relate to your folksy activity, be that updating your blog, adding new things to your store, or having some sort of sale or giveaway. We use ours to do a featured item, tell our followers we have a new blog entry, and occasionally just update with random bits about our day. I personally think that it's nice to not just bombard your followers with stuff for sale all the time, as it's not very personal, but it is your choice.
But I've got too much to say!
Ahh, Twitter will teach you the art of being concise! The 140 character limit can make things a bit tricky, but it will also teach you how to get the key point of your message across. When it comes to personal tweets, I rarely find the character limit an issue, but it can be harder when trying to promote an item, especially if you include a link at the end. To give yourself a few extra characters, I recommend Tinyurl. This website allows you to take a fairly long link and make it, well, tiny. It reduces a URL to 26 characters, which is very handy and leaves you more room to say other things.
So what else can I do?
Other than tweeting about your activities, both online and offline, you can also use twitter to "retweet" what other people have said in their tweets. The act of "retweeting" puts someone elses tweet in the newsfeed of everyone that follows you. It's a great way of attracting attention to something someone else has written - even better if it's something positive about your shop! To retweet a tweet, simply look below it to where there are some options in a smaller font. You can favourite, retweet, or reply to a tweet. Obviously just click retweet, and there you go, you've passed on a tweet to everyone else that follows you.
Now we just mentioned that you can reply to a tweet. This draws the attention of the person who wrote the tweet to your reply, as it will have @Theirusername in it. This allows you to communicate with people more directly, but still allows all your other followers to see what you're saying. This is good for public discussions, but if you'd rather send a message that only they can see, find the follower you're looking for and click message. It's as simple as that!
Well this is a lot less scary now!
I know! What was once confusing and scary is now a whole new option for promoting your folksy store. As ever, if you have any problems, or want some advice, please post in the comments. If you think a video tutorial would be helpful, I'm willing to make one too, just tell me what you'd like to see! Happy tweeting!