Okay, lots of my art friends have been asking me why I am such a fan of twitter. How do I maximize the potential of twitter to make it useful and interesting to me? (Because each of our twitter experiences are totally unique, depending on who we follow and who follows us). Okay, here's the scoop from my perspective!
Like most new users, I didn't "get" it. Now I do. I have almost 2,000 followers, all of them people who are interested in me for one reason or another. I follow a little more than that, most of them people who I want to hear what they have to say! I've sold portrait commissions directly from twitter, I've gotten followers to my facebook fan page for my art, I've been offered opportunities and received help. And vice versa.
But best of all I get to chat with people about things that interest me or who interest me that I'd never get to meet in real life. As any artist knows, it's a pretty solitary workday, so "coffee breaks" are fun and stimulating.
So the key to me is to follow interesting people and to get followers who are interesting. Selling my art is nice...but my marketing goal is 99% just being out there. I AM an artist, it's what I do, so a lot of what I tweet will be about my work. If anyone who might be interested in a pet or kid portrait or animal art becomes aware of me and my art, I've done my marketing job. They now know I exist, if they are interested, they will let me know, I don't have to bang them over the head with it 20 times an hour with a link to items in my etsy shop.
Because you're not going to get anything out of it if you're only tweeting links to your items. Would you watch a t.v. channel that was just a barrage of commercials, one after another, with no content in between? Would you stay to converse with someone at a party who kept pulling out boxes with items to sell to show you? Ugh. Don't bother following me, I won't be following back.
So how to find something else to talk about? Spend some time following. Use the search to find people who are interested in what YOU are interested in and folllow them.
And this is key: If they are worth following, they are worth commenting to...at the time you click "follow". When you click on their profile, you'll see their recent comments and you can make a decision on whether they are "follow worthy" TO YOU. Reply to whatever they said that you find interesting! Or ask a question. Or challenge them on a comment. Not only will they be more likely to follow YOU back, but you won't be wasting your time every time you go to twitter reading boring tweets! Because you're following people who interest YOU. Now this is a slower process than everyone tells you to do to get started...but to me, quality definitely trumps quantity.
And I find that a lot of time, whoever interesting tweeters are following are interesting, too! Now, you might find celebs interesting, I don't. Except for art and space and gardening ones!
And look local. Who around you is doing something interesting? I personally don't like to follow people who ONLY tweet ads, quotes and links. I want to hear their voice. I WILL follow occasional links that sound interesting. But that's me.
And just because someone finds and follows you, don't feel obligated to follow back, especially if you have nothing in common. There are follow bots out there trolling for followers by following and knowing some of you will automatically follow back. Don't bother. Make sure it's someone you'd like to know!
Also, cull your "herd". If you already are following people with nothing to say and that is annoying to you, just unfollow them. Ask yourself...is this person tweet worthy TO ME? No need to clog your stream with it!
Now, I tweet often, but quick. I'll hit it up from time to time and if there's something interesting, I'll tweet back. I always check my tweetname, (@robinzebley) to see if someone has mentioned or tweeted something to my attention. That's golden. Hey! See you on twitter! Again, I tweet as @robinzebley.