Did you know that the first report and photo on the recent airplane crash in the Hudson river came from a passenger on a ferry heading to the crash site? Big deal right? Well, it is because the passenger used his iPhone to capture the photo and send the news our over Twitter. The photo and story was picked up by the media but all those connected to the guy with the iPhone got the news first. I was connected to someone who was connected to him and got the news almost instantly. The same thing happened with the earthquake in southern California this pas summer, the news of the earthquake beat the media.
In past posts I have talked about the importance of creating a network with your buyers and fans so that you can communicate with them regardless of their location and most importantly for art fair artists you can use the network to create buzz about your arrival at a particular show.
What is really important to understand about Twitter is that it is a TOOL for your network. And what makes Twitter really useful is the ways it can be used, here are just a few
- You can use it to spread you blog posts by using plug-ins and widgets and other gizmos that will instantly configure your blog post and send it out the minute you click the publish button on you blog.
- You can connect it to your facebook account and not only will your blog posts be broadcast over twitter they will also show up on your Facebook feed so all your friends can read your post.
- Your Facebook updates will be sent out over twitter spreading the word to an even wider audience.
- Twitter can be used to listen for conversations about you and your work by simply using the search feature.
- You can send a photo by using desktop twitter readers like Tweetdeck. Or just a link to a blog post describing what you are bringing to a particular show.
- You can use it in combination with a smartphone like the iPhone to contact your tweeps (twitter followers) if you don’t have access to a computer, like if you are traveling between shows.
- In combination with a variety of new web sites you can identify potential buyers by geographic area. You can also segment your followers into groups by geographic area and have them contact their followers so you have a ready set of buyers when you arrive at a show.
- Use it to test a market by polling your followers.
You can increase the spread of your network by connecting your blog to twitter, allowing each post to go out over both networks, and increasing your exposure to potentially many other networks.
Here is a list of the web sites I have checked out for their relevance to traveling artists:
Finding the right followers
Twellow Use it to search segmented groups to find like minded souls to follow, you can also use it find people geographically. Make sure you get yourself listed in the categories you want and sit back and watch the magic. You can see people from the group list and follow them
Twittgroups.com – another aggregator also allows you to set up groups but not as comprehensive as Twellow.
justtweetit.com This is a cool site just launched in the last couple of weeks, the groups are new and you can join them by commenting. They also have a pretty extensive list of resources I have checked here are the ones I found really useful:
grouptweet.com/ A site for sending tweets to select groups
www.crazybob.org/twubble/ way to find like minded people
mytweeple.com way to help decide if you want to follow someone or not, I haven’t tested this one much yet.
mrtweet.net ……this is a passive way to find the right match
www.twitpic.com ……for adding an image link especially great for teasing your buyers
twittertise.com using twitter to advertise on a delayed basis
Guides and other info
tweeternet.com Full of info on twitter and its uses
twitterhandbook.com Very useful guide to all things Twitter
strawpollnow.com a way to use straw polls with twitter very useful for market testing
WordPress Plugins for self hosted WordPress blogs
- Tweetthis – Puts a button at the end of posts I get a lot of action from this.
- Twitter counter – Normal counter use it to display your social credibility but only use it if your followers are more than 50. Get it from twittercounter.com
- Twitter updater – The best of the bunch automatically sends your posts out over twitter including a tinyurl link if you are hooked up to Friend feed it will go there and if you are on Facebook it will also go there…a great “comment harvester”
- WP-Twitip-ID – Adds a field to your comment form that allows commenters on your blog to leave their twitter user name. A great way to develop a following of like minded souls.
Computer, phone etc.
- Desktop – The best is Tweetdeck – it allows you to create groups and send messages only to that group.
- iPhone – Twittalatorpro the best iPhone app for Twitter it is so good that this is how I send most of non-automatic tweets. Get it from the Apple app store.
15 basic strategy tips for spreading the word using these tools
Something to keep in mind when reading these strategies is to look at Twitter and other social networking tools is to think of them as if they were a party. When you go to a party (depending on its size) you may or may not talk to or know everyone, you may randomly check out people or you may gravitate to those that you may have in common. When you leave the people you have connected with will have an impression of you and you them, your presence will likely be known to all as well. When one of those you didn’t connect with needs something they may end up talking with someone you connected with at the same party if there is relevant match between the needs of one person and your skills, knowledge etc. you may likely hear from them.
- Get a Twitter account, add you photo, some bio info, you location.
- Use one of the tools described above under “finding followers” to identify people you want to connect with. I would start with Twellow first since you can also find people by geography.
- Put a Twitter badge linking to your twitter profile on your blog.
- Put your twitter link in the signature of your e-mails.
- Send an e-mail to all of your current followers asking them to join Twitter and follow you and of course you follow them back.
- Find friends on Facebook who meet your customer profile and let them know you are on twitter and invite them to follow you. This is another way to find potential buyers in other geographic areas.
- Put all of your social network contact points on anything that comes in contact with your buyers or potential buyers. Invite them to follow you when you meet them.
- Test ideas out using Twitter by sending polls or asking a particular group a question about their preferences.
- If you are using WordPress use the plug-ins suggested above to widen the area your posts cover…you will be surprised how well it can generate readers and followers.
- Get Tweetdeck and start setting up groups using whatever criteria you find useful.
- If you have an iPhone get Tweetalator pro and yes invest in yourself by paying the couple of dollars it costs.
- Don’t always talk about yourself spread the word about who or what has your attention.
- Send some tweet luv by providing useful info even if it doesn’t concern you, it will enhance your credibility in the community.
- Make sure what you talk about is useful especially when talking about your stuff.
- Use social bookmarking tools that include Twitter and Friendfeed that allow you to share sites you find especially relevant. I use Onlywire.com’s Fire Fox tool bar, when I run across a site I want to share I click that button and along with a bookmark on sites like Digg, and Stumbleupon it also goes out over Twitter along with a link to the site.
- Only respond to and read the tweets that mean something to you and don’t feel you have to respond to every direct tweet
- Use the direct message feature to have 1-1 conversations like introductions or thank yours.
- Using a third party application like Tweetdeck or Twittalator for your phone make managing twitter a lot more sane.
- Learn to use the URL shortenting tools like TinyUrl to keep your links short
- There is no right way to use Twitter. There is only the way that makes sense to you. Know the tools and your options.
- Start conversations by commenting on other’s tweet
Finally, it is important to remember that Twitter like Facebook,e-mail and your blog is part of a well stocked tool box that can help you find and connect not only with your tribe but also friends and family.
To help you get started we will be announcing a contest in the next week or so that will help you get going.
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