by Lynn S. Schwebach
For creative individuals, Twitter offers a way to promote themselves and stay current on latest trends.(See my blog post: “Tweet Your Way to a Personal Brand.”) Twitter live streams up-to-date articles as well as gallery openings, upcoming book releases, dance and orchestra festivals, cooking tips—all creative processes, programs and ideas appear on Twitter. Classes are often tweeted as well as jobs. If you’re not on Twitter and you’re a “creative,” you should be.
Start by “listening on Twitter,” which simply means entering relevant keywords in the Twitter search box and reading through the various Tweets by thought leaders in your field of interest or expertise. For creative types, there are a wealth of keywords and experts on Twitter to get excited about. Some of my favorite creative keywords are: illustration; creative writing; photography; and graphic design.
When you are comfortable with the etiquette of Twitter, follow these six steps to set up your account and get on your way to tweeting:
Step 1: Select a Useful Username.
Select a username that incorporates your brand — one that you use on other social media sites. Because my blog is called bravelycreative.com, my Twitter name is @bravelycreative. (Note: Twitter places the “@” symbol before your username, which allows others to Tweet you and target you in specific Tweets.)
Step 2: Create a Twitter-Friendly Profile.
Your profile: This will be the most important aspect of establishing your personal brand. As of April 2014, Twitter expanded its Profile options, allowing you to include a large header image in addition to your picture. Select a header that is catchy and exemplifies your brand or your art.
Your picture: Use a close-up image of yourself — preferably a professional photo and one that you use on other social networking sites. Keep in mind that Twitter users prefer to see pictures rather than company logos.
Your bio: Be descriptive in your 160-character bio. Tell users the following:
- Your area of expertise
- Who are your clients
- What you offer in terms of knowledge to Twitter followers
- A link to your website or blog
Example bio: Affordable Web Design, Development and SEO for small businesses. Offers tips and tricks. WebsiteorBlog.com.
Step 3: Generate a Following.
Who you follow will generate “followers.” To find experts in your field, type in keywords in the Twitter search box. For example, if you are a graphic artist, type Graphic Artist in the search box. You could also type Branding, Design, Creative Director or Sculptor and come up with like-minded individuals. Follow credible, interesting Tweeters.
Step 4: Get Periodic Alerts.
If you’re not sure how to start Tweeting relevant information, sign up for Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) or Tweetbeeps (www.tweetbeep.com). These popular resources send daily or weekly alerts to your e-mail on topics that you select. Simply click the Twitter icon on an article that you find helpful and of value to your audience.
Step 5: Hashtag to Categorize.
Use the hashtag symbol (#) before a keyword or phrase in a Tweet to categorize it. For instance, are you a pastel painter? Important keywords would be: #pastelpainting #painting, #oilpastel, and #chalkpastel.
Click on a hashtagged word in a Tweet and it shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword. Very popular hashtagged words can become trending topics, which Twitter posts each day in a box on your home page under Trends. To see popular hashtags by industry and topic, go to www.hashtags.org.
Example hashtags: In the Tweet below, I included the hashtag #FF. Users created this as shorthand for “Follow Friday,” a weekly tradition where users on Friday recommend people that others should follow. I sent out the following Tweet for writers to follow a Denver-based writing organization, Lighthouse Writers, and a literary journal Ploughshares:
The hashtag can appear anywhere in the Tweet.
Step 6: Don’t Follow Just to Follow.
It’s tempting at first to follow as many experts in your field as possible, but this isn’t recommended. You should follow about the same number as those following you – otherwise others might think you are a spammer.
If you happen to find yourself following more than being followed, you can “unfollow” individuals by going towww.justunfollow.com
Now, go forth and Tweet!