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Selling Tees Using Twitter

March 13, 2009

By Anthony Marsh

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Twitter.com has become very popular in today’s internet world. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranks Twitter as the third largest social network (behind Facebook and MySpace), puts the number of users at roughly 6 million and the number of monthly visitors at 55 million. Those are numbers that are hard to ignore and is why it’s a great time to get a foothold in promoting your brand.

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users updates (known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.

If your new to twitter or want to get going on promoting your t-shirts it’s pretty straight forward but there are some choices that will give you better results.

Sign up for a free account at http://www.twitter.com . It’s effortless and takes a couple of seconds.

The username you choose is very important. Everyone will know you by your username. You will be passing your link around so choose your business or brand name.

Put up a picture or your logo. You’ll have a much better chance of gaining followers than if you use the default picture. I usually use a larger version of my website’s favicon.

Create a profile. Tell people about your brand. I myself don’t follow anyone that doesn’t have some kind of profile.

Put your website’s link in your profile or if your brand has an interesting blog use that URL. After all, what you’re doing here is promoting your brand so you need to make it noticeable. By far most of my twitter traffic comes from people checking my profile and clicking on my link.

Now, tweet something. There is nothing worse than when I check a new person who is following me, to see if I want to follow them back, is when they have no tweets. Why would I follow anyone when there is nothing to follow?

While many twitter users will follow everyone and anyone, you’ll be in a better position to make some sales if you set it up right from the start.

Now that you have everything set up and ready to go, you need some followers to promote your brand, too. First thing is to tell your current customers and visitors you are now on twitter and link them to your page there. Put the link up on any social network profiles you have out there like Myspace, Facebook, etc.

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To grow your followers outside of where you are already known there are three methods you can use to do this.

1. Non-Targeted Fast Approach. If you don’t care who’s following you on twitter, go find someone’s twitter list, click on “followers” and click “follow” on every one. The followers are more likely to follow you back because they are already following someone else. While this will build up your followers list you will have many, if not most of the list, not interested in your brand.

2. Semi Targeted Approach. This will give you a little better targeted crowd of followers. Find people that already interested in similar t-shirt brands. Find their twitter accounts, the easiest way it to try http://www.twitter.com/brandname. Since they have a similar style, it’s likely their followers are also going to enjoy your creations. Again, click on their followers and follow every one of those people. While this isn’t a perfect approach it will get you going.

3. Super Targeted Approach. Use the same steps as number 2 above, but check each profile that your thinking about adding, to double check that they might be interested in your stuff or have similar interests. This one is going to take the longest, but will have a better chance of paying off in the long run.

Twitter has some limits. You can only follow up to 2,000 others until you get 2,000 followers. You need to prune your followers regularly. A few days after you follow a bunch, go to your account, click on “Following” and unfollow those who did not follow you back. How can you tell? If it says “direct message” under their name, it means they are following you. If not, click “remove”. Do the same for each page till you reach the end.

As your following grows, the more new people you’ll get following you. In reality, you could stop doing the work and they will come to you. It also seems to help if you get and stay on twitter users who have big followings.

Now, you have your account set up, profile in place and are getting others to follow you. This is when the fun starts. You have 140 characters to get your messages across about your brand. Send direct messages to those that follow you thanking them, mentioning your website and maybe offering a coupon code. You can post updates to all your followers about sales, giveaways, contests, new products and so on. Make sure not to bombard your list with only sales messages. Let them also know about cool things you come across and let your own personality show through which will build a more loyal following.

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