What is twitter? Micro-blogging in 140 characters or less, answering the question, "What are you doing right now?" http://www.twitter.com/
Why twitter? For the same reason we do anything online: for entertainment, information and connection to a global community.
As a small business I twitter for a few reasons. I use twitter to keep up on industry news, inspiration and ideas for running my business. A few of my favorites:
Interweave Press: http://twitter.com/InterweaveNews
Whip Up: http://twitter.com/whipup
Croq Zine: http://twitter.com/croqzine
Softflex Company: http://twitter.com/SoftFlexCompany
The Blog Squad: http://twitter.com/BlogSquad
Rings & Things: http://twitter.com/Rings_Things
Timothy Adam Designs: http://twitter.com/timothyadam
Crafty Chica: http://twitter.com/CraftyChica
Margot Potter: http://twitter.com/MargotPotter
I also use twitter to connect with customers who are following me, my friends and even a few family members.
I check out twitter every day at lunch for "lunch and links." I skim through what everyone has posted and click on the links that catch my eye. Even though I follow over 100 people, there are rarely more than 25 twittering on a regular basis. If someone is twittering too much for me, I simply unfollow.
When I blog or have some news to share I go to ping.fm to make a post to both twitter and facebook at the same time. It takes a minute to set up and has been a handy time saver.
What to twitter?
Your latest blog entry
Good news & important updates
Interesting events in your life
Occasional sales and specials
Listing of new items (although I'd rather click on a link to your blog that talks about your latest item and your inspiration behind it.)
Links from other places that have caught your eye
Good deals you've found or shops you love
a few random tidbits that let us know the person behind the computer screen
You can also use twitter to get feedback on ideas and your latest creations
Ask questions - I like to twitter back now and then.
Please, I really don't want to read about errands, household chores or what you had for lunch unless you are related to me! Of course if you can write about those in an entertaining and funny way I may make an exception. Food items are okay if they are seasonal, quirky or could inspire a recipe search. No "I just had a bowl of oatmeal." A better tweet would be, "hmm, just pulled the pumpkin bread out of the oven!"
Should you Twitter? Maybe! All you can do is give a try and see if you enjoy it. If you are twittering to promote your business, remember with social networking getting your name out there is the goal. Don't be pushy, don't contact people directly asking them to visit your shop. And for goodness sake, don't turn off followers by being aggressive with the listings from your shop. You are building up awareness of your brand and making connections.
Etsy had a great article about Twitter yesterday, which yes, I found out about through Twitter!
Timothy Adams also has some good tips for branding your business with Twitter.
If you Twitter, do you have a favorite crafty, bead or business that you follow that you could recommend?