A Twitter Guide for Salon Industry Professionals and Businesses – Part 1

Aha-MomentPart 1 of a 2 part series

Twitter – Your ‘Aha!’ moment?

OK gang. Many of you have confessed to being Twitter ‘challenged’.  In our travels (and in the research) we’ve seen many who begin to twitter, then stop … their twitter names lying fallow with no tweets for months.  No surprise. Twitter itself has not been that helpful to newbies and most people many don’t have the motivation or time to scrounge for Twitter knowledge.  Yet, despite its own shortcomings of Spartan web interface and less than helpful user info, Twitter has exploded.  Both individuals and businesses are making good use of it.

I hear, “I really don’t ‘get’ Twitter”, “How do you follow all the messages from all those people?”, and “Who should I follow?”“How do I ensure I don’t miss tweets sent to me in that huge pile of tweets?” … the list goes on and on.  You would think something so Spartan and arcane wouldn’t catch on like it has, but it certainly has, and by the millions.  But, don’t take my word for it.

twitter_birdBite-Sized Twitter Help

We’re going to break down the topic of Twitter into a series several writings over the next few weeks. If you are a stylist or colorist, esthetician, nail technician, salon owner or independent contractor, distributor or manufacturer, hopefully, this series will help you ‘get’ Twitter, and begin putting it to work for you … and your business.

If you dig in just a bit here in part 1, you’ll have your ‘Aha!’ moment.  You’ll also be collecting valuable resources you can to use to get out there and use Twitter for the power it has to reach the people you want to reach, and you’ll know where to go to get answers and help to continue your journey.

Don’t miss the entire series. If you’re not subscribed here yet, please do so now.  I’ll wait :-)

Give a Man a Fish …

Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.

Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime “.

Along the way we will be linking you to the writings of many individuals. But, there are two individuals who have led the way for us to becoming  more knowledgeable about social media in general, and specifically in blogging and Twittering.

You couldn’t do better than a free subscription to those three blogs (No $ affiliation here).

There is a wealth of information clearly written by many other good minds and I don’t plan on paraphrasing anyone’s writings, but will link you directly to them.  Our job is to deal primarily with beauty industry specific information and recommendations.  If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section of this post, or call us.

What is Twitter?

Wikipedia defines it thus, “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service enabling users to send and read messages known as tweets.  Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers.  Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website or external applications.”

In short, Twitter handles three basic types of messages:

  • A ‘public’ message typed into the “What are you doing?” box at the top will be seen by all your ‘followers’.  (e.g. “Reading: Weird Frog Facts http://bit.ly/x13Kj“)
  • A ‘public reply or message’ to a specific follower (@twittername). Using the ‘@twittername’ at the beginning of your tweet ensures your tweet will most likely not be missed by the recipient.  (e.g. “@sharonandalex I’ll meet you in the hotel lobby – Tuesday at 11am”). Your reply message will also be seen by all your followers.
  • A ‘private reply’ or private message (‘DM twittername’ orD twittername’), is seen only by the follower you have sent it to.  (e.g. “DM twittername  My checking account number 777-4444-22″)

That’s what Twitter does …  I knew you could handle it.  :-)

 

Setting up your Twitter account

OK.  You’re ready.  Here are two tutorial posts for the mechanics of setting yourself up.

  1. From Twitter
  2. From WSI Webspecialists

I’ll wait here till you get back.

Pretty straightforward.   But here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re setting up.

About Your Profile

Your ‘profile’ is an important ingredient of how people perceive you on Twitter. People want to know something about you to help them decide if they want to follow you or not.  What you put into your profile settings helps us discover you, and why you are on Twitter.

For the record, before I decide to follow someone I do two things:

  1. I scan their last 20 + tweets.  Are they interesting and/or helpful or are they time-wasters?  (“Enjoying a hamburger watching American Idol” or “Want 1,000 of followers in 10 days? Link here” – uh, thanks, I’ll pass)  (“Reading about NAHA winners: http://www.probeauty.org/naha/winners/” – that’s more like it).
  2. Next I click their web reference link (here’s ours).  What is their motivation for being on Twitter?  What does it tell me about them?  Given those two pieces, I elect to either follow them or ignore them by not following them in return.  95% of the time they’ll stop following you in a day or two when you don’t follow back. More later on followers and following later.

When I get my email notification from Twitter that I have a new follower, follow the link and see their profile has: no photo, no bio info, is full of self-serving or silly tweets, or nothing but sales messages …  goodbye.   Many are automated social media guru follower ‘hunters’ chasing down potential prospects.  Good for them?  Not good for me.  I want people following (and who I follow) who are real. I want people who bring value to me (and I to them) and with whom I can have a ‘conversation’.

Your Profile Details

Your Twitter ‘User Name’

This is what people use to direct a message to you.  Your ‘handle’ is very important.  What does your Twitter name convey about you?  Keep in mind that Twitter is about people and companies.  Names are always a safest, clearest, and best bet.  You will be judged by the handle you choose.

  • ‘@getrichquick’ – You tell me :-)
  • ‘@beautyprpro’ – I know what they do.
  • ‘@yourbizname’ – I know exactly who they are.

Important Note: Choose your name wisely.  Once selected, that’s it.  You are locked in.  Change the name?  Lose your followers.

Your Photo (Avatar)

The power of the avatar is large.  How do you want people to see you?  Are you friendly-looking?  What image of you does your picture convey?  Family man/woman?  Smiling wamth?  Silly sense of humor?  Goofball?  Unlike your name, you can always change your photo/avatar.

Your ‘One Line Bio’

A very short (160 characters) summary of who you are and what you are all about.  (Check out a few examples: @pozasalon, @beautyscientist, @BecciRenfro).

Your ‘More Info URL’ (web location)

A link to a website, Google Profile or someplace on the web where people can learn more about you.

Your location

This is info that helps people know where you are geographically.

Protect Your Tweets?

I understand caution on the web, but protecting your tweets is a roadblock where people cannot follow you until you have approved them.  Personally, I most often bypass folks who protect their tweets.  Too much extra effort and too little time.  I’d rather have folks follow me easily.  I always evaluate them before following them back anyway so why block possible opportunities.  I can always unfollow and/or block.  It’s always my option … always your choice.

Creating your own Twitter Background  (Not mandatory.)

This is a ‘nice to have’, not a must do. When you get to our Twitter page you see our own background creation, not one of the standard pages provided by Twitter. Like I said, not mandatory, but an opportunity for you to share even more about who you are and what you do with your Twitter visitor. If you have time to spare and want to create your own, try these web resources..

 

Who Should I Follow?

Our next post in this Twitter series will delve into this topic at greater length, but let’s start you out with some ‘quality’ follows right now.  Here is a ‘starter’ list of some interesting people & businesses, a few generic , and an assortment of beauty industry related ‘tweeple’ who are good examples of good Twitter citizens.

Note: For the moment, don’t bother following every Tom, Dick, or Harry social media ‘expert’ just to build followers, unless all you care about is having lots of followers.  You won’t believe how many ‘experts’ wants your eyeballs and your money. When you’re through these first couple of posts and have spent time poking around Twitter on your own, you’ll know who’s who.

Non-Beauty Industry Follow Suggestions

  • @chrisbrogan  (Good social media info and more).
  • @problogger (Good social media info [Also has the best Twitter blog I know at www.twitip.com).
  • @copyblogger (Good writing info).
  • @microgeist (Interesting stuff, sorta techy, but not too).

Beauty Industry Follow Suggestions

  • @beautyjunkies
  • @beautyscientist
  • @BecciRenfro.
  • @becomegorgeous
  • @BSDiva
  • @dwightmiller
  • @everydayhair
  • @haironthebrain
  • @HairsHowMag
  • @hairstyle_tweet
  • @HelloBeauty
  • @imagosalon
  • @misssalon_usa
  • @modernsalon
  • @newbeauty
  • @pozasalon
  • @rebekah_king
  • @RobinGribbin
  • @salontoday,
  • @sharonandalex
  • @thebeautybrains

Tweetdeck Alert

Even though Twitter tools is part 3 in the series, I can't. leave you now without suggesting that you download and begin to use Tweetdeck to help manage your Twitter time. For me, it is one of the easiest way to work with Twitter. There are many other options to come later. You will need to download and install Adobe Air first though. Just follow the instructions on the Tweetdeck website. Well worth the effort.

Update to Post:Excellent Video from Darren Rouse

It’s 40 minutes and quite complete. Grab a drink and relax. Worth it.

That’s it for Part 1.

How Are You Using Twitter?  Share with Us in a Comment.

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Twitter Tips for Beginners [VIDEO]

Twitter Tips for Beginners [VIDEO]

About Alexander Irving

Public Relations strategist Alexander Irving is co-owner of Esche & Alexander Public Relations and BeautyPRpro.

As Esche & Alexander Public Relations, with more than two decades of service to many respected names and companies in the industry, Alex Irving and partner Sharon Esche are among the industry’s well known and respected PR strategists.

Comments

  1. Twitter is great! I’m constantly trying to figure out the applications that you can use to help. Right now I’m trying twitterfeed which is set up through google alerts. It’s not perfect( doesn’t filter some of the stuff I don’t want). But hey, to learn anything you have to try it ;)Great Article guys!!!
    .-= Poza Salon´s last blog ..Bridal Hairstyles 2009 =-.

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