Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twitter Basics ~ Tweet Your Heart Out!

The social networking world can be confusing, even overwhelming to many who have not used social networking sites before. With so many choices, it is hard to decide which one to use to make connections and talk about your craft. Twitter is a great place to start!

What is Twitter anyway?

Twitter is a fast paced networking tool that can really spread the word about you, your love of your craft, and what's new in your Etsy shop simply by answering the question "What's happening?".  Twitter offers the opportunity for "micro-blogging" with a short status update of what is going on at the present moment.  Each user gets a profile, where all your tweets are shown. You follow other tweeters to see their tweets and vice versa.

Some Basics:

  • Answer "What's happening?" as often as you like. However, you only have 140 characters to do it! There are several ways around this limit by using common abbreviations and shortening long urls. (Several sites that can help you shorten long urls are and

  • If you see a tweeter asking a question or want to comment on a tweet, click the reply button below their tweet. This will automatically put the user name in your status bar (@userwhomever). Whatever you write in your status will be then posted to your profile for all to see as well as the intended user.

  • Wondering if anyone answered the question you just tweeted? Look to the right column. There you will find your username just under "home". By clicking your user name you will see all who replied to or mentioned you in their tweets. It is always nice thank some one for retweeting something and even better to return the favor and spread some love!

Direct Message (DM)
  • If you want to respond to a tweeter without it being posted to your profile, you can direct message a user. Think of this as a mini email- your followers will not be able to see this message. DMs are also limited to 140 characters so keep it brief!

Retweets (RT)
  • Want to share another tweeters tweets with your own followers? Just click the retweet button below their tweet to retweet their message.  This will automatically mention the user and post it your profile.

  • Following a user means you will see their status updates on your "home" page each time they update and those who choose to follow you will also be able to see your updates. There are many ways to find people of interest to follow. You can use the search bar in the right column for keywords and/or hashtags. Hashtags (#) make it easy to search twitter for specific topics and to tag your own tweets so they appear in searches. For instance, if you found a handmade item that you love on etsy (a common occurence!) then you might tweet- "Just found an awesome #handmade felt dog on #Etsy!" The next time some one searches "handmade" or "Etsy", your tweet will appear in that search.

  • You may also use a third party application or other websites to find tweeters to follow. There are many out there and more being added quite frequently. Some sites also allow you to bulk follow and unfollow. Just be careful as twitter sets limits for you on how many people you my follow. Once you follow 2,000 tweeters you need to have at least 2,000 followers in order to follow more.
Try these sites for starters:

If you have reached your limit you can choose to use a site like to bulk unfollow. This site allows you to bulk unfollow those who are bots (not real people!), spammy, haven't used their accounts in a while or are not following you back. Sounds a little childish, not following those who don't follow back, but in the twitter world there is not much loyalty in that sense. Don't take it personally! You are not obligated to follow all you follow you. Find people of similar interests and who you will enjoying chatting and making friends with!

Using Twitter:

I have made sales on twitter, and love to share what is going on in my shop. However, there is a line between posting links to your shop occassionally and being spammy. Twitter is fast paced, but only posting links to new items every few seconds won't be helpful to you or your shop. I have made some wonderful friends and connections there and enjoy promoting other shops, retweeting items that I like myself, offering inspirational quotes or silly things that happened during the day. To me twitter is about making friends and showing people what I am up to. If you use twitter only to promote your shop, you may find yourself being unfollowed for it. Keep it real and you will find yourself making some really great friends! :)

And if you want to tweet along with me join me @Saraswatijewels. Happy tweeting!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Forum Decorum, Or How To Get the Most from the Etsy Community by Laura of MAB Jewelry

The Etsy Forums can be found under the community tab on the main etsy menu. They offer a fantastic place to mingle and interact with other etsians, ask questions, get tips from pros, promote your shop, and just hang out and socialize. I’ve learned so much while grazing the Forums, and had a great deal of fun along the way. However, etsy does have a set of rules concerning posting in the Forums. Many of them are common sense, but a few can be a bit tricky when you’re new.

The Forums are divided into eleven sections:

  • Announcements, usually from Etsy admin on updates or problems with the site
  • Site help, a great place for advice on any questions you have about setting up shop, listing and selling
  • Business topics, discussion about running your small business, ideas, tips, etc.
  • CPSIA, discussion on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
  • Critiques, giving and receiving criticism and praise about yours and others’ shops
  • Techniques & Materials, talk about your art and what you use to make your art
  • Teams & Events, sections for etsy street teams and events
  • Ideas, have an idea that might improve etsy? Bring it up here!
  • Bugs, report a strange occurrence or error, and see if others are experiencing the same problem
  • Promotion, a great place to promote your shop, sales, listings or find something you’re looking for
  • Etc., the water cooler of etsy where you can socialize with a wonderful mix of people

As for the Dos and Don’ts:

  • Common sense: Etsy is basically your workplace. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say out loud in front of people in a work environment. There is no room for meanness, insults, harassment or general nastiness. These are real people you’re talking with. There’s no reason to intentionally say something hurtful. You have a bit more leeway in the Etc. section, and can play and debate a little more. But always remember that buyers can also access the Forums. Nothing you say is invisible. Everything you say becomes permanent record.
  • Calling out: Never reference or name a specific shop, listing or transaction. This includes sales, purchases, feedback and convos. If you have a problem with a listing or shop, flag it for etsy administration. If you have a problem with a buyer or seller, including feedback, convos or emails, contact or Imagine if someone had a problem with you or your shop and started a thread discussing it for all to see?
  • You have to be eighteen to use Etsy’s Forums.
  • You cannot ask for charitable donations or link to a commercial website off of etsy, including auctions or other online sales sites.
  • Don’t create a fake or sock puppet account just to say something in the Forums. If you don’t want the comment attached to your name, then you probably shouldn’t say it.
  • Don’t promote a listing for your shop in a Forum thread that has nothing to do with promoting. Nothing turns people off faster than uncalled for spam, and a lot of sellers in those threads are also potential buyers.
  • If you start a thread, try and put it in the right section.

Now, go forth and communicate with this great bunch of people. There’s a lot of knowledge and fun to be had!
Click here for etsy’s official site dos and don’ts.


This post was by Laura from MAB Jewelry. She really hit all the essentials when it comes to the forums! Thanks Laura for your awesome input! You can check out Laura's lovely shop here:

And please don't forget to search the forums for any topic before you post! More often that not some one has had a similar question! You might even find the answer right away without needing to post your own! :)