Six years ago, Twitter didn’t exist. Today, the microblogging social media titan a reported 500 million active users all over the world. Such is the landscape of technology and media today. Forms of media that once took decades to gain power, influence or public acceptance can now spring to vibrancy virtually overnight.
In the last couple of years, trading card manufacturers, sports collecting news outlets, some collectors and a few others associated with the hobby have opened accounts. Many are active, especially the three major card manufacturers. Others have resisted. Some aren’t sure how to go about it.
Many don’t use Twitter the way they should. Some dealers see it as nothing but a free outlet to pump their eBay listings or online store...over and over and over again. The easiest way to get people to unfollow you is to tweet all 150 of your weekly listings in the space of an hour.
Many want to enhance their social media presence, but aren't sure how to use it.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of Twitter.
- Don’t tweet too much. There’s no hard and fast rule for tweeting, but if you’re pumping out 50 tweets a day, you’d better be interesting or informative; preferably both.
- Don’t carry on a long public conversation with someone that’s probably only of interest to the two of you. That’s what direct messaging, texting and email is for. Good general conversation about a hobby issue or announcement is OK.
- Be interesting. Offer an opinion or an observation. Link to an interesting article you found online. Link to your own blog posts with a comment that makes the reader want to click it. Twitter is a good promotional tool for anyone with something to offer, but remember to give as well as take and don’t overdo it.
- Tweet a little about your personal life and daily experiences if you want. We're all human and that's part of the Twitter experience. Again, don't overdo it.
- Tweet about sports in general if you want to, but try to contribute something. Every time your team loses, I don’t need to see you swear in frustration. No one else cares. Suck it up, big boy.
- If you represent a company, don’t talk down to your followers or god forbid, insult them. If your name or your face is commonly associated with that company, if their logo appears on your avatar, you are representing that company.
- If you work in the hobby, you have an interesting job to millions of sports fans who don’t. Never take that for granted. Let your followers in on the fun. Tweet a photo of something cool. Let them know what you’re up to a few times a day. Let them live vicariously through you. The card companies are starting to do a pretty good job of that. The auction companies and others could use some help in that regard.
- Tweet pictures.
- Retweet. That’s the ‘give’ part. If you see something you really like or something that’s really funny, give the original poster his props. It’s just being a good Twitizen. Kharma is a very big deal on Twitter.
- If you’re in the business of selling, don’t shill too much. People will make up their own minds.
- If you’ve picked up something really, really interesting and plan to sell it, feel free to post it. Just make sure it is really, really interesting.
- Don’t be a know-it-all. You’re not right every single time. There are few absolutes in the hobby.
- Use services like Twellow to find others to follow.
- If you find yourself really liking the tweets of a certain user, look through their list of followers and follow some of those people. Chances are you all have something in common.
- ‘Favorite’ Tweets. It’s a great way to go back and read an article that was tweeted that you don’t have time to read now.
- Be careful about following users who tweet too much unless it’s someone you feel you need to follow. You’ll waste a lot of time scrolling through their tweets.
- If you Tweet about someone else on Twitter, use the @symbol so they'll be sure to see it and may re-tweet you. We're guilty of not always using this one.
- Encourage people to follow you whenever and wherever you can, but then make sure it’s worth their time.
- Try to make Twitter a regular part of your life. Dealers who say they ‘don’t have time’ to tweet sound ridiculous. Even one tweet per day won’t take more than a minute of your time. If you can’t commit one minute to social media a day, you’re missing out on a huge potential customer base and someone else is going to eat your lunch.
- Have fun. Twitter is free. There’s no investment on your part other than a little time. It’s a great tool, a great way to meet others in the hobby and stay connected, but it’s also a great shared experience when you use it right. If you contribute something worthwhile on a regular basis, influential users may decide to re-tweet or follow you which leads to more followers and a better Twitter experience.
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