It’s been great to see so many new people and wineries join twitter over the last few weeks.  Given that the research shows that up to 60% of people abandon twitter within the first few months of joining, I thought it was useful to share a few of my top tips to get you started and keep you on your twitter journey:

1.  Download a program like Tweet Deck ( or Hootsuite ( to help manage your tweets – this will help you to set up searches, manage your followers and build lists so you can follow people. There are also lots of extra features that allow you to search, follow people, set up automated tweets, and analytics tools. Having a twitter application for your mobile phone will also make it easier to tweet on the go and be able to respond to conversations whilst you are out and about. I like the Tweet deck app for my i-Phone but I also hear great comments about the twitter application (both downloadable through i-Phone app store).

2. Engage –  join in conversations, respond to people and don’t be afraid to talk to people. Hit the @ respond button and let people know you are there by joining into discussions.  Don’t think of twitter as a way of broadcasting your messages, you need to be having conversations with others in addition to just talking about your own content.

3. Complete your biography – add in a picture so you don’t just have an egg as an avatar and make sure you complete your bio information including links to your website or your blog. People need to know who they are following and what your interests are to work out whether you’re worth following and engaging with.

4. Use a URL shortener like ( or tinyurl – your 140 characters are precious and url shorteners allow you to make the most of your characters as well as being able to report on how many people clicked on your link.  Don’t just shorten links though; look at some of the analytics behind them to see how many people clicked on your links. Many of the desktop applications like Tweet Deck allow you to choose your URL shortener, but don’t forget to add your API code in so you can track your results.

5. Re-tweet the good stuff – show people you care and share content that you think others will find interesting or relevant.

6. Cross promote and let people know that you are there – if you’re a winery then include your twitter handle on your all your communications collateral and create some signs through out your cellar door telling people your twitter account (as well as other social media platforms that you may use, like Facebook). There is often criticism that twitter is just used to talk to one another in the wine industry, but if you truly engage your audience you’ll find that you will have your consumers involved in a dialogue and that will help translate to sales.

  1. 7. Use Direct Messages – not everything needs to be publically discussed. If you are following someone and they are following you back then it’s worth having many conversations via direct message. You don’t need to clog up your content stream with many conversations that can take place privately – I call it the ‘Shane Warne Analogy’ – that some things should be kept to yourself!
  2. 8.Include Hashtags – this is a fantastic way to be able to follow threads of conversations and get involved in discussions and find other people to follow who have similar interests.

9. Start lists and groups to classify people – Lists and groups are probably the least used tools on twitter but are a great way to help you segment conversations. As you build your following it’s impossible to see all the conversations, so by classifying people onto lists you will be able to focus in on certain people and topics and make it easier to engage. You can choose to make a list public or private. For example, my Australian winery list can be followed and added to search fields and then I can see all the conversations from people on that list without having to individually follow them.

10. Be patient – this is not a platform to build direct sales, twitter is truly about building and managing relationships. Of course on occasions there’s are opportunities for offers, but people don’t want to be spammed. It will take time to cultivate your community but the rewards will be there in the end in ways you would never have imagined.

Remember, twitter is still a relatively new platform and is constantly evolving – there are no set rules. There are also plenty of people who are willing to help you get started so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Good luck and happy tweeting.