It’s Tuesday again; that means it’s the first day of school and time for another Tuesday tip. Last week I talked about joining the Twitterverse. For those of you who are thinking about joining Twitter, or if you’re still fairly new to the site, I’m going to give you some basics on how to use Twitter for your writing platform.
I’ve found that Twitter is a great place to connect with readers and writers quickly. Based on my experience, it takes less time to gain followers on Twitter than WordPress. That doesn’t mean, I’m giving up my blog. On the contrary, I find Twitter helps direct traffic to my blog, because I tweet my post. Some people find my Twitter account via my blog; likewise, others find my blog via my Twitter. They are working hand-in-hand so to speak.
More traffic! More connections! More exposure! You’re ready to get started, right? Before you dive in, just know you won’t get it right away. I was totally lost in the beginning. Give it some time; you’ll get the hang of it.
Make your presence known
You wouldn’t have a birthday party without sending out invitations, so let people know you’re there. Twitter will help people find you, but it helps to let people know you’re on Twitter. If you have a blog, newsletter or Facebook account, let people know you’ve started a Twitter account.
Through Twitter you will start getting followers. Everyone starts at zero, so don’t let this discourage you. It takes time to build followers; however, you’ll gain them faster if you do more than sit around twiddling your thumbs.
How to get followers.
Follow other tweople–no, that’s not a mispelling. Roughly 30 percent of the people you follow will follow you back, because it’s considered courteous. However, you do not need to follow someone just because they follow you, and vise versa. Just know they may stop following you in one to ten days for not reciprocating. Keep in mind your followers can flucuate quite a bit. I like to compare it to stocks. You have to keep in mind they will go up and down.
Rule of Thumb: You should have about the same number of people following you as you are following.
Who should you follow?
- other writers in your genre
- experts in your genre
The most important thing to remember to do on Twitter is Tweet. Your Tweets are the main reason you can gain or lose followers. Tweets are only 140 characters, so choose them wisely. This is not a Facebook post; you’ll have to be concise.
Use hashtags: This is how tweets are categorized. A hashtag is a word followed by the # symbol. This will help people locate your tweets when they use search. The more popular the hashtag, the more likely you’ll gain views from that Tweet. Feel free to make up your own. For instance I use #writingworkout whenever I have a good hard writing session. This is a great way to find people with similar interest to connect to. For instance, people who #amwriting or #amreading are probably people you want to follow.
Rule of Thumb: Use one or two per post. Don’t overdue it. It’s really annoying #when#people#use#hashtags#like#this.
Example of a Tweet with a hashtag: It’s the perfect day to write #amwriting
Some popular hashtags are
#WIP (work in progress)
What you should tweet
You can tweet whatever you want. Before you hit the tweet button, ask yourself: is this how you want to present yourself to writers and readers? Is it relevant? Is it entertaining? Here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Share information that is relavent, helpful, and interesting in your area of expertise. If you are a writer, post about about writing. If you write fantasy, post about fantasy as well. This is not the outlet for your religious or political beliefs. Likewise, this is not the place to talk about your kids, pets, gardens, and recipes. I follow people to learn how to publish, not how to make brownies.
- Post photos and quotes. These should be related to your niche, genre, etc
- Post blogs, articles, and links that relate to writing
- Retweet tweets from other users
- Post about recent news in the industry
- Talk about your book or editing services, especially when you offer promos or specials. Do not overpromote. Most of your content should not be pushing book sales. This is obnoxous and turns people away.
How often should you tweet? That is up to you. I’ve heard between ten to thirteen post a day.
Interact with other Tweople
Not all of your post have to be original. If you see a tweet you’d like to share, you simply retweet it on your own timeline. Two ways you can do this. You can hit the retweet button or copy it and paste it into your own tweet. Make sure to give credit to the person who orignally tweeted it. Users are notified of retweets, so this is a great way to gain followers.
Mentions-if you want to mention someone in a tweet, don’t just type their name. Always put the @ symbol before their username.
People appreciate the mentions. you may even get some in return, which helps your following.
#FF Follow Fridays
This is a popular hashtag used on Fridays to promote users you follow.
Example: #FF @mbrown @NHarris @catlady01
This lets people know who you recommend. They are notified for being mentioned, so they are likely to recommend you as well.
#SO Shout out
If you have followers who frequently reply, comment, or repost, this is a super way to thank them where all your followers (and they) can see.
Reply to other people’s tweets. It goes without saying that reciprocating is important on Twitter. Keep in mind your replies are not private. They show up on your timeline as well as the person you replied to. Replies are a great way to gain exposure, so make sure your replies represent you well. If you want to say something privately to someone, you can also DM (direct message), but you can only do this if you follow them and they follow you back.
Making a good impression
Just like your blog and your Facebook account, Twitter lets you personalize your homepage. Your profile pick and background pick need to look professional and show what you do.
Bio information. Like a tweet, you only get so many characters, so make it count. Let people know what you do, your aspirations, your talents.
Last but not least, the most important advice is have fun. If you don’t like Twitter, it will show in your tweets. There are millions of people on Twitter: potential readers, fellow writers, and agents. Have fun connecting, sharing, and building your platform.