This weekend I met with a writer friend of mine to talk about her moving forward into e-publishing and leveraging social media to market her work. She knows facebook and has a blog, but I told her she needed to leverage Twitter as well.
I started on twitter 10 months ago and shared some of what I've learned. Here are some of the things I think each new writer needs to consider as they start up on Twitter.
First of all there's your name
; use your author name or some variation of it so people know who they're communicating with and whose book to look for if they want to go shopping.
- If you tweet as @mysterywriter, they won't know who that is and they'll have to take another action to dig deeper to find out who you are, and they may or may not do that.
- If your name's too long, it requires a lot of typing for your followers to enter and it letters take up valuable space from your tweets.
- My name is Douglas Wayne Dorow. Most of my friends know me as Doug Dorow. I write as Douglas Dorow. My twitter name options were @douglasdorow, @dwdorow or @dougdorow. I chose @dougdorow because it's shorter and it's an easy leap from doug to douglas if people look up my books.
, people will take a quick look at your profile to decide if they want to follow you or not.
- You're tweeting as a writer, tie your profile into your writing. Mine is short and sweet: Indie thriller / suspense writer, and a link to my blog. Look at some profiles out there for people and see what you like or don't like in some of those you review. You can change it later, if you want to.
The third part is the AVI (avitar) or photo. Again, people want to know who they're tweeting with. Some people put their book cover or a picture of their pet or something else. I like the photo the best. Leave the photo up there, or if you change it, infrequently, leave the new one up for a period of time so people can associate the new photo with your name. The photo is the visual identification of you that your followers will use as the twitter stream flows by. They recognize the photo and stop to read because they like you and your posts and want to see what you said.
OK, you have your twitter name, your profile and your photo, you are ready to rock the twittersphere. But where to start?
Day one you are following no one and have zero followers. If you tweet with no followers, will anybody hear you? It is time to follow and be followed. One of the great things about twitter is that people will follow back, you follow them and they will follow you. Start doing searches of authors you like, people they follow and who follows them, subjects that apply to your genre, and start following people. Set a goal of following so many new people a day, 20, 50.
If you do this you'll see your following grow. To continue and sustain its growth you need to be a tweeter who is engaging, interesting to follow. I have 1,800 followers. I don't try to grow it very much anymore. At 1500 it started to grow on its own with new people finding me through my tweets and people I interact with.
As you go along you will want to use twitter tools to unfollow people who aren't following you. Think about it, you're seeing their tweets, but they aren't seeing yours. There may be some people out there you want to follow, who don't follow you, but probably not very many. They fill up your stream with their tweets and don't interact with you, it's all on you to interact with them. You can find tools to use with twitter by googling it.
You get 140 characters for a tweet
- a good rule of thumb is to only use 120 so that people can add info if they retweet your tweet.
- use a url shorten when you put url links in your tweets.
- Hashtags or the #-sign is another thing to use in your tweets. You'll see them out there. They are used so people can find tweets in a search on a subject they're interested in or can follow a stream with the hashtag of interest in it.
There are different apps to use to tweet.
- Twitter has all of the functionality to tweet.
- Hootsuite allows you to schedule tweets in the future and a built in shortener and you can see columns to follow different streams.
- Tweetdeck on google chrome is nice allowing multiple columns to track streams. I have a stream for a couple of Lists I created in twitter and to follow a couple of group hashtags I follow.
Twitter really isn't that hard, but it's different than anything else you've used so it may take some time to figure out how you want to use it.Here are a couple of links to other blog postings about twitter.The power of Twitter and groups.Writers and Twitter - They call it Social Media for a reason
(I recommend you read this one)Comments?
- Newbies - what other questions do you have?
- Veterans - what else do newbies need to know, or what you wish you knew when you started tweeting?