Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ruling Your Roost: Twitter Tips

I love Twitter. Out of all the social media sites, Twitter is my favorite. Mainly because it is quick and easy once you get the hang of it.  If you are an author who wants to use Twitter successfully, I suggest you read Ben Wallace's Twitter guide, Giving the Bird. It is a short, informative and very entertaining. Even if you weren't planning to use Twitter, the book would be a fun read.

I have been on Twitter for over a year and I was clueless when I set up my account. I did pursue learning as much as I could about Twitter. I've met some terrific people via Twitter. Recently, all the books I've purchased have been due to tweets by the authors that contain a tidbit about the book, character quotes or reviewer comment. Just a few words that made me decide to click the link included.


Below are some basic tips for making the most of Twitter and some pitfalls to avoid.

Set up your Twitter account in your writing name. Remember Twitter is part of your platform and every leg of the platform needs to be in your writing name.

Be sure you put a photo of yourself or your cover on Twitter. Do not be an egghead.

Have fun with your bio. Update it often. It needs to gain you followers.

The pound sign, #, is called a hashtag on Twitter. It serves two purposes. A hashtag groups tweets. If you go to Search at Twitter, put in #amwriting, the search engine will pull up all the tweets using that hashtag. The other purpose of hashtags is adding a personal touch to the tweet, this kind of hashtag can be part of your brand. It is all written as one word. #likethis

The @ sign is used when you want to mention a follower in your tweet. It will also go to their "mentions" feed at Connect on Twitter.

There are 2 types of Tweets you should use: Content Tweets and Promotional tweets. Content tweets don't contain links.  Promotional tweets do.

Retweets: A retweet by you will go to all your followers. Choose wisely.

If someone retweets you, your tweet will go to all their followers. This is a great way for you and your tweet to be noticed by new people. With one click, they can check out your profile page.

Make sure some of your tweets are worthy of a retweet.

MOST IMPORTANT TWITTER RULE:  DO NOT SPAM

This means do not do promotional tweet after tweet with promotional links. If you constantly do tweets with your links, you can be reported for spam and your account inactivated. Plus, everyone hates spam. #donotspam

There are writers who clog tweet streams with promo about their books despite there being fifty million articles out there on #donotspam. @RachelintheOC of Bad Redhead Media has some good advice on how not to alienate your followers in an article: Please: Do Not Spam Another Link Until You Read This

Limit your self-promo tweets and spread them out over a 24 hr period. Sometimes, I only do one a day. Today I did none.  You should have more content tweets. Plus you should be interacting with your followers, responding to their tweets, and retweeting their promo/content tweets when you see fit. #youwillbelovedandretweeted

Just as bad as spam is the constant stream of "my daily life" tweets. Like every five minutes:  "I'm taking my dog to the vet."  "We are at the vet's office." "We are sitting in the vet's lobby."

I hate these the most and I wonder how some people ever manage to get anything done when they tweet every few minutes. Do these tweets sparingly and try to brand them or make them entertaining. #sameaspromo. Remember, unless you are Lady GaGa, these tweets are going to be ignored and they won't get you on lists or retweeted. Why would anyone retweet that you are picking up your kid from school to their followers?  Why would anyone put you on a list?

Lists. The godsend of Twitter. As you follow more people, your tweet stream will be moving with the speed of light. Create lists and put select followers on that list.  I have around 20 lists right now. I put my peeps that  that have great tweets on lists. These are the people I retweet to my followers. The tweet stream of 10 people on a specific list is preferable to over a thousand on your main stream. I also have lists for movies, Southern living, etc where I put business sites that I follow and  retweet.

Back to spam and personal tweets every three minutes, if you do this you will clog up a list. That means when I open my list, all I will see is your tweets. The first thing I will do is remove you from the list. You are back in the main tweet feed where your annoying tweets are lost among hundreds. #getthepicture

Direct Message:  DM. #verytricky. I never DM any of my followers unless I have something specific to ask them. I never send a link in a DM. I never open any links in a DM regardless. If your Twitter account is hacked, direct messages containing a dumb message like "You should hear what blah blah is saying about you" and including a link will be sent to all your followers. Never open that link.

Some people on Twitter send automated DMs to thank you for following them and sometimes they will include a link to their website but I never open them. I also don't send automated DMs.

I use Hootsuite, a program that allows you to schedule tweets. I have had tweets posting while I've been writing this. Hootsuite will also post to Twitter and Facebook for you. Tweetdeck is another free program you can download. I've used it as well but prefer Hootsuite. I found it easier to organize.

Twitter ratio. Until you are following 2000 people, you don't have a problem on Twitter. However, once you reach 2000, you cannot follow any more people unless you have balanced ratio of followers. Say you are following 2100 people and you have 2000 followers, that is okay. So, if you don't have the required ratio, you need to dump "dead wood" as time passes. This means get rid of those you have followed who have not followed you back. I do this weekly now that I have over a thousand followers. I use Manageflitter to unfollow accounts who are not following me or inactive accounts so I keep my ratio within the right limit and I can continue to follow back my new followers.

Hope to see you on Twitter!  Follow me @pat_preston and I will follow back. #luvnewtweeps

7 comments:

RedPeril said...

Thanks for the comprehensive pointers! :) I had been perplexed as to how I could figure out who had actually followed me, and who was dropping me right after I followed them back.

I found 13 people I could clear off my account! Thanks for the housekeeping tip. ^_^

~Angela Blount

Marie Higgins said...

This blog was VERY helpful! Thank you!!

Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley said...

This is great. Especially about not opening a direct message with a link in it. Did that, got the hack to prove it. lol And finally! I understand how to use a hashtag.

Patricia Preston said...

Hi! Glad you stopped by.

Angela: I learned about ManageFlitter from @rachelintheoc I dump follows on a regular basis now.

Marie: Glad you found it helpful

Pat: #hashtagsarefun

Katherine Bone said...

I've heard good things about Hootsuite but don't know how to get it.

Hmmm... if I'm retweeting for my followers something I think would help another writer, am I clogging my follower's streams? Pondering this...

Patricia Preston said...

Kathy: Since I follow you, I know you do a good job on Twitter. If you mean promo tweets, I think that's fine. Spam is when someone tweets links over and over. That's all they do. Bots are spammers. I have you on a list and you've never overwhelmed it either.

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Hello, Thank you so much for visiting that I might return the call - I'll come back to read over again your post - I just started tweeting and am wanting to learn more! I hope you have a great weekend,
Kathy