What can make you laugh, cry, and even land you in hot water by circling the Earth in a nano second? The answer: a 140 character Twitter message. It can do a lot of other wonderful things too but if you don’t understand the basics of how it works – you, as a writer are missing out on self-promotion.
Last night my writers’ group was baffled by
the Twitter concept, the workings and how to get to grips with the social networking. I thought I’d share my experience having joined just over a year ago.
I started my account @odwyer_author and had the obligatory handful of friends and plodded along for a few months with not much action nor entertainment and duly thought what a waste of time. On attending a Romantic Novelists Associations conference I heard Talli Roland (@talliroland) give a talk about the basics and once home I followed her instructions. This is how I went from 30 to my current 1296 followers.
Firstly, you need to Tweet every day – but do it in five minute intervals that suit you, don’t make it a chore. I tweet during coffee breaks, waiting for the kettle to boil, T.V. commercials, waiting for people. Two reasons, those moments of time were usually wasted anyway so I might as well make them worthy moments with self-promo and secondly, these moments occur throughout your waking day which in turn spans the globe’s time zones. It means that my tweets aren’t excluding a global time zone – which could potentially hold new followers for me, potential readers.
2. Fitting Image Usage
Upload a suitable image of yourself. It is amazing how quickly you will recognise certain people’s image/photo/book covers – remember this is our ‘brand face’ on Twitter and should represent you and your writing. I started with a blue rose, which everyone loved and frequently complimented but it didn’t represent me nor my writing – I now have a decent picture of myself, my followers know a face to the name which helps to make the social link just a little bit ‘normal’ within the virtual world. Sadly, it is human nature to judge on what we see so make the most of this fact and get your face known.
3. Informative Bio
Always write your mini bio explaining the basics of what you do ‘I’m a fiction writer’ ‘I live in United Kingdom’ ‘I’m working on my second novel’ – people like to know they have something in common.
4. Engage with Fellow Tweeters
Connect and follow others – eight times out of ten people will follow you back. I’ve found that a simple ‘Thanks for the follow – enjoy the day’ takes two seconds but more importantly makes a small connection to this priceless. We each like to be thanked and flattered – it builds a rapport.
5. Follow Friday’s
Follow Friday’s #FF – Fridays are special on Twitter. It is a day for you to highlight who you ‘love and like’ by shouting their names loud and clear across the network. So, for instance today, being a Friday, I reeled off ten Tweets each with about seven names of individuals that I think should be followed due to their interesting work, hobbies or life. My ten messages will appear on all my 1396 followers’ tweet feeds.
Now let’s imagine that just one individual was so pleased that I had #FF them, they retweet their message to their followers, we’ll pretend they have 2000 followers, that means that one of my original Tweets has been included in the message flow of my 1296 + 2000 that’s 3396 people in a split second.
If just one person currently not associated or following me reads my Twitter bio and thinks hey @odwyer_author she sounds O.K., on the same wave length as me, writes the same genre as me, I’ll follow her – they connect by following me. Within seconds I get a new follower and a communication pathway to all their followers.
Can you see the potential for networking, sales, marketing, interaction, inspiration, communication? The analogy I use is a waterfall, with you at the top doing a single tweet and that tweet being retweeted by others on a global scale simply flowing to a wider audience via each connection and retweet.
6. Relevant Tweets & Retweets
I primarily tweet about my writing: my techniques, highs and lows, deadlines, goals and on a weekly basis publicize my blog. I retweet anything that comes into my feed from other writers which I think is useful, advisory or humorous.
I don’t do the hard sell push, push, push, buy, buy, buy. I think followers literally get sick of it. I limit my blog posts to the weekend when the blog is fresh and that’s it. I am after the global connections and communications with others, promoting me as a writer and an individual, as a face and a name.
My only warning – don’t ever tweet anything that you wouldn’t want to explain to the policeman. Simple.
N.B. whilst writing this piece my Twitter followers have increased to 1301 – welcome and enjoy!
If you’ve used Twitter, what has your experience been and are there any other tips you’d like to share? If you haven’t used Twitter, what’s stopping you?