#MondayBlogs,  Social Media,  Twitter

13 Top Twitter Tips For Newbies By Katharine Grubb

Congratulations! You have a Twitter account!

You were told to get a Twitter account to help promote your books. So you did. 

How Can I Make TWitter Work For Me?

What do you do now?

So you’ve set up your Twitter account and you have a lot of questions on how it’s supposed to work. This quick primer will give you a few tips to get you on your way. Before long, you’ll be RT-ing, hashtagging, and DMing your little heart out.

1. Expect Twitter To Work Differently.

Don’t expect it to work like Facebook. It’s a different animal altogether. Facebook is like having a big meal at Applebee’s with your buddies from high school, your college roommates and your parents. Twitter is like going to a sold out professional football game in Gillette Stadium and trying having a conversation with the people next to you, while yelling at the guy on the other side cheering for the other team.

2. Know The Lingo

You only get 140 characters  in a Tweet. This boundary is a great thing! You wordy folks will learn how to cut sentences! This is a great skill for a writer! Being precise and pithy.

 You will “follow” people. Unlike Facebook, you can follow strangers. Most of the time people will follow you back. This is a game of reciprocity. You can’t be expected to be a media sensation if you don’t find people to follow.

An RT is a ReTweet. That means that someone took your tweet and tweeted it again because they wanted all of their followers to see it.

What Is An RT? How Do I Get More Followers?
A screen shot of what happened to me on Twitter the day I wrote this post.

3. Write An Interesting Bio

Your Twitter bio is how you introduce yourself to the world. It’s your handshake. It is NOT your resumé. Whatever you write in your bio should be a reflection of your brand. It should enhance you, not bore us to tears. You want your brand, and subsequently your bio, to attract others, not be a sales pitch.  I suggest NOT putting in the titles of your books, awards or agent’s name. Instead fill it with nouns that show how diverse you are. “Poodle lover. Vegan cook. Mom of 7. Crochet enthusiast. Neurosurgeon.” This is a much better picture than “Award winning author of THE VAUGE BIO, a YA adventure to be released in 2015”. In other words, think about something that would get others to ask you questions.  Social media is all about relationships and conversations are the first steps in developing them.

My bio is this: “Mommy, homeschooler, indie author, baker, comedian wanna be & former running coward who writes in very small increments.” Guess what has happened with this bio? PEOPLE ASK ME QUESTIONS! They ask me either what it means to be a former running coward or my personal favorite, “how do you write anything in 10 minutes?”

How Can I Use Twitter As A Writer?

4. Find People To Follow

If you are a writer (and if you’re not, what are you doing here?) then follow people who could be potential readers. Follow people who fall into your target market. If you write romance, you want to find women of specific educations and age range. If you write legal thrillers, you might want to follow men in their 40s or older. You find them by finding accounts they follow. For example, if my target market is moms of toddlers, then I need to go to products that these moms use: Pampers, Gymboree, Graco and then follow every real person. More than likely they will follow me back and my numbers get bigger.

5. Follow New People Every Day

Sadly, just because we have a great bio and can write great one-liners, it doesn’t mean the world will flock to us. We have to go find the world and get their attention. In less than ten minutes a day, you can follow 20-50 people. As you do, your Twitter followers will grow.  After you figure out who you are, seek out one group one day, say, Conservatives in your home state. Then the next day seek followers of Anne Lamott (an entirely different group of people) then the next day seek out people in your profession, make sense?

6. Post Something 3-4 Times a Day.

This is where you can be yourself. Share a line of poetry, crack a joke, make an observation about the lady at the coffee shop who looks just like Michael Jackson. What I love about Twitter is that it’s the perfect place for every little thought that comes in my head. Be yourself, talk about music, your favorite foods, the funny thing your kid said or anything else. People will respond to you.

What kind of things should I tweet about?
Two tweets I posted around the time I wrote this post.

7. Post Links That Others Will Find Useful

It is through shared links that community can really be built. Did you read a great article about how crochet helps neurosurgeon patients recover from their side effects? Retweet it! But make sure the headline is readable, use a service to shorten the URL. It’s likely your followers, who have similar interests, will RT this and you’ll be the hero. Your success on social media depends on how willing you are to be generous.

This is from Twitter help page and can show you how to shorten links.

8. Retweet (RT) The Contributions of Others

In ten minutes, you can skim over your twitter feed and find interesting links others have shared. RT these. Retweets can start conversations and make you look like a hero.

How can I RT others on Twitter?
On Hootsuite, I can see that my friend @mistileemurphy RTed my tweet about our Facebook group!

9. Create Lists To Keep Track Of Your Favorite People

After a point, you can’t go through your Twitter feed fast enough to keep up with the world’s brilliance. Instead of worrying about it, create lists for your favorites, your celebrities, your closest friends or anyone else who you don’t want to miss. It’s from your favs list that you should do the most of your RT-ing. This, if worked consistently, can be a core part of your tribe.

10.  Ask Questions

Instead of telling us your favorite kind of music, ask your followers what they’re listening to. (For the record, it’s The Cure.)  Twitter is a great place to have conversations and asking questions is the perfect way to start them.  Also, if you’re researching stuff for your WIP, ask your Twitter friends, Google is great and all, but it won’t lead you to your next BFF. I had a lot of success with research questions. It helped that my book took place in 1986. I wanted song titles and types of cars and what people wore.  Not only did I get the answers I needed, but I walked down memory lane a little and confessed to being a very big band nerd.

11. Don’t Hard Sell!

Twitter is a social medium NOT a sales medium. If you are only saying things like: “Buy my romance! Now 99 cents!” then you will push away far more people than you will engage. Also, don’t use things like Twit Validations services, don’t do “approval” where people have to wait on you, don’t send automatic DMs!!!! All of those things make you less and less interesting to others. Instead? Be real. Be generous. Mention your books graciously and organically.

12. Plan Your Twitter Around Your Life.

You can’t be on it ALL the time. Use Hootsuite to plan your regular tweets, favorite links, your blog post and recipes. When you’re live, read your lists, then RT and favorite your closest buddies. (Having a Twitter app on your phone is perfect for this! Use all your down time to find out what trending and RT a few things!)
What is Hootsuite?

13. Have Fun!

I believe that the best tweets are also spontaneous. I think that if we write and rewrite our tweets we’re missing the point. I think if we are unsure, feel like it has to be perfect, are overly concerned with grammar or spelling (within reason) then you’re missing out on the vibrant, fast-paced environment that is Twitter. Back to our stadium metaphor: if you’re standing in Gillette Stadium with 70000 NFL fans, you’re not overly concerned with manners.  The bottom line here is FUN. If this stresses you out, don’t do it! Your social media presence is not dependent on this one thing.

Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant to conquer Twitter, but you don’t have the time?

This downloadable workbook will show you how to create a long-term Twitter presence. This workbook approaches your Twitter activity in three parts: your set-up, your strategy and your system. This book is not a guarantee of success. But what it will provide for you, is an orderly, thoughtful process in your brand, your biography, your target market, and your future tweets. Throughout the sections, exercises are provided to help you think about yourself, your brand, your books and your goals on Twitter. This book was originally intended for authors who want to use Twitter to build their tribe of readers, but the principles of it are universal. Anyone with an interest in using Twitter as a marketing tool would find this book useful. Download. 29 pages. Available here for $4.99

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.