Most marketers recommend writers become active on social media as a way of promoting their work. Twitter is one of many social media platforms available today. Twitter allows you to post short (140 characters maximum) updates to share what you’re doing, link to interesting information, or answer questions.
Benefits of Twitter
Tweets happen in real time: immediacy
Tweets tend to encourage casual conversation
Tweets make it possible to build relationships with people all over the world
Tweets give you the opportunity to provide links to coupons, blog posts, and special announcements on your website
What are Your Goals?
Before you set up your Twitter account, you need to think about what you want to accomplish. Your goals will determine how you use your account. Do you want:
More people on your contact list? (Your focus will be on gaining followers)
To build relationships? (You’ll work at direct messages and finding people with similar interests)
To provide more responsive service? (You’ll spend more time reading tweets and making sure you respond quickly to questions or concerns from customers.)
To sell books? (You’ll use Twitter to share information about your book launch, how to purchase your book, and a link to your blog)
Setting up a Twitter Account
It’s easy to set up a Twitter account. However, first you need to figure out what you want your Twitter handle (user name) to be. Aim for the shortest handle which is still unique and easy to remember. Here are some tips on picking a Twitter handle. When you’re ready to set up your account, go to www.Twitter.com and click on “New to Twitter? Sign Up”. You’ll need to enter your full name, your email address, and a password. Then click on “Sign up for Twitter”. The rest of the process is self-explanatory. If you get stuck, Twitter has a “help” option.
Your Twitter Bio
Every Twitter user has the opportunity to enter a bio (user profile). It’s important you make good use of this option, because it determines how search engines and other “Twits” (people who use Twitter) find you. Instead of sentence format, use key words and phrases. As a writer you may want to have an author Twitter account as well as an account for each publication you release. (It depends how much time you want to spend on marketing as opposed to writing new material!) If you want some ideas, click here. Need a good laugh? Check out 20 of the best all time Twitter bios.
Twitter is all about building relationships. You have to follow people if you want them to follow you. It’s possible to be on Twitter and never follow anyone. However, if you want to build relationships, you need to find interesting people to follow. Here’s how:
Search topics like fiction books, non-fiction books, etc. Read tweets under these topics and follow people who write interesting tweets.
Read through current tweets and follow people who tweet about subjects you find interesting.
Search key words in your bio and follow other people who have similar interests.
Follow people who follow your followers.
Follow back when people follow you IF they are tweeting about things that are interesting to you
A word of caution: there are people on Twitter you don’t want to follow. Use the “block” and “report spam” options when you need to (we’ll discuss this in a future blog post) so you can enjoy interacting with the many wonderful people who are on Twitter.
Welcome to Twitter! Next time we’ll discuss what makes a great tweet. If you have any questions about Twitter, let me know.