OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Social networking is now a mainstream form of communication and online marketing, and many authors are using one of the big networks e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube. I have been on Twitter a year now and it has been amazingly successful for me, so I wanted to share some of my tips for effective use in the hope you can avoid my mistakes!
Tips For Using Twitter Effectively
- Decide on your niche and stick with it. This is similar to the author branding idea. People follow people they are interested in. If you stay on topic, you will get followers who are interested in you, they will retweet you and you'll get more followers in the niche. And so it expands. If you don't stay on topic, your followers will be a mixed bunch and you won't appeal to them all.
- If you want to grow followers, tweet useful information regularly. People retweet useful information, they don't retweet personal updates. New followers who are interested in the topic will appear after RTs. You do need a mix of updates but I find followers grow faster when you have a high RT %.
- Find new followers and people to connect with through #tags. Here's a great list of some of the #tags for writers via @inkyelbows, basically a term that is added to tweets in order to group them. Some have meetings on twitter at specific times.
- Attribute posts to others as it 1) gets their attention in a positive way and creates better relationship 2) enables you to tweet links without being blocked by Twitter as a spammer. Check the terms and conditions – you will be blocked if you tweet a lot of links with no @ attribution
- Create relationships with other bloggers in your niche. After a while of mutual tweeting, you will find you connect with people, and you can help each other with tweeting links, plus guest posting, interviews and more. The majority of my podcast interviews have come from relationships I have developed on twitter.
- Schedule tweets across timezones for multi-cultural followers. This is essential if you live somewhere like Australia! I use SocialOomph to schedule tweets every 3-4 hours in 24 hour period (it's free). This enables me to reach people across all timezones and also saves me time. I schedule 80% of my tweets at the weekends after reading the blogs and catch up with what has happened in the week.
- Use Twitter clients for easy management. I use TweetDeck on the PC and Tweetie on the iPhone. There are stacks more available, just find the one that is right for you.
- Market your blog or your book through attraction/pull marketing. You can't join twitter and expect to get a flood of traffic and sales to your site. It is a social networking site and rewards you for time and effort put in. There is a cumulative effect over time. I started with zero followers a year ago and now have over 12,000. This is a slow growth approach based on time, effort and being useful. I have not used any of the so called techniques for quickly getting followers. People find my site based on the tweets I put out there sporadically when I post a new blog article, or when they click through my profile to find out more about me. Then they may buy my books, download the free information and subscribe. This is the only long term solution for getting Twitter traffic and marketing. Give first, and you will receive. Twitter is one of the top 3 traffic producers for this site. That's why it is worth using.
- Back up your tweets. If you tweet links, people are often interested in finding out what you have been tweeting. The main twitter site is not so good for this, so I use Friendfeed to direct all my tweets into. People can subscribe to my Friendfeed to find the backlist of information.
Don't Do The Following
- Don't auto-DM people when they follow you, it is a mark of a newbie and obviously not a personal message so is completely pointless. Many people will unfollow for auto-DMs, especially those that promote a product.
- Don't spam i.e. don't tweet your own stuff all the time. You will go nowhere fast. Give first and you will receive.
- Don't be negative or offensive, don't rant. Twitter is generally a positive place and people will unfollow for negativity and ranting. It is a public forum people, so just don't go there!
Some Useful Posts on Twitter
- 70 Non Fiction Authors to Follow on Twitter – from @mashable
- Literary tweets : 100+ best authors on Twitter – from @mashable
- 10 ways Twitter can help writers – from @inkyelbows
- 50 useful twitter tools for writers and researchers
- Why writers should use Twitter via @alexisgrant
- Directory of Authors on Twitter via @jennifertribe
- Directory of book trade people on twitter including publishers via @jennifertribe
- 50+ writer uses for twitter via @merylkevans
- 50 power twitter tips from @chrisbrogan
Here is a list of people I regularly RT on Twitter => Bloggers I Follow. Start by following them if you are new to Twitter.
Thanks to Debbie @inkyelbows for the great cartoon!