Twitter is a great social media tool. Its 140 character limit for tweets (messages) means it’s quick and since others can retweet (repost) your tweets, the possible audience for those tweets can be huge.
Sounds like a win-win right?
Twitter can also suck you in and suck all the time out of your day. Here are some tips to help you use Twitter efficiently and effectively.
1. Pick a Twitter handle (screen name) so people can find you. Use your pen name, if it’s taken add an underscore between your first and last name, or add the word ‘author’ or ‘writer’ after your name. Don’t make people work to find you.
2. Put something in your description that makes it clear you’re you.
Mine reads: Wife, mother, author, teacher, med lab tech - Icebound - available now from Carina Press. North of Heartbreak coming April 16, 2012
3. Follow the people you want to follow you, including:
a. Publishing professionals (put ‘editor’ or ‘agent’ in the search engine).
c. Readers (lots of avid readers put the word ‘reader’ in their description).
d. Interesting folks (I follow National Geographic, The Economist and NASA’s official tweet streams and often retweet their tweets).
4. Retweet other people’s tweets. I make a note of who retweets me and retweet their tweets.
5. Thank people who retweet and mention you with a thank you tweet.
6. If you start a tweet with someone’s Twitter handle, put a period in front of it. If you don’t Twitter will assume this is a direct tweet to them and it will only show up in the tweet stream of everyone who follows BOTH of you.
7. Use hashtags whenever you can. What’s a hashtag? It's a topic label that you can use to follow a conversation on twitter. Put the hashtag into the search engine and all tweets with that hashtag pop up in order. Popular writing hashtags and their definitions:
a. #FF = Follow Friday – suggest people to follow to your followers.
b. #WW = Writer Wednesday – suggest writers to follow to your followers.
c. #TT = Thankful Thursday – thank your writing followers publicly.
d. #writing, #amwriting = Tweeting about your current work in progress.
e. #editing, amediting = Tweeting about your editing journey.
f. #pubtip = Tips about the publishing industry.
g. #editreport = Editors share instructional bits from edit reports.
8. To resist the temptation to check Twitter constantly, schedule your tweets with an outside service like TweetDeck or HootSuite. These websites allow you to schedule tweets days, weeks and even months in advance. You can also use them to follow multiple tweet streams (specific lists of people and their tweets).
9. Use bit.ly or another link shortening site to make your active links to websites shorter.
10. Tweet about your book(s), but don’t just post a plea for people to buy with a link, make your tweets interesting and relevant. Post tweets that are unique to your book and that catch people’s attention. For example, my debut romance ICEBOUND set in Antarctica came out on Nov 14, 2011. For a month prior to the release date I posted 3 tweets a day with either interesting trivia about Antarctica or Antarctic slang with my book title and a pre-order link. Now that the book is out I continue to post trivia and slang 3 times a day with an active buy link. Here are some examples from my ICEBOUND tweets and tweets for my next book, NORTH OF HEARTBREAK, due out on April 16th:
a. Due to low humidity, high winds & lack of water fire is the biggest danger in Antarctica ICEBOUND 11/14/11 @carinapress http://bit.ly/pqBFs4
b. Antarctic Slang: Boomerang - flight to Antarctica that turns back before it arrives, bad weather ICEBOUND @carinapress bit.ly/pqBFs4
c. Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million NORTH OF HEARTBREAK coming soon! @carinapress http://bit.ly/xjCivy
d. “There’s no way I’m going to saddle some unsuspecting woman with me and my bad habits.” #heroquote ICEBOUND http://amzn.to/vlFph7
April 9 Guest Blog and Review
Liam has his own reasons for fleeing to the isolation of the north, and a relationship is the last thing he wants. He wasn't counting on being drawn to the pretty nurse who accompanies patients on his flights to southern hospitals.
Fortunately, the temptation—and the desire to avoid anything serious—is mutual. So the pair comes up with an arrangement: sensual, steamy, no-strings fun. But when things heat up on a cold Alaskan night, the rules of the game may change forever...
Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”