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  • 45 Twitter Tips: Part 2

    Posted on March 22nd, 2012 jean 9 comments

    Yesterday I posted part 1 of this post: 18 tips all Twitter users can use which also included some print resources. Today’s tips (the last 28 of 46 Twitter Tips–Darke Conteur reminded me of one in yesterday’s comments) are ones even those most experienced Twitter user may find helpful.

    There is a large learning curve on Twitter, so don’t fret if you’ve made a few errors or disagree with some of my tips–talk to me!

    27 28 of 45 46 Twitter Tips for Twitter Users:

    RTs (RETWEETS):

    1. Always credit a RT (retweet). If there are a long list of retweeters and you have to cull some out, try to leave the original tweeter and the most recent tweeter in the tweet. (One of the reasons it is important to have a short handle as per tip #1.)
    2. Save room in your best tweets for RT info. Make it easy for others to RT you.
    3. Thank an RTer. If someone retweets you, try and say thanks.
    4. Thank a follower. Some folks like to do this. I’m on the fence. It takes a lot of time, and I’m not sure it is worth it. Some are able to make great connections this way. However… do you send them a direct message to say thanks and risk it looking like an autoDM or do you clutter up your tweet stream with @messages to people thanking them for following?
    5. Don’t RT compliments. Let others do your best and most meaningful self-promotion. Retweeting compliments about yourself can look a bit self-congratulatory and braggy. Would you go up to an acquaintance and say, “Betsy thinks I’ve written a great book.” Probably not. But would you let that acquaintance overhear on conversation with Betsy where she is complimenting you? You betcha!

      For example: @Betsy tweets: @You. I just gave your book XYZ 5 stars!

      Reply: @Betsy Thanks for the 5 stars. I’m glad you enjoyed XYZ! You made my day. (Everyone likes to make someone’s day!)

      Or add: Are you on my email list? I’ll pop you a note when book 2 comes out if you’re interested. Link. (That link is for them to follow to your list.) As Chris Brogan says, “Don’t always be selling, but always have something to sell.”

      Note: If people are intrigued they will check out the whole conversation. It says more to them if someone else says something good about you than if you do.

      PROMOTION:

    6. Promote your blog. Seriously. New post? Tweet it. Once. Maybe twice. And make sure it is spread out by other tweets. Check your blog stats to see how many clicks come from Twitter. Tweak it if you need to. And make the blog tweet sound interesting.
    7. Promotional tweets should be rare. Remember–networking. Some say 25% or less of your tweets should be about you. That includes everything from coupons to blog posts to book selling. Twitter is notall about you.Oops! Did I Just Tweet That?BRANDING:
    8. TMI. Too much information. I have unfollowed literary agents because they tweeted incessantly about what they are eating, what their children are doing, what they are wearing, what they are doing that instant. Remember why you are on Twitter.
    9. Always remember your brand. If something does not match your brand–don’t tweet it.
    10. Do be human. Some personal info makes you real and interesting. Find the balance.
    11. When tweeting as a group, save room to put your name at the end of the tweet–people like knowing there is a real person behind the tweets. Also, if they are having a conversation with one person they might get confused if suddenly someone else is tweeting or the tone changes.
    12. The internet is forever. Even tweets. They get favourited and RTed. Be careful what you say. Think Twice, Tweet Once.
    13. You can delete tweets. But note that once it has been RTed, it is in someone else’s stream and will live on.FOLLOWERS:
    14. Mine followers. Find a leader (for example @agentquery) in your field and see who they are following. See who is following them. Follow those folks. This is your audience too. Your market.
    15. Share your followers/Tweepeople with others. The hashtags #WW (Writer Wednesday) and #FF (Follower Friday) are two popular ones. The idea is that you use this hashtag and list folks using their handle (@jeanoram for example) to share people you think others may be interested in following. Unfortunately it is often a big list that gets ignored–except by those listed. If you want to use these hashtags effectively, consider mentioning why people should follow. For example: #WW These great folks just released books I think are 5 stars: @bigwriter @bestseller @wonderbook. (Thanks, @Darke_Conteur–I forgot about #WW and #FF!)
    16. Join chats. This is a great way to learn more about your industry, network, gain followers, and find folks to follow. Even if all you do is thank the moderator at the end of the chat. (Make sure you use the chat’s hashtag–they all have their own.)
    17. Don’t auto follow. It’s lame and you end up with a stream of spammers and folks you might not really care about clogging up your twitter stream.
    18. Report Spam. Make Twitter better for all of us. It’s easier now than it was a year ago. Just a click.
    19. Don’t worry about the unfollowers. It happens. Do not contact them.
    20. 5-7 tweets per day equals more followers.KEEPING TRACK:
    21. Use a program to help you keep track of things (like @mentions, DMs, RTs, lists, etc.) if the Twitter website is allowing things to speed by you too quickly. HootSuite and TweetDeck are two popular ones.
    22. Use lists to keep track of those you are most interested in or don’t want to miss. For example, in HootSuite I have a stream/list of my AgentQueryConnect buddies so they have their own stream so I don’t lose them in the couple hundred others I am following. You can also make lists on the Twitter website–I just like things all laid out.
    23. Listen. Create a search stream (again in HootSuite or TweetDeck) using a hashtag or keyword you often use or applies to your area. For example #amwriting is one I’ve made for @jeanoram. “Parenting” is one I’ve made for @KidsPlay. Watch that stream. See what others are tweeting. Reply. Answer questions–be helpful! Connect. Follow. Retweet. It’s a great way to stay on top of things. Note: You can also create and save searches on the Twitter website.LAST TIPS:
    24. Help others. Answer questions. People like that.
    25. Tweet multimedia. Pictures. People like pictures. Videos too.
    26. Check out Klout.com. While this analyzing site isn’t perfect, it does keep stats such as the number of retweets you’ve had in the past 90 days, how big your network is, etc. It’s handy for checking to see how you are doing and what your trends have been–what works, what doesn’t!
    27. If you want more, check out the plethora of Twitter related sites like hashtags.org, Bubble Tweet, TwitterCounter, TweepSearch, Friend or Follow.
    28. Be professional. Be human. Be real. Have fun.

    So what do you think? Have I missed any good tips? Do you disagree with some of the tips I’ve listed?

    I tweet writing related stuff at @jeanoram–follow me! I won’t auto-DM you! 😉 I also tweet parenting related stuff at @KidsPlay–follow me!

     

  • 45 Twitter Tips: Part 1

    Posted on March 21st, 2012 jean 4 comments

    Do you use Twitter effectively? Or are you ticking people off or not optimizing what you are doing on Twitter without even knowing it? Here are some Twitter tips that will help you get the best out of your time spent on Twitter.

    Here’s how this post came about: Writer Kela McClelland asked me to share 15 things about myself on my blog when she presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award the other day. For some reason, I thought I had to share 15–it was only 7. And since I’ve been studying Twitter a lot lately, I decided to share what I’ve been learning and applying about Twitter in hopes that these things can help out other writers hone their social media approach. So really, it isn’t about me so much as it’s about what going around in my brain right now. Use my brain to your advantage!

    Well, I ended up with 45. Since this was a lot, I’ve broken it in half. Today I will cover some basics (even experienced Twitter users have been known to make these errors) and tomorrow I will cover more in-depth tips for the more experienced Tweeter.

    Enjoy!

    15 18 Twitter Tips and Tricks All Twitter Users Should Know:

    PROFILES:

    1. Pick a short handle if you can. @MegaWriterDenver is too long. Try to use your real name/pen name so when people search for you they can find you. Note that your handle and your real name don’t have to be the same. For example: @KidsPlay is one of my tweet handles, but it also says “Jean Oram” so people know who I am.
    2. Use a picture of yourself as your avatar if you are comfortable doing so. People like seeing who they are dealing with. They don’t want your blog logo or your dog. They want a human. Remember: it is easier to connect with a person if you can see them, and in turn, it is also easier to trust them.
    3. If your avatar image isn’t something you have personally created, make sure it doesn’t fall under copyright. This is especially important as you grow from aspiring writer to published writer. And if you are using a professionally taken photo of yourself–make sure you have the rights to use it as you wish!!
    4. Use the same avatar as you do elsewhere online. It helps people find you and recognize you. That’s branding at its easiest, folks!
    5. Individualize your profile blurb. Yes, it is only 160 characters, but make it you. How many of these have you seen?: I’m a fantasy writer and my book XYZ is coming out Summer 2012.Seriously. You are a writer. That’s all you’ve got?

      NETWORK IT BABY:

    6. Add a link in your profile to other forms of media whether it be your website, blog, Facebook, or Pinterest page. Make it easy for them to find you elsewhere. Twitter is about Networking.
    7. Add the social media Twitter icon on your blog so people can find you (and follow you) on Twitter.
    8. Add a tweet it button so people who like something (like this post) can easily tweet it to their followers.
    9. Don’t add a Twitter stream gadget to your website. If you haven’t tweeted in awhile it looks bad to have the same content there. If you are tweeting a conversation with a friend it is now on your website and may make you look like you are cliquey. Basically, it can give the wrong impression. Generally, it actually deters people from finding you and following you. The mystery just isn’t there any longer.
    10. Change your background. If you have the time, jump on a free background creation site like FreeTwitterDesigner.com and build a background that includes your branding images (like a logo) as well as more URLs. (Example.) While I’m not completely dazzled with FreeTwitterDesigners quality, it worked out better than me trying to build my own. If you know of a good background designer site, please share it in the comments.

      AUDIENCE:

    11. Network. They say Twitter is best for networking, not selling books. If you want to sell books–get your book on people’s shelves on Goodreads. (More on Goodreads later in the week.) Use Twitter as a place to network, connect with readers, and yes, share your book title. But don’t delude yourself into thinking a bulk of your sales will come from tweeting. Use Twitter to drive traffic to places where you can sit and sell–like your website. Use Twitter to connect with your audience.
    12. Find out when your audience is on Twitter. Are they weekend users? Schedule some tweets for that time of day if you can’t be online. (Free Twitter programs like TweetDeck, HootSuite, and SocialOomph are great for this.)

      TIMING:

    13. Busiest Twitter days are early in the week and generally crest around midday and early afternoon (Eastern timezone). This is when you will find the most folks on Twitter, but also when you are most likely to get lost in the noise.
    14. Use your smart phone. You can tweet on the go–especially important if your audience is most active when you are least likely to be near your computer. There are great apps for iPhones and Android. Since I have two Twitter accounts, I use two different apps on my Android and leave them both signed in. This way I get notices for both accounts while I am out and about. I believe you can also use TweetDeck on your phone if you are a TD aficionado.
    15. If you know you aren’t going to be on Twitter for a few hours, don’t post a conversation starter before you log off. There’s nothing worse that someone asking a great conversation starter and then ignoring you when you reply.

      COURTESY:

    16. Always reply. If you put a conversational question out there and someone replies, acknowledge it. Even if it is a simple: Lol. It will go far with that person. Especially if you are ‘big.’
      As an experiment, I’ve been tweeting big companies to see if they reply. So far, they haven’t. I even replied to a social media expert who says it is essential to always reply. He did not reply back.
    17. Learn from others. What do you like–do it. What don’t you like–don’t do it.
    18. Don’t use auto-DMs. Auto direct messages are soooo see through. And there is nothing more annoying than having a twitter conversation with someone just before you follow them only to have an impersonal DM sent to you moments later that make it obvious that this is an auto message. It’s insulting and leaves a bad impression.

    If you are looking for some printed resources, check out these two books: Likeable Media by Dave Kerpen and Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day by Hollis Thomases. You can see my reviews by clicking on the links.

    How about you? Why do you tweet? What are your pet peeves? Things you love? Tweeple who have rocked your world?

    P.S. Be sure to come back tomorrow where I’ll share many, many more tips!

    I tweet writing related stuff at @jeanoram–follow me! I won’t auto-DM you! 😉 I also tweet parenting related stuff at @KidsPlay–follow me!

  • Smart Twitter Profiles

    Posted on August 27th, 2011 jean 6 comments

    Do you Tweet? If you do and you are using your Twitter account to get your writing name (or other professional name) out there, you might want to give Galley Cat’s listing of the top 5 Twitter Profile mistakes that writers make a quick scan. I made one of them. How about you?

    (I admit, I tried to make my personal description a tad cheeky. Although, I thought despite the cheek it still gave (yes, past tense–I did change it) readers a bit of an idea of who I was/am and that I am maybe not 100% run of the mill author-to-be.)

    The fact is, I find that many Tweeters make that ‘mistake’ fairly often–Tweeters not describing themselves very well. So… Who are you? What makes you unique and special? Why should I follow you? Tell me in that tiny little area and you just might find yourself a couple of extra followers tagging on each week.

    As for profile pictures–I don’t care if you have one. Really. Not a big deal.

    And location? I don’t care about that either. In fact, I prefer NOT to put down my location. I don’t live in a city of millions (New York) so a little personal privacy is a GOOD thing.

    What do you look for in a Twitter profile? Do you think their listed mistakes are a big deal?

  • Back to Balance… and Marketing

    Posted on January 14th, 2010 jean 12 comments

    A few weeks ago I mentioned that one of my current goals is to balance things in my life in order to rejuvenate and celebrate the joy in what I do every day. (That’s not to say I’ve been miserable, simply that it’s incredibly easy to get swept up in the myriad of ‘shoulds’ and forget to have a complete and utter blast.)

    As if hearing the cries of aspiring (and published) writers, literary agent Nathan Bransford posted his ideas on marketing and balance. The long and the short of it is that writers should have some sort of Googleable web presence, but that trying to do ‘everything’ in terms of promotion–and there are a zillion ways to do this these days–you are going to dilute yourself and not do anything well.

    Here, here.

    It all comes back to balance. (I love it when things come full circle.)

    Jean Oram

    Create Your Badge

    Lately, I’ve been reading here and there little somethings that reflect my own thoughts on Twitter and Facebook and all those ‘follow/friend’ social networking opportunities. That is: Don’t follow everyone just to count coup. (There is an actual term for those who do this, but my brain is letting me down.) Their advice (and mine too): Follow those you are genuinely interested in.

    In other words: So what if you have 1200 followers? If you are following 1200 people we know exactly how you obtained those 1200 followers. You can’t possibly read all those tweets and create a true relationships with those followers. My warning is: Don’t kid yourself into believing all those followers are a true platform and that they are all going to run out and buy your book if you ask them to (if you are an unknown).

    Interesting fact that I can’t back up (it’s in a book around here somewhere–Later note: Here’s an article on Dunbar’s Number): People bottom out around 150 relationships. After they reach that threshold, they are unable to maintain and sustain more relationships. True relationships take time, energy and memory making them genuine and rewarding for all involved.

    Now, a little clarification on my rant–there is nothing wrong with using social networks and gaining a following. You don’t have to know someone’s favourite colour or know their lineage to have a relationship that will result in them supporting your endeavours. In fact, I recommend building online platforms and using social networking sites. I guess what I am trying to say is: keep it genuine. As Nathan says, if you don’t ‘feel’ it (blogging, tweeting, etc), your audience is going to know. So, do what you are good at. Do what feels genuine and it will get you a whole heck of a lot farther in your promotion or platform building.

    Nobody can do everything. And nobody can do everything well.

    Jean’s book montage

    Daughter of Fortune: A Novel
    An Undone Fairy Tale
    Library Lion
    Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
    How to Stop Backing Down & Start Talking Back
    Girls of Riyadh
    The Alchemist
    Five Cities that Ruled the World: How  Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York Shaped Global History
    The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
    ePublish: Self-Publish Fast and Profitably for Kindle, iPhone, CreateSpace and Print on Demand
    King by Right of Blood and Might
    Something Blue
    Something Borrowed
    All the Tea in Chicago
    A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive
    Corduroy
    Come Back, Amelia Bedelia
    Amelia Bedelia
    Little Bear
    Three Little Kittens



    Jean Oram’s favorite books »

    So, another tough question for you blog readers–where is the balance between writing and promotion? How do you keep it fresh when you are blogging and tweeting and facebooking? Or do you?