Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So What Are We Doing With Twitter?

I have to say right now that Twitter for an author is much different than the way I've used Twitter with my clients.

Generally, my clients tweet (or I tweet for them) as a business, not as an individual.  You know what I'm talking about, like the businesses you follow so you can get exclusive awesome deals.  Or the other businesses that give you good solid information. Those types of Twitter accounts don't have to worry about saying anything cute or cool or responding to people or building their own list of people they follow.  For these accounts there is a rule of Don't Follow Everyone Just Because They Follow You. For the schools of thought associated with this, read here.

While I subscribe to the rule above for most businesses, I do not for individual writers. I believe in the etiquette of following who follows you.  And so do many other people.  Therefore, if you want to build your followers, then one way is to  follow, follow, follow.  Not automated people trying to sell you things, of course, but humans.
Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, you need to decide how you plan to use Twitter as a writer. Some suggestions:

  • To build a huge following so that if (when!) your book comes out, you have people to tell.
  • To stay up on contests and agent advice.
  • To learn from fellow writers.
  • To hear general buzz about books and the literary world.
  • To socialize.
  • All of the above or any combination of the above.

Here's my marketing advice: if you are planning on writing a book that you will one day have to publicize, then build followers.  Now, following others is not the only way to build followers yourself.  Another way is to have great, original, useful, etc. tweets.

Over the next few weeks I will give you some tools to help you find and manage your followers, but for now the goal, for myself at least, is start following.

If you aren't using Twitter:  I've said before that only 20% of adults use Twitter.  That's a low amount, but still, it's still 20% of adults you can reach with a FREE tool.  Also, Twitter can give a ton of exposure.  Read this.

Note: Do not buy followers.  Ever.  Ever, ever.  I don't think I need to explain why.

Are you using Twitter?  If so, how? Who are you following? If you follow me, I'll likely follow you :)


Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Laura,

Although I'm not a rabid tweeter, I do use Twitter to get the word out about time-sensitive information such as short-fuse contest deadlines, as I think that's a better vehicle than my blog. I also like to use it to share links to online articles I think my followers will want to know about, always giving a shout out to the person who posted the information to give them some well-deserved publicity.

I enjoy following authors, publishers, editors and agents who tweet only when they have something really hot to share; even if I love someone to death, if they're tweeting every few hours about topics such as long lines at the grocery store, that's just too much information to have time to wade through, and tools such as TweetDeck slow down computer systems too much.

As soon as I saw your blog site, I found its content so valuable I immediately checked to see if you had a Twitter account and whether you use it wisely. I started following you that day. I'm delighted you're a new follower and always appreciate feedback about what I can do to make my tweets more interesting for those who read them.

Another excellent post; thank you!


Laura Barnes said...

Michelle, Twitter is excellent for time-sensitive info.

I do find the most dreadful aspect of Twitter is wading through the stuff I don't want to read to get to the stuff I do want. I have found I really like the list feature. There I put all the people I follow faithfully. And then I just browse through my Twitter feed whenever I have time.

I always love your comments! Great feedback :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a teenager, and I'll say it: Twitter scares me. I give you adults total props for taking on technology that scares me out of my socks. I am extremely tempted to take a whack at it though. I love platform building through blogging, but it's a TON of work. Twitter is like platform building through blogging, only shorter. Right? ;)

Laura Barnes said...

Madeline, um, the short answer is no, not the same. The better answer is, tune in tomorrow because it's going to take a whole post to comment!

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