Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Twitter is a tool, not a weapon

This week for Writer Wednesday, I want to talk about Twitter. It's a great social tool, with fast paced conversations. It's a great way to connect with friends and fans alike. The problem most people have (including me) is that there's a lot of chatter going back and forth, and no one is really listening to anyone else. It's sort of like a cocktail party; all the cool people have giant circles of people with everyone hanging on their every word, and then there's several smaller clusters engaged in relevant conversation, with people occasionally wandering between different groups. Then you got your wall flowers, the shy folks who don't want to be rude and butt in but don't want to leave either. I often feel like one of those, randomly throwing things out there, hoping to catch someones interest but usually just going unnoticed. And perhaps all my social issues growing up color my perception of my effectiveness, but that's a whole 'nother blog.

So how do you get people to notice you? Well, I can't speak for the world, but I can speak for myself. And I've found by talking to others that a lot of people share my opinions. So don't take this as the official tried and true information, just some things to consider that I would like to see more of on Twitter

1) Don't auto-follow
You're trying to connect on Twitter, so how does an auto-follow help, anyway? There are so many interesting people out there, I'm not going to follow everyone and their brother just because they follow me. 

2) Have an interesting description
This on is so important I feel like it deserves it's own place on the list. I can't tell you how many people I go to look at their profile and there's no description or worse, just a link and a couple hashtags. You're description is your first chance to tell me "I'm worth listening to." Do you really want the first thing I learn about you to be "#writer #YA #ebook" and a bitly link to some site I guarentee I'm never going to look at? I don't know what kind of person you are or if your account has been hacked and is now spam-tastic.

3) Have a picture
If your Twitter picture is an egg or some illegible attempt to use a cover, I'm going to keep scrolling. Someone who can't even stop marketing long enough to show a little personality isn't going to say anything I want to listen to.

4) Lay off the links
If all you share is links, I will tune you out. Share a quote, repeat a funny joke. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you can certainly reuse one of good quality. Every post shouldn't be a link to something.

5)Be relevant
I pay attention to things I'm interested in. Everyone does. Books are only one of my interests. Why don't you try talking about one of my other ones?

6) Be witty
If you make me laugh, I want to know you. That's just the kind of person I am. The first thing that attracted me to my husband was his sense of humor. Share your funny thoughts, your silliness, or the groaner you heard on the radio.You appreciated it enough to share. Someone else probably will too.

7) Be real
This is so important. Don't pretend to be something you're not. Just be yourself. I know that's the hokey advice  your mom gave you, but you know what? It's true and effective, so give it a try.

8) Don't be repetitive
Don't keep tweeting "Buy my book!" "Read my blog!" or "Look at this link." That's the quickest way to get me to click the "unfollow" button. Say it once and leave it. If it doesn't get you anywhere, try something else. The definition of insanity is repeating the same process expecting a different result.

Remember, to effectively use Twitter, you should be connecting with people, not shoving your information down their throats. People who get to know you will be honestly interested in you and by extension your books. The marketing will happen on it's own. Have fun on Twitter and people will notice.

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