Many writers that I encounter and speak with have said that they don’t enjoy using Twitter. They’d created an account, used it for a while but left because they didn’t connect with many people. They said it was easier to return to Facebook where they already had a built-in audience. If that built-in audience is your friends and family, other writers—the same writers again and again, then you definitely need to step away from the comforts of Facebook and give Twitter another shot. Based upon my interactions with fellow writers who’ve voiced their dissatisfaction with Twitter, it had become clear that they all had the same issues in common; they simply didn’t understand the full workings of the social network. I’m going to list a few things that writers (or anyone with something to promote) should be doing on Twitter to get the most out of their experience.
1 – Learn which hashtags are most effective in your posts and use them sparingly. The following hashtags are most popular among the writing community and they tend to draw more of an audience when you post your tweets.
#IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)
Visit AuthorMedia.com for a full list of useful hashtags. Don’t overuse them in your posts. Use no more than 2-3 per post.
2 – Create Lists. The Twitter list is the most underused gem of the entire social network. It allows you to create your own personal news feed based on your interests. Let’s say you enjoy reading news articles in the morning. When you create a “News” list, you’ll have access to all the media outlets that you’ve added to a particular list. Do you like keeping up with your local restaurant and nightlife scene? Create a list of twitter profiles specifically geared towards that topic. If you’re a writer, you can create a list of fellow writers you enjoy, publishers, editors, cover designers, anyone and everyone—all on one list. Here’s how to add someone to a list:
First, create a few lists of topics you wish to have in your list section. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you’ve made a list name called Writers, Artists & Such, just as I have above. Click the gearshift in the profile you wish to add to a list, then select the Add/Remove (as I illustrate using children’s author, Susan Saunders’ profile) from list tab. Your list categories will appear and you simply check the category in which you wish to add to. By the way, if you wish to remove someone from your lists, simply follow the same steps, but uncheck the profile and it will be removed.
Let’s say you want to view the lists that someone has on their profile. This is particularly good when you are searching for like-minded individuals or businesses. If you’re an interior designer and you want to discover fellow designers and architects, you can view other people’s lists (provided they aren’t private) by simply doing the following:
As you can see above, you simply tap the gearshift by the desired profile, hit the View Lists tab when it appears and you’ll have access to that profile’s public lists. Above is a handful of lists that I keep. So what do the list feeds look like when you select one of your lists, you ask?
As you can see, the feed from profiles (that I’ve selected) come up and I get to view tweets from profiles that I tend to follow the most. If you have specific profiles that you gravitate toward, this is the best way to keep up with them without getting lost in the sea of endless tweets on the main news feed.
3 – Create an informative and eye-catching Twitter Header and Bio. Be sure to include facts that you want to be most known for; Your latest book release, accolades, your business, your interests…anything that grabs attention. This will help you connect with like-minded Twitter users more easily and you’ll tend to build up your network much quicker. Have a look at voice actor, Jill Cofsky or attorney and writer, Karen Kettner‘s heading. Their bios leave no room for guessing; it’s direct and informative.
While there are several other tips to explore in the Twitter-verse, these three are what I consider to be the most vital in getting the most out of your Twitter experience. I myself find it to be a better alternative to Facebook. I’ve made more connections with people in my industry—and outside, which is terrific because that’s what growing your network is all about.