Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Networking: Twitter Tips

I love Twitter. I was VERY skeptical about it at first, though. I mean, who wouldn't be? With a name like "Twitter" it seems so. . . so. . . cheesy. Now I'm super glad I joined - some of my best writerly friends were found through Twitter.

This post might be really short, but I'm going to give an "Andrea" tutorial on Twitter--a VERY basic one. :-) A necessary disclaimer: I'm not a Twitter genius--I'm still pretty new to it. For crying out loud, I only have 150 followers. :-) So, I'll mention things that either bother ME, or work for ME. Take it for what it's worth. :-)

First, we like to have followers. It makes us feel like we're not talking to ourselves. Here are a few ways to get more tweeps:
  • Follow other people - those who are likely to follow you back. Agents, editors, publishers, etc., don't normally return follows. Almost no one famous does. Which is fine--we follow them because they've experienced what we're trying to do, and they know what works and what doesn't and are usually willing to share. (Hint: if the person has 4,248 followers, and is only following 82, unless you personally know them, they're not going to return your follow. :-))
  • Use hashtags. #amreading, #amwriting, #writegoal, #amediting, #writing, #editing, and #music are a few of my favorites. People occasionally search through the list of tags and follow others who use them.
  • Respond to other people's tweets. They might never answer you, but it's always so much fun when they do. Most of my Twitter friends came through back and forth conversations. Keep in mind, though, if they aren't following you, they'll never see your response. (Unless they do follow you in the future and read through your previous tweets.) The best way to know if someone is following you is to click on their name and look on the right side of the page under Actions. If it says "message so and so" then they're following you.
  • Don't be too serious. :-) I read somewhere that your tweets should be 25% business related, and 75% personal, fun, thought provoking, etc. (It might actually be more than that: 15% business, %85 personal, etc.) For the most part, people want to know who YOU are--what makes you tick--not what you're selling (whether it be yourself, your book, your campaign, etc.). My favorite people to follow are those who add their personality into their tweets by talking about their kids, how they burned the bread, a good song they've just discovered, computer problems, funny things kids say, or other random bits about their day. I'd take a guess that most people are like me: they don't want to be preached to 75% of the time and hear only 25% about you.

  • Be courteous in how many tweets you send out. If you aren't Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling, people don't want to hear from you every five minutes during the day (and night). I've un-followed people for being too talkative. It crowds out my "home" page! :-) (I still haven't had time to find a Twitter program to clear out my incoming tweets. Please recommend a good one. :-)) Also: if you're in a conversation, this doesn't apply. I'm talking about new topics here.
  • Pay attention to who your favorite tweeps are following and with whom they're conversing. (Don't take it too far, though. No one likes stalkers. :-)) I've return-followed several people mainly because I saw they were friends with my Twitter friends.
  • Use the #WW (Writer Wednesday) and #FF (Follow Friday) hashtags. Not only is this a great way to express gratitude to your people, but it also helps them get more followers. And what helps them, helps you, I promise. :-) Oh, and Twitter isn't case sensitive, so uppercase and lowercase don't affect whether you're responding to @AndreaPearson2 or @andreapearson2, or using #ff or #FF.
Okay, that's enough on how to get more people to follow you (and to stay, once they do). :-)

A few things to pay attention to:
  • When you respond to someone, the only people who see it are those who follow you AND that individual. Watch what you're saying in the "What's happening?" box. If you start it off with "@" followed by someone's name, you're responding to that person, and no one else will see it. (Except those who are following the both of you). If "What's happening?" has changed to "Reply to so-and-so" then you're responding. (I did warn you this would be pretty basic, didn't I? :-))
Yes, I did remove all of Calvin's convos. :-)
  • If you see something you want to respond to, don't just send out a random tweet without showing you're responding to that person. Before writing something, click on "reply," or, if you're using your cell, type in "@" before the person's name. It's really hard to know who's referring to what if you don't follow this protocol, and it's really annoying to catch only one side of the conversation. With a cell phone, copy and paste if you're worried about getting the person's name wrong.
My last bit of advice stems from Facebookers (like me) using Twitter. In Twitter, it isn't necessary to talk in third person. For example, "andreapearson2 says it's time to eat," or, "andreapearson2 wants to go biking now." That's a Facebook thing - and only Twitter noobs do it. :-) (*Andrea ducks as someone throws a shoe at her*)

I considered listing a bunch of people I've really enjoyed following, but didn't think that was a good idea in case I missed someone. There are AMAZING writers out there who are friendly, give great writing tips, and are dang hilarious. Send me an email (apATandreapearsonbooksDOTcom) if you'd like to know who they are and I'll send you my list. :-)

Anyway, I think that's about it. Did I miss any good, non-annoying ways to get more followers? And, what things have you learned which help you better use this wonderful site?

Back to Writing Tips Index


  1. A very good, helpful post. Almost a how-to. :)

    One thing which will help people to find like-minded tweeps (twitter friends) to talk to: Join lists and directories. Twibes, twellow, etc. There are many others. Just google the words: twitter directory.

    This helps to find new friends who are authors, writers, bloggers, dog lovers, snowboarders... you get the picture.

    When you add yourself to those directories or twibes or lists, other people in those lists find you.

    Just my two cents! (or was that more like a dollar?)

  2. Great tutorial! I love Twitter. Still need to figure out the Twibes Daron mentioned, but I'll get to it. Thanks, Andrea! #IloveHobbes #amwriting

  3. I like the helpful hints. how did you get that twitter button?

  4. Daron: was the site you introduced to me called twubs?

    I really need to get up to speed on these lists. :-) Yours are the best--I haven't found any yet that has more followeds or more followees. (And yes, those are legit words. :-))

    Krista: I love Twitter too! It's hard to get other people excited about it--they think it's trivial! But it's such a huge marketing and networking tool!

    Melissa: Are you talking about the twitter messages in my sidebar?