Twitter. A lot of my writer friends have tried it and feel it’s a waste of time. But others are regular users of Twitter and seem to feel it’s worthwhile. If you haven’t tried Twitter, are new to it, or haven’t managed to make it work for you, here are some tips. My own Twitter, by the way, is @nissalovescats
- Add your reading/writing friends to the people you follow on Twitter. Suggest that they follow you back. If you are an Aspie, perhaps you don’t have real-world friends. So go on Facebook if you are not there already and join a couple of groups, especially those for writers. Try to find specialized groups that relate to what you write. There are a number of Aspie/autism writers groups. I’ve listed a few on a page on this blog.
- Take a minute to compose a short profile for yourself on Twitter. It should mention that you are a writer or poet, and perhaps mention a thing or two that is part of your author brand. Mine mentions my ‘poet, Aspie & cat person’ tag.
- Put up a profile picture that is a picture of YOU. Your face— even if unattractive like mine— helps your followers see you as a person. Post it.
- Put up a cover picture to help your Twitter profile look complete. I used one of my best kitten photos— one of a kitten in a boot— because ‘cat person’ is part of my author tag. And since it’s a photo I took with a kitten I own, it’s a unique image to me. Well, others may have downloaded it but they probably don’t use it on their Twitter profile.
- Think about some things that are a part of your author brand. For example, I am a poet, a person who likes zombie fiction, a Catholic, a person with same-sex attraction, a cat person, a Star Trek fan…. What you do is you look for Twitter accounts that relate to the topics that touch your author brand, and follow them and retweet some of their stuff.
- Learn to use hashtags. You need to know some broad hashtags— #amwriting, #books #Catholic — and some very specific and narrow hashtags. Like #haiku, #micropoetry and #catsforTrump
- Click on hashtags that you use to see what other people are saying about your topics. Click ‘like’ on some things you like. Retweet a few things. Some of the people you have liked and/or retweeted will become your followers.
- You will get notifications when people follow YOU. Most of the time it’s a good idea to follow back. Other people you shouldn’t. Such as accounts that have never tweeted but have a thousand followers, accounts selling ‘author services’ or Twitter followers, and accounts that aren’t compatible with your author brand. For example, Evangelical fiction authors won’t want to follow an erotica ‘writer.’ And I, as a conservative, never follow anyone with ‘social justice warrior’ in their profile. Or any progressive account, unless they are poets. Particularly sijo or haiku poets.
- Don’t have a service tweet for you. Someone I know used a service to tweet science fiction related things, and it ended up tweeting pictures of naked teenage girls under his name. And he’s an Evangelical Christian author.
- Do use free Twitter services that are helpful. Buffer allows you to compose Tweets that can be tweeted at a time you pick. So if you are at work during peak Twitter hours, you can still have Tweets going out then. I have another service that tweets a thanks-for-following to batches of my new followers. I used to have one that would help me unfollow accounts that don’t follow me back. I do unfollow some of those, unless they are the Pope.
- Try to get together with Twitter followers you can relate to. Don’t go after teen Twitter users just because they are teens and you write YA. Some teen Twitter accounts are rather appalling— teens who won’t read, have contempt for the 1%, and think that the words ‘but I’m an atheist’ are a logical argument to practically everything. Though they normally spell it ‘athiest’. YA authors, you need to connect with teens who read and think and don’t believe every stupid thing some atheist, progressive or social justice warrior has told them.
- Limit your twitter time. Set a timer and do a ‘Twitterdoro’— timed Twitter session— and when the timer goes off, go do something else.
Do you use Twitter? Do you have any tips and tricks of your own that might help me (and others) get better at it?
Note: if learning to use Twitter better is something you are interested in, please say so in a comment. I have some friends who are good with Twitter that I could ask to do a guest post.