My new Kindle book Tweeting For a Reason: How (and Why) to use Twitter to Market Your Business is out today and FREE from April 30th through May 4th 2014.
The book is aimed at freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses and is great for writers, authors and self-publishers, so do grab a copy if you'd like to learn more about using Twitter to market your work and build your brand.
I'm celebrating with a Twitter tips post. Enjoy, and if you'd like more Twitter marketing tips, get a copy of the book here. No Kindle? No problem. You can now read Kindle books on most tablets, your computer and even your phone. Get the free Kindle App here.
Twitter Tips For Writers and Authors
Use your profile to say what you are as well as who you are
Freelance Writer, Children's Author, Self-Publisher etc. People often search for people similar to themselves to follow, and readers search for authors in genres they like. Potential clients may search for something they need, such as 'Freelance Writer' or 'Editing Services'.
Sound interesting in your profile
Yes, this is a challenge in such a small space, but because you have so little to work with it's even more important. You have to sound interesting enough that people will think your tweets will be worth reading.
Add a photo
If you don't, you will be left with Twitter's strange egg image. This is off-putting for many people, not least because it can be the mark of a spammer. Twitter is currently revamping profiles to give you a big 'cover photo' style background image. Use it for a striking picture that says something about you, your writing, your brand or your values.
Add a link
When your profile has to be super short, anyone in doubt will click on your link to decide whether you're worth following. Put a link to your blog, writer's website or at least somewhere else online that you have a more detailed profile (such as LinkedIn, or a site you regularly write for).
Only follow people you're genuinely interested in
If you follow a load of random people in the hope that they will follow you back you'll soon find yourself overwhelmed with dubious tweets you aren't interested in.
Unfollow people who don't provide value
It's OK to unfollow people whose tweets aren't relevant to you. If you don't you'll miss the ones that are. If you ignored the tip above and started out following people in the hope they'd follow you back you can use a handy little tool called Friend or Follow to work out who didn't, and unfollow them.
Tweet useful stuff
Sometimes it's OK to tweet things just for fun or do a status update type tweet, but generally speaking writers use Twitter to find useful information in their niche. Tweet about good articles, blog posts and resources you come across, with a link. After looking at someone's (very short) profile and their link, the only other thing people can use to decide whether to follow you or not is the quality of your previous tweets. High quality tweets are more likely to get retweeted as well.
It's fine to tweet your own articles and blog posts, or to tweet about your book launch. In fact it's expected. But remember to tweet and retweet other writers' posts and articles as well.
Don't link to anything that could be considered spam
This is really annoying, and can get your account deleted.
#Use #Hash #Tags #With #Caution
Hashtags are useful to indicate what your tweet is about and help others in your niche find it (I use #writingtips regularly). But if your #tweet #looks #like #this, you're overdoing it.
If you are going to use hash tags, use relevant ones
It will help get your tweets seen by other members of the community you're trying to reach. This is especially useful if you are sharing information about writing or asking a writing related question. You might want to use #writing #freelance #publishing #authors #amwriting or #amreading.
I was really slow on the uptake with this and am still trying to rectify it. Get organized from the start if you can and create lists to "file" people into (such as writers, editors, agents, bloggers). You'll be able to find all the tweeters you follow in a particular area really quickly, and at the very least it will help you remember why you followed people.
Use @mentions when possible
When you want to communicate with someone directly (especially to say something positive or to thank them for a service) do it with an @mention, not a direct message. This is a public shout-out to them and will get them new followers, which is the least you can do if they've helped you out, or you've found their content particularly useful.
Use direct messages appropriately
Hint: It's not appropriate to send a direct message to everyone who follows you saying "Buy my stuff".
Put a Twitter button on your blog or writer's website
This may sound obvious but some people really don't make it that easy to follow them.
Put a Tweet this button on your blog or site
If you're active on Twitter (or even if you don't use it at all) make it easy for others to tweet your posts and articles.
Connect with editors and agents (appropriately)
Yes you can get an editor or agent interested in your book on Twitter, but there is etiquette involved. Use Twitter to build a relationship by interacting, retweeting and posting your own interesting book updates. Then pitch in the appropriate manner (usually specified on the tweeter's website).
Try and build a targeted following
It really is better to have 500 followers who genuinely know who you are, want to read your work and maybe even buy your book when it comes out, than to have 5000 followers who have no idea who you are or why they followed you. Building a targeted following takes time and happens organically, which brings us to the next point.
It takes time to find your way round Twitter. Don't give up if you don't 'get' it straight away, or if it doesn't bring a sudden flood of traffic to your site, or sales of your book. Hang out a bit more and see if it starts to make sense to you. Lots of articles will tell you how to get loads of followers really quickly but, as with so many things in life, quality is more important than quantity. Grow your following slowly and naturally you'll get a better class of follower.
I'm @KarenBanes. I tweet about writing, books and publishing and share lots of free writing resources.
Bonus tip: Go grab a copy of Tweeting For a Reason: How (and Why) to use Twitter to Market Your Business from Amazon stores worldwide.
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