Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Twitter Power

I’ve been twittering for, I don’t know, quite a few months now. For the most part, I’ve gotten the hang of it.

I don’t go out and follow a hundred tweeters every day. I do seem to follow about 5 or 6 new tweeters every day, though. Either I notice someone online and follow them, then they follow me back. Or people find me and follow me, then I check out their profiles and decide to follow them. By the way, if you have no bio and no tweets and I don’t have a clue who you are, I’m very unlikely to follow you back. I like to know a little bit about who I’m following.

So far, I’ve rarely un-followed someone. I did one person. He posted something I considered obnoxious and I decided I’d rather just drop him from my list than have to put up with reading his tweets. But he’s the only one.

Incidentally, a good way to find people to follow is to pick someone you’re following that you like or who have interests similar to you. Click on their profile. Then click on their list of people they’re following. Go through their list and see if you’d like to follow any of them. It won’t take long, just hover your pointer over each follower’s Twitter name and a short bio will show up. If you like what you see, click follow. If that person has a humongous list, break it up into sessions.

If you’re a new tweeter, here are some other things I’ve discovered along the way.

Interact. If someone tweets something interesting, reply to him or her. If they say something really worthwhile re-tweet it.

Tweet yourself. Tweet about what your blogging about - be sure to include the link to your blog. Or do a marketing tweet about your book or service, with link. You can do that three or four or five times over the course of a day, but spread them out. The people who are there early in the morning probably won’t be around at noon, so you can tweet it again without people feeling like you’re bombarding them.

Tweet others. While you’re out visiting other blogs, if you come across an interesting one, pop over to Twitter and tweet it and the link. It gives you something else to tweet about and makes friends. For example, on Monday I blogged about a tag I’d been hit with and then tagged five others. That day I tweeted about each of those blogs and included a link to their blogs. I have a Google Alert on my name and the name of my blog. Each day, if Google tells me I’ve been mentioned (even if it’s in a sidebar) on someone’s blog, I go over and, most of the time, leave a comment - and then, again, most of the time, tweet them with a link.

Announce that you’re a tweeter. Put your Twitter link in your sig line. I’ve found a lot of people to follow by clicking on that link in their sig line. When you visit blogs, sign your name and put your Twitter link or put your blog link (and make sure your Twitter link is in the sidebar of your blog). I know, some people don’t think that’s “cool.” But once again, I’ve found a lot of interesting blogs and some fellow tweeters that way. Yeah, if you don’t leave your link, I will click on your profile and find it, but not everyone will.

Don’t let Twitter take over your life. Seriously. You don’t have to spend all day on Twitter. Either pop on a few times a day and tweet. Or pop on whenever you have something to tweet, such as while you’re visiting blogs. Do not become a Twitter slave.

Offer something valuable. Yes, your book is valuable and Twitter can be a good way to drive people to your blog, website or book. But doing only that can be boring and a turn-off. What else can you tweet about? Friends, movies, other people’s books and blogs, advice, contests, free giveaways you know about, funny videos. Whatever tickles your fancy will probably tickle other fancies as well.

If you make strategic use of it, Twitter can be a great tool to market yourself and your books, to make cyber friends, to find out new things, ideas, and friends, and to practice writing concisely.

Leave a comment and tweet me sometime.
http://twitter.com/MermaidHel

29 comments:

  1. Good post on Twitter. One thing I would add is that it's really good not to ignore people who directly try to engage you. I love the people that reply to stuff I tweet and I try and make sure I reply to everyone that talks to me direct.

    And sometimes it's very cool to follow folks you wouldn't normally think you would find interesting because you can learn new things and gain new perspectives.

    Thanks for a great blog as usual, Helen.

    Wyatt's Writing

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  2. Tweeting doesn't work for me. I just don't have time to tweet and retweet that many times a day.

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  3. Good twitter advice. I've paid attention to where my blog followers and visitors come from and Twitter activity has upped the traffic by at least 30% over the past 5-6 months. I also added just recently a "Twit This" button as a permanent part of my "new post" template. If people read my post and want to share it with other twitter pals they can just click on the button and tweet it loud from the mountaintop. Pretty cool.

    I agree, too - you have to have balance. Too much twitters can give you the jitters.

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  4. Hi Wyatt, I don't stay on Twitter long. I usually zip on and click off several times a day. I've learned to go directly to my Direct Messages or @replies first. If someone has sent me a note at one of those, I answer. Even if it's been a while since they sent it. If it has been a while, I make sure they know what I'm talking about in the reply, either with a quote of what they said or by referencing the subject matter. I started doing that after I would get replies to my replies and so many hours had passed that I hadn't a clue what they were talking about!

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  5. Good for you, Brooke. It's not for everyone. You have to know your limitations and know what works for you. I, for example, have no desire to go on MySpace or Facebook -- at this time, anyway.

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  6. Can you tell if anyone is using the Twit This button, Marvin?

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  7. Thanks for the great post about twitter. I'm one of those that was struggling to figure out what I needed to do to make it work. Your comments really help.

    Katie Hines
    http://katiehines.blogspot.com

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  8. You're welcome Katie. Any time you want to practice your @replies or DMs, just try them out on me!

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  9. Thanks for the suggestions, Ginger. I guess I should set an alarm to go off and remind me to Twitter.

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  10. Chester, I have a feeling that you are a very organized person. Don't let it get too stressful, though. If it's not fun and productive for you, find something that is.

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  11. I'm still working it and appreciate the tips! Unfortuately, I end up with long stretches where I can't check it. Yesterday I tweeted I was heading out to do a seminar and I dodn't get back to it until this afternoon, so a bit of time had passed.
    I've heard so many they've booked interviews and reviews through Twitter and I'd sure as heck like to know how!
    Thanks, Helen!

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  12. I like saying Twit. Sounds funnier kind of like nit wit. Twitter can become an obsession and I think when it does, it defeats the point of it.

    I twit about anything and everything. and not even daily, Just when there's something to say. I just like the sound of twit better than tweet. Personal preference I guess. :)

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  13. I love using Twitter. I can get in and post and get out again, or if I want, I can read what the others are twitting. Lots better than waiting for all those ads to come up first.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://twitter.com/morganmandel

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  14. Thanks for the good Twitter tips, Hel. I had some doubts when I started using it, but it's becoming a more familiar tool.

    Bob Sanchez
    http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com

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  15. I've not tried that, Diane. But I have seen people tweet about seminars or talks they're doing and then tweet later to say thanks to someone who told them about some conference that needed speakers.

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  16. I've seen people use twit and tweet. I started using tweet because it sounded like a bird and the bird seems to be the mascot of Twitter. But, logically, twit fits with Twitter.

    Ah, who knows! Is there an official word?

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  17. Morgan and Bob - I like Twitter, too. I get so bogged down in other stuff, though, that I don't use it as often as I should. But I do try to go on a couple of times a day. If I have a lot of time (ha), I'll visit other blogs, then tweet or twit their URl then move onto another blog on my list, etc.

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  18. Thanks for the helpful hints, Helen. I'm putting them to use already!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton
    http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/
    https://twitter.com/janesutton/

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  19. I'm afraid.

    After I get the courage, I'll come back and read this again.

    Thanks for the wonderful info!

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  20. Thanks for sharing the tips, Helen. I posted a tweet (twit) whatever with a link here. I want to keep up with it and check out people's links, but it's just too time consuming to do all the time. It's a great way to meet people and share about your blogs and books too.

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  21. I'm a Twitter ADDICT! This is a great post, Helen - thanks.

    I have a post in my archives with a list of Twitter resources (under top 10s), and I'll be posting another one tomorrow (2/12) with other resources, for those who are interested in expanding their Twitter experience.

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  22. Oh -- and a super-cool thing is to be able to Tweet from your cell phone. Then you can Tweet while waiting in line, etc... :-D

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  23. Hi Jane, I'll see you on Twitter. Thanks for leaving your twitter address so others can find you!

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  24. You can do it, Hank. And when you do, stop by again and leave your twitter address. It's not hard, but it can become addictive. Can't it, Christine? I'm gonna look for your archives. I would tweet/twit from my phone, but it's so old I don't have Internet access.

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  25. Enjoyed your blog. Good tips.

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  26. Helen,
    So far I've resisted Twitter. It just doesn't appeal to me to even try it though so many people seem to love it.

    I think I'm too compulsive—it would be too hard to stop because I wouldn't want to miss anything. It's easier to miss everything. :-)

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  27. Hi Colleen, so glad you stopped by!

    Lillie, you are so right. I have a tendency that way as well. It actually takes a lot of discipline/will power sometimes to sign off. That sounds nuts, but ... I think one way to handle it, although I haven't had to resort to this yet, is to set a timer.

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  28. Hi, Helen. One of the tips I like to share with folks new to Twitter is the power of combining Twitter search results with their newsreader via RSS. If you do a Twitter search you can copy the RSS of that search and add it to your newsreader. Then you never miss a tweet on a given subject or by a given person.

    I make sure I don't miss tweets from people I actually know this way, and on search terms like "literary agent" or "writing contest". Works great.
    ~jon
    http://twitter.com/jmstro

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  29. Jon, I rather hate to admit this, but that was like you were talking Greek to me. I got the Twitter Search part, but got lost here: "you can copy the RSS of that search and add it to your newsreader."

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