If Twitter for Authors – Part 1: Why Authors Should Tweet convinced you of the benefits to tweeting, this article contains all of the how-to. If the idea of making a Twitter account overwhelms you, take a breath and go to https://twitter.com/. Click sign-up, and follow the prompts. If you’re ever lost, the Help Center is an easy-to-use resource. Choose a username that fans will recognize – if you write under a pseudonym, use it.
After signing up, before you do anything else, customize your page with a profile picture, header picture, and short bio. These are the only static elements of your page, so make them count. The bio is a mere 160 character opportunity to convince people to click “follow” – so it needs to be both informative and catchy. They need to know who you are, as well as why following you will add value to their days. Read more tips for creating an unforgettable Twitter bio (link to other article). With your profile picture, header, and bio, try to be professional and appropriate without being boring, stuffy, or clichéd.
Once you’ve uploaded pictures, written a bio, and added a link to your blog or website, the next step is to start following people. You can start finding people by typing in the names of friends, family, celebrities, authors, books, topics, publications, publishers, etc. You can also upload contact lists from your email account. Last but not least, post about your new Twitter account on Facebook, your blog, and other social sites. If you have a blog, add a link to your Twitter account on the sidebar of the webpage. If you need help, try searching the web for “adding a twitter feed to ___” filling it in with the server you’re using (i.e. WordPress, Joomla, Blogger, etc.).
Okay, so you’ve started following some people, but how do you “tweet”? And what’s with all the # symbols floating around? To compose a message, follow these instructions. The main difference between Twitter and other sites is that a tweet can only be 140 characters. Composing tweets is a fun (and sometimes frustrating) exercise in conciseness. Cut the excess information, and write a short message, add a hashtag and/or link, and you’re good to go!
A hashtag is the # symbol followed by a word or string of words (with no spaces between them). They categorize tweets by keywords, allowing you to browse topics and profiles that you probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. Read more tips on using hashtags.
Now you know how to post, but what should you post? You certainly shouldn’t only post self-promotional content. Below are a few tips for keeping your followers interested and engaged:
- Promote upcoming events, releases, sales, and any other directly pertinent information you want people to know about.
- Share helpful links that will add to your followers’ Twitter experience. Did you come across an interesting article? Tweet a short excerpt and a link to it. Did you take a beautiful photo that can be related to your book or its topic? Post it with a short thought and a hashtag.
- A retweet (link: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169873-retweeting-another-tweet) is a tweet that you forward to your followers. Think of it as “sharing” a post on Facebook or forwarding an email to a friend.
- Interact with your followers. Reply to mentions and thank new followers for finding you. Also, reply to tweets unrelated to you that people you follow post – join the conversation and get involved.
- Consider creating your own unique hashtag for you and/or your book. Then, your followers can use that hashtag when talking about your book, allowing others to get linked back to you and your profile.
These are just a few tips to help you get started on Twitter. If you get stuck, try typing your issue in the Help Center or a search engine – or ask someone you know to help you out. Social media marketing can be overwhelming, but it can also be fun and effective after the initial hard work of setting up the accounts and making connections. Push through and reap the benefits, authors!
Want to know more about writing a creative, memorable bio? TIPS for Creating an Unforgettable Twitter Bio will be posted soon!