What the heck?
I’ll be honest. When I first looked at twitter I thought this seemed worthless for anything practical. I saw a stream of updates like “at the mall”, “just watched gunsmoke”, “do you think Obama is good looking”, etc. How could this ever be useful for networking, marketing, etc? So I ignored it. Then it kept growing and many authors I knew were “tweeting”. “Really,” I thought. What does one tweet about?
Like anything else, the answer is your tweets must be consistent with the brand you are building. So if you are a book editor, you tweet about interesting articles related to editing, your services, latest edited book, and so on. If you are a musician, you tweet about gigs you’ve played, local clubs and their crowds, latest artist news – you get the idea. You might want to even have multiple twitter accounts for the different brands you have – for example you might have a personal account where you are updating friends and family and a professional account for your business brand. That way folks who are following you professionally aren’t confused by your tweet about the baby’s diaper rash.
How and where to start
As I mention above, decide what your brand or brands will be and open the appropriate accounts on twitter. But what now? You’ve got an account but how to connect.
So now it’s time to starting following others and inviting folks to follow you. The best place to start is your email account which Twitter can pull your contacts from. However, if you are looking to connect professionally as an author, there are a number of sites on the Internet that will help you connect with potential twitter friends. Instead of listing the gazillion options for this. I’m going to list two I’ve found useful (please feel free to comment on this post to add your own).
This is a site where you add your twitter info to the directory related to your genre/brand. If you click on the JustTweetIt bird it will link you directly to the writers/authors page. Check out all of the wonderful writers and authors and follow some. To add yourself, click the “hey, click your name to add it to the directory” blue text icon at the left hand part of the page near the top. Give it some time as this is a long site full of folks to follow.
Mr. Tweet is great. This site will analyze who you are following, who is following you, let you make recommendations, etc. It updates every couple of weeks and let’s you know what changes it thinks you should make. Not everything is perfect, but it is a good site to help you wade through the huge twitter universe of users (again, click on the graphic to go there!).
For me, what you get on the twitter site makes it less than ideal to manage twitter. The constant stream of information (especially if you’ve missed twitter for a couple for hours, makes it hard to find tweets of interest). Therefore, here are two recommendations I have:
Download this desktop program as quick as you can. This is great. You can create multiple columns to track whatever you like (specific people, groups, your posts, replies, etc.). Also, this application shortens URLs so that you can put all sorts of links and not use up precious character counts. The display makes it super easy to reply and retweet as well. You’ve love it.
If you like to track tweets on your mobile, try tiny twitter. It’s fast and simple and has a good interface. However, happy to hear of other apps that work well on mobiles. Let me know.
Retweet – The Key To Word of Mouth Success
Make sure to interact with your followers and support their tweets to keep your followers! So now whenever you post, all your followers are informed and hopefully interested and engaged in what you have to say. Maybe you’ve led them to a wonderful URL that they’ll appreciate and use. But the real power of twitter is the potential for “the viral effect”.
Einstein is quoted as having said that the most powerful force in the universe is compounded interest. Well, the viral effect on twitter is exactly that. If you have 200 followers and you send out a tweet, 200 followers see it. But, if they retweet it to their followers – watch out!
Let’s say each of them has 10 followers. If they all “retweet” your post – now it has reached 2200 people. And what if each of those people retweet it to their 5 friends each. Now you are well over 10,000 people seeing your little tweet sending them to some URL, product, or whatever.
Starting to see the practical application of Twitter now?
How do you get folks to retweet? Well, write good content and ask! Taking my own advice. Please tweet and retweet this blog article as much as possible (assuming you like it)!
How does one Retweet (RT)
If you are using TweetDeck or most desktop Twitter apps there is usually a retweet option. Otherwise, if you are using twitter off of their homepage, copy the original tweet, then paste it into your “What are you doing” tweetbox at the top of the page. With the original message in your tweetbox, insert the cursor before the first character in the original tweet and type “RT @” then click on the “update” command button.
Good luck and happy tweeting!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the related post on when to tweet! Take the poll: Click Here