Last month we discussed two strategies that work for writers on Twitter. #1. Be a person. #2. Connect with other people.
Of course those two goals are easier said than done. You’ll see so many writers tweeting links to their Facebook pages, their Amazon links, and every single review that mentions a positive word about their work that it will be tempting to follow suit.
Listen, it’s absolutely expected that writers will tweet about their books, blog posts, reviews, and so on, but those tweets will go unread if they’re not mixed in with other information. The people of Twitter will simply tune you out.
Resist the urge to treat Twitter like a bulletin board. While there is absolutely more than one way to manage the Twitter angle of your career, I can guarantee one way that fails, and that’s the hard-sell marketing tweets. Nobody logs onto Twitter hoping to get bombarded by advertisements. Nobody. So, if you’re not supposed to go on and on about your book, your blog, and your free chapter on Smashwords, then what on Earth are you supposed to say in those 140 characters?
GOOD IDEAS FOR TWEETS
Tweet somebody else’s good article with a description of the content.
— Nichole Bernier (@NicholeBernier) October 24, 2012
Retweet somebody’s entire tweet. It still helps to add a comment before or after to further advocate its repetition in the Twitter stream.
— Alex George (@AlexGeorge) October 19, 2012
This is going to be the month I finish all the books I have recklessly started. Do you ever go on book-finishing binges?
— Lydia Netzer (@lostcheerio) November 2, 2012
Pass on helpful information to other writers.
— Erika Robuck (@ErikaRobuck) November 5, 2012
Daily life can provide good fodder for tweets if stated in a witty or creative way. It’s the “me too” factor of making connections. Still, sometimes being yourself isn’t enough and you have to turn up the personality a notch to make something interesting on Twitter. Think of those 140 characters as a miniature writing challenge. How can you turn a mundane topic into a few lines worth a reader’s time?
Have some fun like novelist Eleanor Brown did on election night.
Yes, you will tweet about your book. There are more graceful ways to discuss your work than “Buy My Book.”
It’s also a good idea to respond to other people’s tweets. (Like all those tweets with questions.) This is a great way to get to know someone on Twitter.
BAD IDEAS FOR TWEETS
-Constant links to your Amazon and Facebook pages.
-Tweets about Klout. If you gave +K, or received +K, I promise you that nobody cares except (maybe) the one person that tweet concerns. You have more than one follower. Keep that in mind.
-Tweets from Foursquare. You’re at the gym. You’re at Starbucks. You’re at Whole Foods. You know where your followers are? At their computers with their fingers hovering over the unfollow button.
-I would urge against retweeting from news sources repeatedly throughout the day. If your followers want to follow MSNBC, they will.
-Facebook updates that stop mid-sentence on Twitter and lead to your Facebook page are okay once in a while. But every tweet? No. People on Twitter do not want to click a link to read the end of a tweet. Twitter and Facebook are different animals. Keep them separate.
For a funny and helpful post about the different ways to retweet, I recommend Annie Neugebauer’s post, “What the Way you Retweet Says About You.”
Writer Unboxed readers and tweeters: What are your thoughts on the good, bad, and ugly on Twitter? What works? What irks?
Photo by Slava Baranskyi via Flickr