Monday, May 13, 2013

Answering Your Questions About Twitter Part 1

Only one thing is certain in the day and times that we live in. And that is the fact that we live in changing times.

Years ago a writer… wrote. The battle cry of the day was BIC (keep your butt in the chair and write).

But after the book is written—what then? Multitudes of books are published every year. How can your readers—the people who love to read the type of book you write—how can they find you?

That is where marketing comes in. And this series of posts will focus on twitter.

First twitter is not as scary as it may first seem. In fact it is best to get an account long before you need one and get comfortable with it.

When you first click on you get the message: Welcome to Twitter.
Find out what’s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.

To sign up you give your full name and your email address and you are taken to a form that lets you choose a password and a username. Your username will have @ added to the front of it and that is your twitter handle. Please remember this as it is important.

Oh, you have already forgotten it? And people are asking you to share it so they can follow you? Well here is how you find it. Log into your twitter account. Your full name will come up and under it the words View my profile page. Click on this and viola:  Your twitter handle @yourusername is posted right under your Photo and your Full name. Also the Http to find this page (to share with those who would like to follow you is in the web bar at the top just under the tabs in your internet toolbar of choice.)

Whenever you post something your Name and twitter handle (@yourusername) is shown above your twitter message. If you post things that others find useful or interesting they will re-tweet them. Your @yourusernamename will be used. This is helpful because twitter sends you a message and you can then thank the other person for sharing your tweet.

Please don't forget that Twitter is for Social Networking first. In fact if all you do use twitter for is to market your work—you will lose followers. So the first order of business is to tweet useful information.  80% of your post should be giving. Only 20% or less should be outright marketing.

And the beautiful thing I learned early on is that twitter considers RT’s as tweets. I learned this when I went crazy retweeting. If you tweet too many times in an hour Twitter sends you a message to slow down. And your tweets don’t post until some time has passed.

Last week we asked for questions about twitter and I will answer one of them before signing off on part one.

Q. What are hashtags used for and how do you find the best ones to use?

A. That is a very good question and there is more than one answer. And I can only tell you what has worked for me.

If you only have a handful of followers, which is true of anyone starting out, how do you spread your message? With a hashtag. Many tweeters follow hashtags.

Those who are willing to retweet and share your message are called twitter angels. If you belong to a group that has agreed to retweet each other, use the proper hashtag when you want that groups attention. By trial and error I have learned which groups do indeed follow through.

Q. If you want to use a special tweet to show the type or category of the tweet—how to you know what to use?

The most important tip is to use the fewest characters possible. Most groups use the initials of their group so that their members have plenty of characters remaining to use for the message.

Another consideration is to use a tag that is already followed by others. For instance many are posting one line of their novel. For this use the hashtag #novellines.

One example I will share here for published authors. @BookYrNextRead will retweet one message daily about your book. This is a true twitter angel. Now their twitter handle is 15 characters. But like a true angel this hashtag is provided #BYNR. Only five characters. Like I said, a true angel.

Having said that shorter is better—WHY do I use the tag #RelationshipwithJesus when it is much shorter to use  #God #Jesus #jesustweeters #Christian and many others that have already been created by others?

In this case it is because of my Mission Statement. Which I have yet to put into actual words. (Another blogging topic) But every Christian Writer needs a mission statement. And mine is based on the fact that it is not enough to call ourselves a Christian. It is not enough to go to church regularly. It is not enough to be baptized, or hold membership in a Christian group. NO—the only thing that will last through out all eternity is a Relationship With Jesus. So even though it takes 22 characters I aim to use use #RelationshipwithJesus 12 times a day on one twitter account and 8 times a day on the other. And I aim to do this before I post one marketing tweet. So I use a scheduler.

Writers are starting to say Sharon A. Lavy has a grip on how to use twitter. And at our recent ACFWOhio chapter meeting the attendees asked for more information. Which led to a suggestion that we write and post a series of blog posts on the subject to help other writers. Leave comments below on things you would like to know about twitter and we will try to address them in a future post!


Carol Ann said...

Thanks for the great info, Sharon!

Caroline said...

Thks, Sharon, for the info. Even tho I've started Tweeting, I've got a long ways to go before I feel comfortable about it all.

If this is a legit question: how do we find useful stuff like groups n things? Is trial & error the best way? Keeping our ears peeled (altho I haven't heard much; either that or I haven't paid attention!)?

Again, thks for the posts. Look forward to more.