While it’s true this guidance for Twitter users applies to everyone, I’m focusing on authors here since the series of posts is affectionately titled “Novice to Novelist.” I also realize that some of these Author Twitter Tips might hit close to home to many who are reading this. Please understand this is not a personal attack on anyone. I am simply giving you my opinion based on experience.
Too Much Automation and Not Enough Interaction
I get it. We’re all busy. Many of us work full-time jobs in addition to doing this writing thing. But if I glance at your timeline and see that ninety-nine percent of your tweets are the same one promoting your book over and over again, you’re Twitter-ing wrong and I have no need or interest in following you. It’s imperative that you spend some time grooming your Twitter identity to get it to “work” for you. That means you have to actually interact with people and their tweets. If all you’re doing is plugging yourself – I guarantee Twitter is not working for you the way it could or should.
When Someone Retweets Your Pinned Tweet, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RETURN THE FAVOR AND RETWEET THEIR PINNED TWEET
If you’re not spending enough time being a real person on Twitter (see above) you’re probably missing this opportunity to reciprocate some good karma. When someone retweets a tweet of yours, especially your pinned tweet, you need to do the same for them (assuming they have a pinned tweet.) If they don’t have one, maybe retweet a tweet of theirs that you think your followers will enjoy or get creative and at least reply to one of their tweets. You’ve got to do something. This is where the interaction begins on Twitter. Come on – you can do it!
BONUS TIP – If you don’t already have one, designate a Pinned Tweet now.
Do Retweet – Don’t Like
I realize some people prefer to simply click the “Like” button (the heart icon) to let another tweeter know you agree with or appreciate something they tweeted. But there’s really no value to using the “Like” button other than to communicate with someone. So why not actually communicate with them and reply to their tweet with a comment instead? The bottom line is, you’re not helping anyone (including yourself) unless you’re engaging with others and retweeting some of their tweets. Remember, when you retweet something you’re exposing the tweet to your followers, thus, helping out the original tweet composer. Clicking “Like” does not have the same effect.
FULL DISCLOSURE – I still click the “Like” button. But most of the time it’s to say thanks or to acknowledge someone’s thank you tweet. It’s almost always something short and simple that no one else would care to see as a retweet in their feed. Links, pics, and intriguing tweets should always be retweeted.
Beware of SPAM/JUNK/BOGUS Followers (5000 followers, 6 tweets)
While one could argue it’s a good practice to follow back everyone who follows you, these days it’s also important to keep an eye out for Bot Accounts. Don’t ask me why they exist because that would be another blog post on its own. But most of the time the fake accounts are painfully obvious to spot. Look for bios that are vague, have loads of followers and only 14 tweets, and/or have a good looking lady for a profile pic – one that seems out of place. That’s not to say you can’t be a good looking lady and be a real person on Twitter. It’s just that sometimes an eye-catching photograph is used as a hook to gain followers by bogus Twitter accounts. You can also sometimes get a good idea by skimming their tweets. There are a lot of Bot Accounts out there. Knowing who’s who and what’s what is not something you’ll become an expert at overnight. You’ll make some harmless mistakes – no big deal. Experience is the best way to learn. Just keep an eye out for suspicious looking accounts that follow you.
Make Your Bio (and Tweets) Readable
Don’t use 700 hashtags and/or a bunch of emoticons in your profile bio. It’s difficult to read and unappealing. I mean, if your objective is to win the flashiest looking profile award…by all means, have at it. But if you’re trying to pickup more followers and grow the influence of your Twitter account, this is probably not the best practice. Keep your bio simple and direct. Tell people who you are, what you do, and what you like. The emoticons are a turn-off and, despite the advice of some, adding hashtags to your profile bio screams “AMATEUR” and is not effective.
BONUS TIP – Using the phrases “Retweets are not endorsements” and/or “Tweets are my own” is a waste of space. Pardon my bluntness but – no one cares. Suffice it to say, these statements have never made a lick of difference in any situation throughout the history of Twitter.
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