Friday, August 4, 2017

Building Your Writing Platform: 13 Tips for Winning at Twitter

Ah, twitter. The fast-paced social media that requires one to be clever enough to create and post clever content that will been noticed among thousands of other tweets....Oh. And you have to do all this in 140 characters. Want to sign up?

Yes. Yes, you do.

Believe it or not, twitter is one of the best places to connect with other authors on a personal level. And personal connection is one of the best ways to gain valuable followers who will read your material, share it, and help you succeed.

So yes, you should get on twitter. But you're going to need some help. Allow me to show you the ways of the Little Blue Bird.

Below are 13 tips to help you learn to use twitter in a way that will further your writing platform. First, you may find it helpful to read this post on how to build a successful writer's platform. Got it? Okay. Let's roll:
Building Your Writing Platform: 13 Tips for Winning at Twitter - Thing you need to be doing (and absolutely need to NOT be doing) to succeed on twitter
1. Start now. It's never too early to start working on your platform. It doesn't matter if your book is still in the outlining phase. The sooner you get onto social media, the sooner you can build connections. It's easier to make friends now versus hopping on social media after you have a book, then chasing after strangers screaming: "Read my book!" However, if you've already published and aren't on twitter: That's okay. The below tips will help you market without scaring people away.

2. Write a good bio. Do NOT leave it blank. Do use all available space. Do NOT use a random quote. Do write something eye-catching that fits the mood of your tweets and explains who you are and what you do. Do NOT advertise your book or website in the bio. There are other places to do that....See tip 7. Do feel free to list off your interests. Do NOT write the bio in third-person. That's impersonal and outdated.

3. Decide what to tweet about. Here are some common (and good) things to tweet about: Articles about writing, social media marketing tips, book recommendations, your recent writing adventures. Now personalize based off-of who you are. Me? I'm nerdy and sarcastic, so I'll occasionally tweet about movies or make some jokes.

4. Stay on topic. You're building a writing platform, okay? A. Writing. Platform. Which means you shouldn't flood your feed with cat pictures....Unless you're writing a book about cats, in which case: A bit is fine, but please diversify. It also means you shouldn't be raving about politics, trolling actors you don't like, or tweeting only quotes by Ghandi. Yes, I have seen all of these. Yes, I do unfollow people who do this and so do lots of other twitter-ers. Good luck connecting with people if you aren't tweeting about what your bio has suggested you'll be tweeting about.

5. Be personal. "What? You just said to stay on topic!" *screams and splashes water at you* I know what I said! Listen to what I'm saying now: While you do need to stay on topic, you also don't want to come across as a robot. Tell people about interesting things you're doing, tweet about crazy family stories, make some jokes. Yes, it's best if they are writing-related, but sometimes it's okay to break out of that. You don't want to be too on topic and you don't want to be too off-topic. There's a grey area, and that's where you operate.

6. Don't auto-DM. You don't want to be doing that, mate. Some people will automatically unfollow you. Others, like myself, never respond or engage with auto DMs. You are on twitter to interact with people, not slam them with sales propositions.

7. Auto-advertise your website and book politely. How do you do that without DMs? By linking your website/blog beneath (not in) your bio and pinning a tweet about your book to your profile. Like so:
Note: Don't be like me and have an old promo tweet pinned to your profile. Be not-lazy and pin a new one every once in a while.
See? So easy. And not annoying. Also, feel free to create a banner image that promotes your books, blog, or writing in general. That's also easy and not annoying. 

8. Don't be egocentric. Your tweets shouldn't all be about you. Your book, your blog articles, your pictures, your cat. Retweet occasionally. Share other people's blog posts and books. Respond to other people's tweets. Tweet out questions to engage and get to know your followers. At least 50% of your content should be about somebody that isn't you. You know how people always avoid that one person who just won't stop talking about themselves? That aversion doesn't just magically go away on social media. If anything, it gets worse. Share. Be nice like that. 

9. Share original content. ORIGINAL. This means no mass retweeting...That's a good way to divert people away from your stream and into somebody else's. Why would they follow you when they could follow the original? This also means no sharing massive amounts of quotes. People want to get to know you, not the dead people who's words you're tweeting non-stop. Share original content direct from your mind or somebody's blog. No, this doesn't mean you can't sometimes retweet or share some quotes. Just don't solely rely on those things.

10. Go say hello to other writers. Don't just follow them. Respond to their tweets. Be encouraging. Be helpful. Make sure they know you exist by interacting with them, sharing their content, tagging them when you tweet about their books or blog posts. Your ultimate goal is to connect with people, make friends, and gain a loyal following. Like mine:

It's called having epic, loving followers. Or, you know, a cult following who will one day take over the world. Whatever you want to call it.

11. Use hashtags. And use them correctly. As in, don't use more than two or three per tweet. And don't be passive about it, either. Use them in your tweets, but also pop them into the search bar to find other writers with similar taste. Here are some good hashtags to help you get started:

  • #amwriting
  • #writingtips
  • #writetip
  • #writerslife
  • #amreading 
  • #amediting
  • Pretty much any hashtag on this list.
  • #ChatWithHannah *winks* *nudges* *shoves towards Youtube channel* Subtlety has never been my strong point. 
12. Post frequently. Every day, absolutely. Two tweets per day at least. Five is good. But you can do more and it'll be fine. Twitter, unlike other social medias, requires more frequency because of the fast-paced style. You tweet something and it'll be gone from a person's feed very quickly, so they may not see it. Use tweet schedulers if you have to....I like Hootsuite, but there are many other good ones. 

13. Don't be nervous. Twitter can be a bit intimidating at first, but keep at it. Don't worry about messing up. It gets easier and more fun, I promise. Try to keep twitter more about connecting with others and less about stressing out over marketing. You'll do fine. 

And there you have it. If you're new to twitter, about to join twitter, or need help on twitter, just send me a tweet: @_HannahHeath. I'd be happy to connect with you and will absolutely introduce you to other cool authors and help you get oriented. 

Have questions or comments? Leave them below! 

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  1. This came at a perfect time for me! I have an Instagram, but honestly it's not really working for me. I think Twitter might be a better platform for me, personally. I'm kind of on the fence still, but thank you for the article! 😊

    1. I've always wanted to try Instagram. It looks fun, but I feel like at some point I'd run out of things to take pictures of. :)

      If you do end up getting a Twitter account, please drop by and say hello to me on there! I'd be excited for you to join. Thanks for the comment!

    2. That's kind of my problem. 😁 I will almost certainly follow you if I make an account.

  2. Again with the article I need, exactly when I need it. I think you're my new hero! And maybe psychic. Or magical. Or something.

    Either way, THANK YOU! \(>v<)/

    1. Yes, I have special powers. This may be either a result of my Hogwarts education or the fact that my midichlorian count is very high. =D

      Anyway, I'm so happy this helped you out! I saw that you're on twitter and you're doing great! *high five* You got this.

  3. Thank you for posting this guide! I've been on Twitter for a few years and never really became a whiz. I think the main thing I took from this was encouragement to keep trying — so thanks for that — and to tweet regularly :) Signed up for a scheduler, great tip! Let me just add that I love your blog's humorous writing style <3

    1. The scheduler has been a life saver for me, especially with work and college, so I was happy to be able to mention it.

      Thank you for the sweet comment! I'm so glad that you've been enjoying my writing style! I really enjoy doing this blog.

  4. Your practical, do-able tips are much appreciated, Hannah I see Twitter's value, but it is my least fave soc me platform. Thanks for helping me dislike it less .

    1. My pleasure, Cat! Twitter is one of those platforms that most people either really like or really don't, so I'm happy to help you dislike it a little less. =)

  5. I've been thinking of ways to build my writing platform...I might just get a Twitter! Thanks for these tips! ^_^

    1. Yay! If you do join, please send me a tweet and say hello! I'd love to follow you back.

  6. Thank you for this. I'm on Twitter in the most technical sense - and I don't that can't be of any use to me. I need to tweet and I need to engage.

  7. I find twitter to be as awkward as a real face to face interaction. I picture someone on the other end saying, "OMG, why is this LOSER replying to my tweet?"

    I think I need some work on my self-esteem. Also, something to tweet about other than watching TV. That's really all I need to do....

  8. Thanks for the information about Tips for Winning at Twitter and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative!
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