Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.
You inch into the water when swimming, first a toe, then a foot. Finally you’re up to your knees. You take a deep breath. You consider diving in. You take another step forward instead. You’re just not sure you want to commit. This is the way some folks approach Twitter.
While I’m still learning the ins and outs of Twitter, myself, I can give you the benefit of my own experience to help you decide whether to immerse yourself in those waters:
- Follow other people’s lists. Would you like to know a list of agents Rachelle Gardner thinks are important? How about mentors Michael Hyatt considers worthy of inclusion in a list? Or Nathan Bransford’s publishing people? You can. Subscribe to lists by some of publishing’s top thinkers and listen to them talk to one another.
- Participate in hashtag conversations, which are simply groups of people carrying on a specific conversation. These change over time, but some current hashtags available to writers are #pubtips, #amwriting and #askagent. Type these terms in the Search box on your Twitter home page and join the conversation! Just remember to put the hashtag reference in your own tweet so others can read it, whether they follow you or not. To search for popular hashtags in subjects of your choice, go the http://www.hashtag.org/.
- Advertise your blog posts, using Twitter to draw readers to your site.
- Retweet (RT) interesting tweets. This provides interesting content for your followers, gains the attention of the person you retweet, and can result in new followers.
- Reply to others you’d like to get to know. Don’t wait for them to approach you. If you want to have friends, be a friend.
- Recommend your favorite tweeters to your followers on #followfriday (also known as #FF) and #writerwednesday (#WW).
- Thank others who retweet or mention you. If you feel it’s warranted, reciprocate.
- Be consistent. You don’t have to chain yourself to Twitter or even tweet every day, but you should check in every couple of days. For ways to manage your involvement with Twitter, click here.
- Sign up for accounts in Twitter applications. This will put your bio online. Often, you can enter an extended bio with links. I just updated my http://twellow.com listing with an extended bio and will visit soon to add more links. With Twellow, which bills itself as a Twitter Yellow Pages, you can add yourself to categories other people search. http://socialoomph.com offers an extended bio, too. Familiarize yourself with Twitter applications, but search the internet for warnings others might have posted before you give out your Twitter password to any application.
Remember, as you engage in Twitter, to select those you follow with care. Here’s my criterion for the people I follow:
- no mention of the word “money” in their bios.
- an actual profile picture rather than the default Twitter icon.
- A completed and informative bio.
- no nudity
- no profanity.
Besides these guidelines, I don’t follow people if I’m not interested in what they have to say. Although I’m sure there are those fascinated with race car driving, for example, I’m not one of them.
You can wade into the Twitter stream an inch at a time, but why not just take the plunge? Go ahead. Jump in!
The water’s fine.
I’ve listed just a few of the many ways you can use Twitter. Give my ideas a try, and brainstorm for ideas of your own.
Next time we’ll discuss Facebook.
Have any suggestions for Twitter strategies?
Janalyn Voigt writes novel books.
DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.
Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008. Visit her website.