Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM - Mar 2014 - Twitter pt 2

It's that wonderful time again, the time for Insecure Writer's Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you'd like to join, click here


It's a simple process: 


"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post." 


Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for today are Tina Downey, Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman, and Julie Flanders! Please stop by and thank them for their generous time and effort. 

Thanks!

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

 
 

Ask PZM: March 2014



Part 2: How can authors use Twitter effectively to create relationships with potential fans?  

Last month I discussed how to create an effective Twitter profile after explaining that Twitter is a free social media site in which people send out tweets with a maximum of 140 characters, and people on Twitter can follow anyone without asking permission (except for the few people who lock their tweets, which as authors we do not want to do).

I also said that as authors we want to be public on Twitter, sharing information about ourselves, other authors, topics related to our nonfiction or fiction books, and other well-worded tweets (no vulgarities, please) that might encourage people to be interested in us and, by extension, our books.


Okay, I’m going to assume that you now have an effective Twitter profile with a good photo and a well-written bio.

What’s next?

If you already have lots of followers, that’s good.  If you don’t, use the search field on Twitter to find people interested in books, the topics of your books, and other related information. 

For example, put ebooks in the search field and you’ll be provided a list of tweets mentioning ebooks.   Click on the Twitter username of each of those tweets and see if you are interested in following that person on Twitter.

Now there is no guarantee that a person you follow on Twitter will follow you back (especially if that person is famous).  But there is a good chance the person will follow you back if the information you share is related to the information that person shares.




By using different search terms related to your interests, you can start to grow a following.

And meanwhile, the name of the game on Twitter is sharing other people’s information rather than only tweeting about yourself and your own books.



When you look at the tweets that come up following a search, check if there are any tweets that you want to retweet.  (Note that you do not have to be following someone to retweet that person’s tweet.)  Simply hover over the bottom of a tweet to get the RETWEET button and click.

If someone retweets one of your tweets, you can thank that person.  But just tweeting “thank you” doesn’t mean a lot to people following your tweets.  I like to do this kind of thank you tweet that references the tweet and the link in the tweet:

Thx @BonnieBLatino 4 RT: Read sci fi work-in-progress THE MOTHER SIEGE on @Wattpad at budurl.com/MSintro




Does every tweet have to have a link?

Of course not.  But sharing links on Twitter is an important activity.

For example, I stay signed into my Twitter account so that, when I read an article online that has the Twitter share button, I can quickly tweet the article title and its link to my Twitter followers.

Although many people offer a formula of what percentage of your tweets should be self-promoting, I don’t have a percentage to offer.  I think using commonsense is a good rule of thumb.



And one great opportunity for authors on Twitter is sharing the tweets of other book authors.  As an author it is very satisfying to share the books of other authors with your own Twitter followers.

Again, there is no guarantee that, if you retweet author A’s tweet about her book, she’ll RT a tweet about your book.  But I do believe that putting out goodwill into the universe can benefit you. 
If you have a nonfiction book – or a fiction book with nonfiction subject matter – you have numerous opportunities to share information from others that relates to your book topic.  





What about the question of automatic follow back?

While this decision is up to you, I personally do not automatically follow back someone who follows me.  I click on that person’s Twitter username and quickly read his or her bio.  Sometimes I then click follow, and sometimes I don’t.

The reason I don’t always follow back has much to do with keeping my following and followers figures in reasonable balance.  In the past at certain points Twitter has prevented me from following any more people until my followers number catches up to a reasonable balance with my following numbers.


While there are other options on Twitter, such as following trends, the most important activity is sharing information that may be of interest to your followers.

And as authors, I know you’ll understand when I recommend you stay on the spine of the “story” you’re sharing on Twitter.  Thus stick to topics related to your own books and your own interests rather than tweeting all over the map on topics that will confuse your followers who expect a certain type of information from you.



Thus I stick pretty closely to tweeting about books and publishing, digital marketing and new tech options, and military topics.  Even though I like art museum exhibits, I probably wouldn’t tweet about this because it is not on the spine of what my followers expect me to share.

One very important thing about Twitter:

Don’t join if you aren’t going to tweet at least a couple of times most days of the week.  Twitter is a different animal than, say, Facebook, where it is not as relevant how often you share.

When I click through from a LinkedIn profile to a listed Twitter account and see that the person hasn’t tweeted in months, I know that person isn’t active on Twitter and I don’t waste one of my follows on that person.

To be someone of interest to follow on Twitter, you have to demonstrate active participation, and that means spending a few minutes almost each day participating on the site (whether on your computer or through a Twitter app on your smartphone).



And do remember to daily check the CONNECT option (next to the HOME button at the top of your screen) to see who has mentioned you in a tweet.  You may want to respond to that mention via Twitter.  

It’s all part of the Twitter experience.  Enjoy!

P.S.  I’m working on a new project and I’ve set up a Twitter account for this project.  At the moment that I’m writing this article I haven’t yet started following people and tweeting more than an initial tweet (always put at least one tweet on a new account) because I’m waiting for something else to be set up.  But do check out http://twitter.com/GathrBooks and click “follow.”  Especially as an author you should like what’s coming soon.


TWEET #1 - How authors can use Twitter effectively. (Click to tweet)

TWEET #2 - Should every tweet have a link? (Click to tweet)

TWEET #3 - How to share information on twitter. (Click to tweet)



Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon.  Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/






71 comments :

  1. Aaahhh!! Commas are driving me crazy right now.

    I have a Twitter account but never use it. Maybe one day I'll get back into it.

    Elsie
    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge
    co-host IWSG

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    1. Just when I think I've figured commas (and Twitter) out, I'm shaking my head at how tough they are. Thanks for visiting, Elsie!

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  2. Outside of my blog posts, I rarely Tweet my own stuff. But I am happy to Tweet news and links for others. Being a member of several Triberr tribes also helps. And I don't follow back everyone, especially if I click on that person and they follow a third or less of those who follow him.

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    1. Your take on what works and what doesn't work is how the rest of us learn, Alex. Thanks!

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  3. This is a great series. Thanks, Phyllis and Joylene. Demystifying Twitter is a big deal for a lot of people. I admit to not spending much time there. I find Facebook is a more versatile and useful place to hang out, but I do check into Twitter at least once most days. So many people I follow are big on self-promotion, which gets tiresome very quickly. I use Tweetdeck to organize and track my followers, in desired hashtag columns. Most days those are the only tweets I respond to. I realize that's not very courteous to the rest of my followers, but it's like groups with our FB friends and helps me make the most efficient use of my brief time online. Of course, I don't currently have a product to promote myself. Perhaps my priorities will change when I do. But for now, spending the majority of my available time writing is important to me, so I'm not online a lot.

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    1. Tweetdeck sounds interesting, Carol. I'm off to check it out. Hey--thanks for that!

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  4. Great info! *Making mental not to self: Get active on Twitter!*

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. BTW, I couldn't find you on line. Your google site doesn't show anything. Otherwise I'd stop in and visit if I could.

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  5. That's probably why I haven't done much with Twitter. I remember to go there maybe once a week.

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    1. It's all so overwhelming at times. Thanks for visiting, Diane.

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  6. Excellent post. I am bookmarking this and coming back to read and dissect carefully.
    I'm new to Twitter and see endless potential. Now, if the day would become longer, have more time, more hours ... that would be fantastic. :) But no one has the time, right, we must make it.
    Thanks for this.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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    1. I know what you mean, Silvia. I'm at the age -- if only my legs and back could last the little time I have in one day.

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  7. Excellent advice as per usual.
    But where do we find time for all of this??
    Btw, HAPPY WORLD READ ALOUD DAY Joylene!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Oh, Michelle, I'm so happy to read aloud as long as I'm my only audience. LOL.

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    2. Joylene, I've bottled some energy and I'm sending it to your doorstep via special courier services... LOL
      Jokes aside, I need to save some for the A to Z challenge... (only 15 days left... eeeek!)

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  8. Lots of wonderful advice here. I feel like I am always saying I am going to get better on Twitter and I never do it. Maybe now I finally will put the advice into action. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I know where you're coming from, Julie. I am forever promising myself I'll go thru Alex Sokoloff's blog one post at a time until I figure out how to write an awesome synopsis and logline. But do I!

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  9. Thanks so much for this advice. I am stepping up my activity on Twitter and can use all the help I can get. :) Still working on a reasonable balance for social media across the board while getting serious writing time in.

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    1. That's great to hear, Karen. Balancing is definitely hard to do.

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  10. I have problems thinking of stuff to say in a tweet. Plus everything flies by so quickly on Twitter that I can barely keep track of stuff I've missed by people I'm actually interested in. And a few posts everyday?! Eeek. I need a bag of cleverness.

    Besides feeling faint at what's expected of a good Twitter user, I have to say excellent article!

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    1. Me tooo! Maybe we need a PR person whose expertise is Twitter. LOL. Okay, not funny.

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  11. Great post! I've opened a Twitter account but haven't used it much. However, now that I think about it, Twitter is a great reason to upgrade my clunky old phone:) Thanks for the info.

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    1. You're right! Hmm. Another reason why I need an iPhone!

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  12. Excellent article--although I think I'm breaking all the rules. I post a few times a week and mostly just respond to others, but I've gained some great connections. It's also a really good way to keep up on the industry.

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    1. Lucky for us, there aren't any rules, just some stuff learned. Thanks for stopping by, Jenni.

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  13. More and more people have advised me to get on twitter. But I've literally spent the last 6 hours reading and commenting on IWSG posts (about 50), and I haven't finished, haven't been to FB yet, and getting to my WIP is now hopeless. How do I add twitter to this? But I appreciate the tips, and I've promised friends if I ever get another book contract, I'll sign up. :)

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    1. Lexa, when you figure it out, would you let me know. Thanks! Notice I said when and not if. LOL.

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  14. I'm getting better at using twitter to promote but also to make connections. I usually make about three tweets a day and retweet some interesting things. Love learning more about it.

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    1. That's great to hear, Susan. Thanks for visiting.

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  15. I must confess, I'm not a huge fan of twitter, as can be seen from my on again/off again tweets. I guess I'm currently in 'maintenance mode' until I really have something worth saying.

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    1. I understand how you feel, Lynda. I think once we get into the right mindset, tweeting will become second nature.

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  16. Hey Joylene,

    Did you know that I use Twitter on a regular basis to promote all my amazing celebrity friends like you? I notice I have a bunch of new followers on Twitter. A lot of them have something to do with Justin Bieber. Somebody help me!

    Thank you, as usual, for being part of the "I Was Seeking Gary" dedication posting.

    Watch this, Joylene. Not only did I share your posting on Farcebook, you can check my profile, if you wish, I also have now tweeted your posting. Yay, eh!

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    1. You are such a fine young man, Gary. Penny is lucky to have you!

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  17. These are great pieces of advice, but I got tired of Twitter a long time ago. Most people have no interest in me and just want me to follow them back.

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    1. Sorry that happened to you, Cathy. I understand though, because I often feel that way. Seems all most people want is for me to buy their book.

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  18. I'm still figuring out the whole twitter thing, so I will check the other post, too, when I get a chance.
    I do know that I won't just follow someone back that I don't know, though. It's just not happening.

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    1. I can relate, Andrew. Following everyone is redundant. Thanks for visiting.

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  19. I was on twitter a couple of years ago when the security on it was flawed. Once my twitter was hacked it was like domino's. The hacker was able to hack my gmail and then a blog. The spam on twitter was horrible. It just didn't work for me.

    http://iknewiwould.blogspot.com/

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    1. That's sad to hear, GG. I once received a trojan horse from Skype, so I get how you're feeling. Thanks for visiting.

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  20. I found this very helpful. Twitter is a new entity for me. I'm not sure how it is suppose to work, so this was very helpful. I've just been winging it. Thank you
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. You're very welcome, Janeta. Glad we could help, although, it's all Phyllis's doing.

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  21. Good article. I wish I made more use of twitter, by way of interaction. Time seems to always elude me.

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    1. Joy, every time I turn around you're busy doing. I think you make good use of your time. Thanks for visiting.

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  22. Thanks for this. I do have a twitter but really feel that I don't have much to say at the moment. Eeek ... Anyways, great post!

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    1. Thanks so much, Maggie. Best of luck on your WIP.

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  23. I'm going to have to come back and study this post again.

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  24. I am trying to get into Twitter, some useful tips thank you :)

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  25. Hi Joylene,

    This is a wonderful Twitter primer! I love to RT for someone who has just RT for me. One good turn deserves another. Love the images in your post. Thanks for stopping by my blog and happy writing.

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    1. So glad you think so, Jennifer. Because I agree! Thanks for stopping by.

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  26. Twitter is so confusing. If I ever decide to join I'll use this post to get me up and going. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sara. If you ever do join, give a shout.

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  27. Super great info! And given in a soothing manner, soooo important to a tech dinosaur like me. If I'd read this post prior to my short-lived Twitter career, maybe I wouldn't have dropped it. But, for now, another day - this pre-moving stuff claims the time now. (Joylene, did you sell your house?)

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    1. We're still here, Wendy. Hoping it sells this year, but it's anyone's guess. Thanks for visiting.

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  28. I love Twitter just because it's short and to the point. Ephemeral, yes. But effective. Great punctuation message. I always love those.

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  29. Great advice. I could probably do more on Twitter, but I like it because it's quick and a great way to help promote others too.

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    1. And that is why it's so great to connect with you, Julie. Your support means a lot.

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  30. Triberr is superb for Tweeting. I'm not a big Twitter user, but I share my posts and many posts of other like-minded blogger/authors/readers via Triberr. Great post. I really do need to check my Mentions more often!
    X
    shahwharton.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Shah. Hope you have a great weekend.

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  31. Loved this post. I am such a twitter fail. Don't even get me started on hashtags. I can write a novel, but a flippin hashtag makes me go blank.

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    1. LOL Laughing with you, Elizabeth, not at you. Totally understand.

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  32. Excellent advice. I'm not on twitter as much as I'd like to be, as it's not my primary social media form, but I do love hopping on and having a great chat or whatnot with people occasionally--and I've stumbled across way too many awesome links there.

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    1. I know what you mean, Crystal. I'm actually starting to stay offline so I can get something done. My current WIP seems to be taking forever. Thanks, eh!

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  33. Nice advice. I used to be on twitter, but am not now.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  34. I find Twitter the best social media for me. I schedule tweets in advance with Hootsuite, and it'll send out tweets for days. I try not to tweet my own books too much though, maybe once or twice a week. @nigelgmitchell

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