If you’re a frequent user of Twitter, you probably don’t need me to tell you how to use it… or maybe you do. Anyway, I’ve seen some egregious tweet abuse lately that led to this article.
We’ll start with the…
1. #Don’t #overuse #hashtags – I’ve seen this abused fairly extensively of late. Hashtags (placing the # symbol before a word for the newly initiated) can be great tools for getting your content found, or vice versa. However, when I see a tweet with a half dozen glowing hashtags, it makes the text unreadable. Keep it to 3 and don’t let them cloud your message. See this example: “Check out my blog post on Social Media for #Authors webaddress.com #writers #indies”. While I’ve managed to include 3 hashtags, I’ve also kept my message clean and readable.
2. Me! Me! Me! – This happens when folks look at Twitter as a message board and not as a place to have a conversation. You don’t like walking into a store where everyone is trying to sell you something, why would you want to have the same experience on Twitter. In this case, it’s a safe bet to use the 80-20 rule. For every post about your book(s), you need to have 4 that are about anything but you. Share some industry news, a recent book you read, the view from your writing space. Heck, share a picture of the coffee your drinking. Ok, don’t overshare, but you get what I mean. No one wants to talk to someone who talks nonstop about themselves, so don’t treat Twitter like Craigslist.
3. Don’t just retweet – I can’t tell you how many times I want to return the favor of a retweet, go to that person’s feed and discover that retweeting is all they do! They have entire weeks go by between posts that they’ve created. This is almost the opposite character from #2. You’re not sharing enough of you. How do I know who you are if all you’re doing it regurgitating what others have posted?
4. Don’t have a vague bio – This one really bothers me. You’ve followed me. I don’t just automatically follow back. I want to know that you and I have something in common. I go to your profile and get “The dusty wind blows through many a tree, but only touches a few leaves.” Ummm…sure. Moving on. Not gonna follow. Twitter is all about getting your message across in as few words as possible. This includes your bio! Tell me who you are and what you do! Here’s a bio that I’m guaranteed to follow back: “I’m a writer.” In those three words, you’ve already said more than my made up dusty wind blather. Tell me something!
5. Keep it relatively PG – Listen, I’m no prude, but I check my twitter feed at work all the time (shhhh). I can’t be having your half-naked erotic romance cover popping up on my screen. Sorry. Also, I’m not a huge fan of swearing in publis, so keep the language to a minimum. It can put off so many potential readers, it’s just best to avoid anything that’d make your mother blush.
Ok, onto the…
1. Have conversations – Talk to people. Believe it or not, folks are listening and want to chat. You can create whole new relationships with people through Twitter.
2. Be helpful – Tweet helpful content and be helpful in general. A lot of people look to Twitter for answers. By being someone who provides answers and support, you’re doing more to establish yourself as a resource. People remember resources.
3. Be thankful – If someone favorites or retweets your tweet, send them a thank you, or mention them in a group thank you. I usually wait till the end of the week and lump them together with a #FF (follow Friday) hashtag. Doing this also allows you to introduce similarly minded folk.
4. Be poignant – Twitter isn’t easy. You’re limited to 140 characters. If this paragraph were a tweet, we’d be nearing the end already. And that’s without a link. You have to catch your audience with your first few words. Conserve characters! Get to the point. Also, don’t (shoot, I guess this would be #6) abuse the English language too much. If you’re 3 words into your tweet and you’ve already had to chop letters and punctuation out, I’m more than likely not going to read the rest of the post.
5. Have fun! – Twitter can be a great platform to develop your own community of like-minded folk. It can be the kind of place where you go to laugh, share, and learn. Go to Twitter with a smile on your face.
I hope you found these points helpful. If you have additional DOs and DON’Ts, feel free to add them in the comments below. 🙂
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