Not all writers excel at crafting tweets.
Before my first tweet, I studied various articles about Twitter. Some had advanced techniques. Others covered Twitter basics. But I learned many key strategies hands-on. The wisdom I gained by doing so will help you with efficiency and with annoying fewer people. I’ll assume you know some basics. Twitter is a great tool for writers and bloggers when used correctly.
Another post I wrote, “Gaining Attention without Losing Ground,” was about the etiquette of social media. This post covers more of those unwritten rules, but also includes some mechanics.
1. Twitter Advice: Write Tweets Well & Share Them Effectively
To start a tweet, think about who should see it first. Is it for one person or is your tweet for everyone? If it is for your entire list, but you’d like ensure certain people see it, put their handles at the end.
This Tuesday’s open jam session will be at 5:00 pm. @micjammer @ebonynivory
They’ll receive a notification that they were mentioned in a tweet.
If you begin the message with a handle, it won’t show up in everyone’s feed; only the recipient(s) see it. This works even if you use several people at the beginning as well (similar to a cc’d email). This is helpful for thanking someone. Make it a point to thank people who retweet your content often. I also like to add a question such as, “I appreciate the retweet. Is the weather rainy where you are? It’s pouring here.” This way you have another opportunity to engage with someone who already appreciates your content.
@peterdmallett @punwriter thanks for sharing my post.
If you have a twitter widget on your website, it won’t show up there either. However, if people look at your Twitter page they can see them there, if they click tweets and replies.
If you want to recognize someone and you want everyone to see it, then put something at the beginning as in this example:
Hi @peterdmallett, thanks for the comment on my post, “Writing at the Beach.” What did you like most? You might want others to see such a conversation to pique additional interest in your post.
**UPDATE: Since writing this post Twitter has changed this. Now even if you place the “@” in the beginning some other people will be able to see, but they have to be following you and the person you’re addressing.
2. Twitter Advice: Promote within Twitter’s Guidelines
If you want to promote the same link or your website several times, you need to get creative (which writers should excel at right?). Don’t post an identically worded tweet often. One reason is it is against Twitter’s rules. This is why Twitter has required many twitter tool designers to disable repetitive tweet features, requiring you to reset them more often.
You can use the title of your post in one tweet, and then you can use a quote from your post in another. Find new ways to entice people each time. Use key points from your post. You can also vary the link. You can use the full link, and then use a link-shortener, such as bit.ly or tinyurl. If you add your posts on Pinterest you can send people to that link first where they can click through to your site. It’s a little more work, but it’s tons more effective. And much less like spam (written, not fried).
3. Twitter Advice: Retweet & Use Hashtags Correctly
You can retweet two ways, by using the retweet button or by copying and pasting the tweet into a new tweet box. You should do some of each type, and often.
Using the retweet button copies the tweet and adds it to your page. Doing this breaks up the monotony of your face appearing in every tweet.
Copying the tweet in a new message allows you to add short comments about what you liked. This encourages your followers to look at the link. When you copy a tweet this way, you should put RT (for retweet) at the beginning or the end along with the persons Twitter handle. The tweet is more readable if you put it at the end. Twitter only keeps track of retweets done using the RT button.
Promote and share other interesting content at least as often as your own. Share facts, quotes relating to your business, and try to be helpful.
Hashtags (#) group together tweets with similar words and topics. People search hashtags for topics of interest or for keywords in their niche.
Do make sure they fit in with your tweet and use them sparingly. Don’t use a hashtag simply because it will get more people to see your tweet. This is like trying to stuff a book into a genre in which it doesn’t fit in hopes of more sales.
It’s best to use only two to three hashtags in a tweet. One #reason is #several #hashtags in a #message make it #harder to #read and too many at the end will be ignored. Focus your tweet on one topic. You risk being considered unorganized and annoying if you include excessive hashtags in every message.
4. Twitter Advice: Make & Use a Twitter List
The last thing I will cover is using lists. Creating a list can help you keep up with your Twitter friends. You can scan a list and easily click-through to visit their page. You will also see list members’ latest tweets in your list without visiting their page.
If you are put on someone else’s list, more people will see your latest tweets. Since many people tweet several times a day, lists are most helpful when they’re smaller. If your list gets large, you can break a list into several smaller ones. For instance, a list of writers could be broken into smaller lists by genre or location, or preferred beverage (in case you plan to invite us all over for dinner).
To create a list, go to your settings wheel, click “List” and the button that says, “Create new list”. In the pop-up window, give the list a name and description and make it private or public.
To add someone to a list, visit their page, click the settings wheel (next to the follow/unfollow button) and click “Add or remove from lists”, then check the list you wish to add them to. If your list is public, they will receive a notice that you added them to the list. Others will also be able to browse your list. If you haven’t tried creating a list, it’s fun and valuable.
5. Twitter Advice: One Important Closing Tip
Don’t take short cuts. You’ll see lots of offers to “buy” Twitter followers. Again, this violates Twitter rules. It’ll also hurt your credibility. These followers will not be dedicated followers, and there are tools people can use to see if your “millions” of followers are genuine, active people. Personally, I don’t allow them to follow me either. I block them. I don’t want others to think this is how I found my followers.
These finer points will help you get the word out about your writing. The simple take-away rule is: be helpful and engaging first, then people will want to know more about you and your product or service. I haven’t seen these tips covered as much in other articles or tutorials. They’ll serve you well if you practice them.
You can also practice comment-writing by leaving a comment below.