Twitter for Nonvultures

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Twitter for Nonvultures

I took a Twitter break recently, and it’s gotten me thinking about Twitter. So, a Twitter post.

I’m not one of those people who thinks Twitter is absolutely integral to your success as an indie writer. I think there are loads of ways to be successful as an indie writer, and I can see how Twitter might be one of them, but, well.

What Twitter’s really good for, at least for me, is promoting my blog. A lot of my views come from Twitter, and it’s not a wild coincidence. The Twitter gods haven’t smiled on me, and I haven’t sacrificed my soul for followers (I don’t even know how many I have, off the top of my head. It’s somewhere around 1400. Not a ton. If you’re visiting this blog from Twitter, by the way: heeeeey. This is, like, totally ironic.).

Twitter’s best, in my humble opinion, for promoting things that are serial in nature–a blog, or a Wattpad story published in parts, a weekly paper, etc. That way, you’re giving folks new content every time you link: or, well, you have the chance to vary up your content a little, at least. Most folks who are active Twitter users do, after all, have large lists of followers, and a link travels down their Twitter feed pretty quickly, likely to never be checked again.

Yes, you can promote your book on Twitter. You probably should throw a link to it in there, every once in a while. But if you do the same thing every time you tweet, you sound like a broken bird call, and that’s positively fucking annoying. People will mute you. They’ll unfollow you. And good luck selling your book to an audience that can’t even see you advertising.

So, for new tweeps, here’s my Twitter plan of attack for writers:

1) Make your profile. Put ‘writer’ somewhere in your bio: you are, after all, networking. Be brief. Be funny, Stand out.

2) Immediately–immediately, you hear?–start using Twitter Lists. Make a list for Advertising, a list for Writers, a list for Spammy Writers, and a list for Friends/Family. Basically, make whatever lists make you feel organized and perky, but please please please at least make a list for writers who actually do things other than post spammy book links. As you get followers, check out their feeds and add them to their appropriate categories. It might not seem so important now, but take it from someone who didn’t do this: a thousand followers down the line, your feed will be innundated with shittily photoshopped pictures of half naked women and aliens and other automated bullshit, and you will have no easy way of finding your actual Tweety friends on a list that moves at five to ten tweets per minute. Just because someone’s profile has ‘writer’ in it doesn’t mean you want to see every tweet this person fires off. Some writers spam. Y’hear? Some writers. Spam.

3) Use your hashtags, Junior. Big ones for writers include #amwriting, #writetip, #amreading, #amediting, #1lineWed, #FlashFictionFriday, and genre tags (#fantasy, #romance, etc.). You might want to get into #NaNoWriMo, come November, or peddle your blog on #Mondayblogs. Perhaps you’d like to vent? #writerslife and #writerproblems are there for you. There are better lists of popular hashtags elsewhere (like here: Erica Verrillo went to a lot of trouble to organize this fantastic list.,) but one thing to remember is: hashtags don’t always stay popular. Remember to check your actual hashtag feeds every once in a while (cue: don’t just toss your tweets out into the ether) to see whether or not they’re moving quickly (and, of course, to interact with others, which you were smart enough to know to do already, right.).

Why You Should Care About Hashtags:

Posting under certain hashtags gives folks with larger accounts (your new tweeps) the chance to find your post, check it out, love it, and retweet it. Retweets help you reach a whole new audience, and are the sweet, sweet, Reddi-whip nippled treats of the gods. For best results, I recommend combining a general and larger hashtag (such as #amwriting) with a more specific second (#writetip, genre tag, #indiepub. Etc.).

But don’t make the classic mistake of making a #tweet that is #almost #entirely #hashtags. It looks like an automated bill-pay service just had its way with your tweet. Seriously. 

4) Take your serialized content (your blog, your webcomic, whatever it is), and go to the settings. Make sure every damn post you make auto-posts to Twitter. Want to get more personal? Fine. Make a second tweet later with all your pretty hashtags and a catchy text line. Two tweets isn’t spamming. But keep that first one, because that way, if all else fails, you’ve posted it on Twitter.

5) Remember those hashtags we were talking about? Check them out. Follow people who post to them. Talk to people. Favorite and retweet things you feel your followers would like to see. Retweets, after all, aren’t for you–they’re for the folks who look at your feed. Your follower base will grow.

6) You might want to check out HootSuite, or another similar scheduled social media service. You might not need it all the time–hell, I don’t use it much–but if you’ve got a lot of stuff to post and, say, an actual job, it might help you get things out when you want them out, and not just when you have the time. No, I’m not using it right now. Why? Because I’m an idiot. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t be like me.

A note: I’m not trying to teach you how to have a million bajillion followers here. There are plenty of people far more qualified than I to post about that. These are simple, efficient things to get you started using Twitter–ways to get the most out of it without spending your whole goddamn life stewing in it. Twitter can be a great marketing tool, but it can also be a soulless, heavily-abbreviated time suck.

Trick is, it’s up to you which one you want it to be.

A (succinct) guide to Getting Followers on Twitter, Which Is All Anyone Really Seems to Care About Anyway, Because Engagement Totally Doesn’t Matter, Right?:

1) Post witty things related to your intended network.
2) Use popular writing hashtags. Check out what other people are saying under those hashtags. Friend people who also post witty things in your intended network.
3) Post more witty things. Retweet other people’s witty things.
4) Legasp! It’s undifficult!

Have a nice Saturday, kids. Go pick up a drink and stay the hell away from the internet.

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11 thoughts on “Twitter for Nonvultures

    1. Thanks, Bridgett! I’ve always thought Twitter was better for promoting blogs n’ things…I guess in a way that’s indirect advertising. It’s also just kind of fun. 😛

  1. Useful post! I’m trying to get into Twitter for networking purposes and I’m finding it pretty hard to locate people who actually have things to say beyond BUY MY BOOK NOW #1 BESTSELLER. Absolutely the worst way to market ever.

    Going to stalk some hastags now …

    1. Y’know, I feel like the Twitter writerspam factor has gotten way worse lately than it was even a year ago. Maybe that’s just me, seeing the thing without the rose-colored glasses now, but I feel like I’ve seen other folks talking about it too…

      At any rate,there are still real people on Twitter, happy stalking. 🙂

  2. Twitter. I don’t know which one I’ve experimented with more, Twitter or Slipknot, and I just don’t get it with either of them. The first rule I’ve often read for people starting out is ‘find interesting Tweeters, follow and retweet them.’ I’ve already wasted half my life wading through acronyms, abbreviations, coded strings of letters and spam. (I suspect the Dalai Lama’s account isn’t run by the Dalai Lama.)

    I’ll give it another go based on your advice. If it works, I’ll send you a year’s supply of green hair dye (or a #colourofyourchoice. Did I do that right?)

    1. You know, you could make it doubly interesting by combining the two. Who doesn’t love the combination of silly masks and scrolling endlessly through the acronymmed shitpile that is social media?

      The thing about Twitter for me is, I started in with it not expecting to have any fun. That sounds awful, I know. Even more awful: for the most part, I haven’t. For the most part, it IS a horrible tweety monolith of hashtags and poorly conceived book covers. But there ARE some people on there who’re worth talking to, and it IS a great way to build an audience. You just have to decide how much of your soul you’re willing to give up to it. I think the key might really be, don’t do a damn thing that bores you and then see what’s left. Hell, the world’s horrible enough without enforced social media participation.

      And that’ll be bright red, thanks. 😛

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