How to Effectively Use Twitter for Authors

We all know that as successful authors we’re expected to market ourselves and this includes social media sites. Most find Facebook easy to use, but I’ve seen several authors confused or disheartened by Twitter.

I used to be one of them. For basic Twitter use, including #hashtags and follow back explanations, check out 8 Twitter Tips for Authors at the Blogging Bistro’s site. (She’s got great content, search through her archives & consider signing up for her daily tips.)

1. Who are you marketing to? Remember who your target audience is. Every tweet or link you share should provide value to this audience. You should tweet links to your blog posts and website, but here’s a good rule of thumb, for every 10 tweets, only 1 should be about your blog/book/website.

Retweet others, it’s a great way to build report, but remember, only retweet things that you think your audience will find useful in someway.

2. Finding followers. Here’s where #hashtags come in to play. Search for the key words that define your target audience. I often look up #quilting, #crocheting, #cooking, and #christianfiction. Start a conversation with these folks. After all, that’s what Twitter is about. Most times, they will follow you back.

Don’t start a conversation simply for a follow back. Talk with them because you have something in common. People know when you’re being phony. Even if it’s just two folks a day, it adds up over time.

3. Use Lists. I’ve heard the argument that it’s impossible to keep up with hundreds and thousands of friends/followers. Yes, that’s true, but Twitter has the glory of lists. You can make a list and categorize your followers there. I have several, you can make them private if you don’t want people to see how you have them listed, or public and others can follow your list.

For example, I have a list of readers where I put folks who chat about the books they’re reading. I have one for my fellow writer friends. The possibilities are endless and you can pull up your list and chat w/ folks about that subject when you’re in the mood or have time.

Lists are the key to making Twitter work in my opinion.

4. Engage with other users. If you never talk with people, you’ve missed the point of Twitter. It is called Social media for a reason. In fact, if someone follows me and I check out their profile (I always do) if I don’t see Tweets including other people’s @handle, then I don’t follow them. I want to talk w/ people, not have them just talk at me.

Are you a Twitter user? What’s some of your tips or cool people who you’ve found via Twitter?

Follow me on Twitter and let me know if you found me from this blog. :)

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27 thoughts on “How to Effectively Use Twitter for Authors

  1. I dragged my heels about this whole Twitter-tweeting gig. But once I dove in, I found I really like it. Maybe it’s the journalist in me: Information in 140 characters or less? Love it! I’m still not the most efficient/effective Twitter-er out there, but I’m enjoying myself and connecting with (and learning from) people I wouldn’t have without Twitter’s reach. And the whole hashtag thing? Getting the hang of it! :)

  2. This is a great lay out of tips for twitter, Melissa. I do tweet. I’ve met some very interesting people with the same interests as me. #hashtags are very helpful.

  3. I am in love with Twitter. It teaches us how to write very concisely and is a great way to share pertinent news and knowledge. There is a huge contingency of writers, publishers, agents, etc., using Twitter and you can ask them anything and get an answer. I like to join LitChat when I can. There is also BlogChat and one for kidlit . My advice is to check out people’s tweets before you follow, and you don’t have to follow people back if they are not interesting to you. Sometimes I look at who other people follow and so find new people to follow. The other important advice is to make your own tweets interesting.

    • Yes, Linda. Making sure every tweet has value of some kind is very important. I have not followed a few people because of their love for profanity, so your advice to check them out before following is sound.

  4. Thanks Melissa! I’ve made a lot of amazing connections through Twitter that I wasn’t able to make as easily through Facebook. By initiating tweets, I started relationships with some of my favorite ministry leaders. That’s been the biggest bonus.

    I still haven’t figured out how to make lists, but I hope to do that soon. Any easy way to explain that for a non-techie like me?

    Thanks to your post, I’m now following you on Twitter (@cherylricker). I look forward to connecting with you on Tweetland! God bless!

    • Thanks, Cheryl.

      To make lists, when you visit a person’s profile and the bar that holds the “follow” button, on the right hand side there’s an icon in a small box that looks like a person. Hit the drop down arrow there and click on Add to List, then you’ll be prompted to create a list. Once you’ve got lists created, you just click the list name you want to add them to. It’s pretty easy. If you have questions, shoot me a tweet, beings we’re following there now. :)

  5. Great post, Melissa! Question– what’s the best way to find the most popular hashtags? For example– those used for writing, etc…

  6. Great tips here. I think the 10:1 ratio of “others” tweets to “you” tweets may be a little steep. I think you can probably be fine with 5:1, but it depends how often you tweet. I only tweet at most 3-6 times a day. The real question is, as you say, whether the links and tweets are valuable!

    • You’re right, Rosslyn. I think whatever works for you and the volume of your tweets. I tend to be a more 6 a tweet kind of girl, but know others who are probably closet o 20.

  7. I’m on Twitter, but haven’t spent the time to fully understand it or even start to master it.

    I do, however, tweet once a week and in doing so have amassed 46 followers! You could be next!

    I’m giving more attention to blogging right now; Twitter will be next — I promise.

  8. Just a month ago I couldn’t make sense of Twitter. It eluded me. Now I’m learning it’s importance and understanding its social significance. Your advice is very helpful and timely. Thanks.

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  10. Reblogged this on Parchment Place and commented:
    I came across this blog yesterday, and for the first time in a long time – I logged back into Twitter.
    I must admit – I have been a bad little tweeter. Actually – I have pretty much linked in everything I can to twitter, and have basically ignored it. But it really is an extremely good tool for writers and readers. It’s a great place to connect. You can join ‘chats’ and meeting new people through those is really valuable. I just need to learn to refocus on it, and use it more effectively.
    So … to start me off – I found this little blog post, which is an awesome place to start. We shall see how I go!

  11. Thank you for this excellent post. It makes me realize how bad I am Twitter. I really need to implement some of these suggestions. Thanks so much for sharing. This is great!

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  13. Good post. It took me forever to get around to Twitter for a business thing. I eventually caved in when I saw the value.

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