Several commented recently they are still trying to figure out twitter. I remember those days well! When I started, I had no idea how this “Twitter thing” worked! I every mistake possible! But the Twitter community is very patient with newbies and over time, I began to learn. In the process I’ve met some wonderful people and made some great friends. And I’m still learning! I have a long way to go.
A few weeks back, in response to a comment from a newbie who was trying to find his way around the twitterverse, I tweeted a few tips. I don’t consider myself an expert, but these are things I wish I had known when I started. The response to these tweets was so favorable; I decided to post them here for easy access. I call it “NEWBIE 101.”
The goal of Twitter is to help you build relationships. When I started I didn’t see how that was possible, but I now have a growing number of friends in the twitterverse. They live all over the world. I may never see them in person. But they’re friends.
START WITH FOLLOWERS
Twitter will give suggestions of people you might like to follow. Take a look, and if they seem interesting, go ahead and follow them. You can always “unfollow” later. (When you follow someone, it means their tweets will show up in your timeline.)
Click on the name of a “tweeter” and their “profile” will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. This is your first introduction to the tweeter. If they seem like someone you’d like to know, click follow.
If you want people to follow you, be sure to add interesting content to your profile. A picture helps too!
If you follow someone, It’s a good idea to visit to their blog or website. The URL of their blog will be listed in their profile. This is a valuable part of the Twitter experience and lets you know who you’re following. Also, when you mention to someone that you visited their blog, it lets them know you are serious about getting to know people.
To increase your followers, you might want to look at the follower lists of people with similar profiles to yours. I’m a SciFi writer, so I look to see who is following SciFi writers. I skim down the list and look for people who sound interesting, and follow them. Since they’ve already shown that they are interested in following SciFi authors, many of these follow back.
Also, check to see who is following you. If they sound interesting, follow them back.
INTERPRETING THE NUMBERS
By going to someone’s profile, you can also see a list of people they follow, and the people who follow them. The numbers listed for each of these categories also tell you a lot…
If someone has just a few followers, but is following a lot of people… it’s another newbie. They are fishing for followers.
If someone has LOTS of followers, but only few “follows,” it’s a celebrity. U can follow them to read their tweets, but don’t expect them to follow-back.
Some reasons NOT to follow someone back – 1. All their tweets are in a language you don’t read! (how can you follow that?)
Some reasons NOT to follow someone back – 2. If they’ve followed hundreds of people & made zero (or very few) tweets, something’s wrong.
Make your tweets interesting to others. Twitter is not your diary. (No one wants to read your diary but your mom!)
Have variety in your tweets. Share random thoughts, interesting websites & quotes. Have conversations.
MAKING A LIST
Your timeline shows tweets of all the people you follow. Skim through it daily to find people you’d like to know better.
As you find people you want to relate to, add them to a “list.” You can click on that list and see only what they are tweeting.
Many writers use twitter for marketing. That’s OK, but learn to do it right. Just repeating, “BUY MY BOOK!” is not marketing. In fact, if all you tweet is about your book, many will view you as obnoxious and will be LESS likely to buy your book!
Here’s a good blog by Andy Christofferson @VizProd on how to market, and not market on twitter! http://curiosityquills.com/5-marketing-techniques-that-work-on-me/
@DarinCalhoun also made an excellent comment on marketing: Twitter… “is about building connections, not pushing sales. Readers are not just customers but supporters & friends.” That sums it up perfectly.
KEY: If you use twitter to market, don’t overdo it. Rule of Thumb: Limit self-promotion to one tweet in 10!
Always be positive! Don’t argue or criticize. This is a supportive, encouraging community.
If someone posts something you like. Retweet it. (RT) They will notice, and will appreciate it.
If you have a personal question, comment, or correction, use a direct message to keep it private. No one wants to be corrected in public
If you want to pay someone a compliment or encourage them, use a “mention.”
Check for messages, mentions & retweets at least daily. Thank those who mention or RT you & look for opportunities to return the favor.
AVOIDING SCAMS AND SPAM:
As with every other part of the internet, there are sharks in the Twitterverse ocean! Enjoy your swim, but stay alert!
If a stranger DMs you to tell you that someone posted your picture on their site – DON’T click on the link!!! Delete it! It’s spam & might infect U!
if someone “mentions” you and includes a link to click, be careful! Check their profile. If they’ve sent that link to 50 people, but never followed anyone, its spam!
Before clicking on a link, hold your cursor over it & see if the pop-up shows a valid URL. If the pop-up doesn’t show a URL, you’re dealing with a spammer, or worse. Block or report spammers.
To find more helpful hints on using Twitter effectively, enter #newbie101 in the search box on your twitter homepage.
I’ll try to add to this list as I go along, but if you have any questions, please feel free to tweet me!