Social media has been an enigma for me, even though I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. I’ve made every mistake possible. Had no idea the faux pas I was committing, but I’ve learned that the social world can be forgiving of a newbie – thank goodness!
I’ve learned some important lessons, mostly from my own mistakes.
- Tweeting is not about self-promoting. While it’s a valuable avenue to tweet your current books and blog posts, it’s not created for constant self-promotion. I actually learned this lesson from someone else, but I’m guilty of the mistake, still, when I get busy. There is one person whom I have followed and I know the name simply because every hour, when I first joined Twitter and watched it constantly, a tweet begging for more followers and people to buy the newest book would cross my screen. Never anything else. No replies or engagement. No, I didn’t purchase the books or visit the blog. And unfortunately, I still remember the name which is surprising!
- Twitter doesn’t require constant attention. No really. See, I thought it did. When I first started, I kept it open at the top of my screen as I attempted to write and every time a new tweet flashed, I stopped what I was doing and went and read it. Yeah, well that lasted about a day before I knew there was NO WAY I could maintain a writing career if I stayed attached to my Twitter like that. Hated Tweetdeck until I learned how to turn off the notifications. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with Tweetdeck – don’t worry about it. It isn’t worth it – really.
- Social is the key word. I’ve learned a few tricks – first Hootsuite. I schedule my tweets about my blog through that program to space them out during the day, but I don’t stop there – refer to #1. I also schedule my time, setting aside about a half hour every day for social media interaction. And I’ve created a couple of lists that I watch and respond to folks that I’m familiar with on them. Most of the lists are other writers, NASCAR fans, or homeschoolers, but I’m working on branching out. I’m better at responding than coming up with my own clever Tweets, but I try to do a little of that as well.
- A fourth trick I’ve learned is the use of #hashtags. Now I totally messed this up on my own. I made a post and just hashtagged the tar out of it. It looked like someone cussed all over my tweet. I got a very kind direct message from one gal explaining how the hashtag she originated worked and a blanket email from another group asking that the hashtag only be used in special cases. Oops. Learned my lesson: WATCH the HASHTAGS before you use them and then only use a couple on any one tweet so it doesn’t look like you’re becoming a #sailor-mouth. After all, the hashtags are gathering places – not billboards.
To watch a list or a hashtag, it’s really simple. Just type in #whateverhashtag in the search box at the top right of your screen. Twitter will open a box showing you all of the posts that are using that tag.
A list is a little different to find. You’ll visit a particularly person like … hey, Marji Laine? 😀 And you’ll see a menu of their tweets and followers underneath their picture. Lists will be in that menu. Click on it and see all the ones created. For me, I have CW who are Christian Writers and another list of folks who inspire me, along with NASCAR racers and media members, and people from the ACFW Course I’m taking. Once you open a list you like, you’ll see a subscribe button in the top left corner. That puts the list under your name as well. It will open in the originator’s window, but hey, it’s handy for you!
If you found this mini-lesson helpful, would you consider Tweeting it? It’s easy – just click the Twitter button at the bottom of the post!
And if you have any questions about what I’ve learned on Twitter, please feel free to ask! I’m happy to give what information I can!