Social media can be an enigma for writers. We have to be on it, but often have no idea what we’re doing there. The social world can be forgiving of a newbie – thank goodness! But Tweeting on Twitter doesn’t have to be confusing
Here are some major issues about Twitter that are often unrealized until mistakes have been made.
- Tweeting is not about self-promoting. While it’s a valuable avenue to tweet your current books and blog posts, it’s not a regulated billboard. There are some who tweet nothing but “Buy my book. View my site.” It’s sad that they don’t engage in the environment, and annoying that they keep up regular commercials about their products. But I remember one site that tweeted the same thing every few seconds. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck make that easy, but I think this particular site ended up blasted for the spam it cancered all over the system.
- Twitter doesn’t require constant attention. I thought it did when I first started. Talk about a time-drain. 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 like that.
- Social is the key word. I schedule my time, setting aside about a half hour every day for social media interaction. I’ve created a list of hand-selected individuals that tweets things I’ll want to retweet. I also have a different list of Tweeters who I actually know. Engagement is crucial. Edie Melson suggests a 6-1 rule. Tweet 6 things about or with others before you tweet anything about yourself. Just following that rule keeps up the engagement.
- A fourth trick I’ve learned is the use of #hashtags. Hashtags are gathering places. If you plan to use one, make sure you visit it first to see how it’s used. Some of the hashtags, like #wordmonger, seem like great tags for writing articles, but aren’t. #Wordmonger is a game, a challenge used between writers who will write as many words as possible starting at the top of the hour, then posting their totals at the bottom of the hour. Other tags, like #litchat, are used for specific reasons on specific days. Get involved in the hashtag neighborhood before you start using it.
Your Turn: What is your favorite social media?