Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Twitter – fied

Eastern BluebirdLike I mentioned last week. Twitter is supposed to be set up like a virtual party. Only without the high heels and heavy makeup. Folks make a short comment and others respond to it. If it’s a good point or a poingnant idea, they might share it with their friends.

It’s social. It’s networking. And last week, I explained how it’s not a billboard. It can also be a reminder to people that you’re still around.

Last week, I attended a bridal shower. One of the bride’s best friends, on mission out of the country, called in to say hi, delighting the bride and her other friends.

Owl birdA Twitter scheduler is like that.

Some folks use a scheduler (I prefer Hootsuite) to send out periodic quotes and bits of cleverness. These generally say, “Don’t forget me. I’m still around.”

Other people’s quotes don’t give a lot of information about the tweeter. At the most, they show the tweeters taste or values. However, if that’s all the tweeter posts, they are establishing themselves as a prom queen who can’t abide mingling with the little people. Either that or they are just twitterfied and aren’t sure what to say.

The bits of cleverness show more of a tweeter’s personality. That’s the clown in the room who’s major goal is always to make people laugh. That tweeter thrives on being the center of attention. But again, if jokes and practiced lines are all that person tweets, they might as well be a Bill Cosby recording. (I know I’m dating myself, but he’s still my favorite.)

Schedulers can also be used to promote books, blogs, or other links of benefit. Working best with the use of hashtags, these posts can be extremely beneficial. They offer little about the tweeter, unless that’s all the tweeter sends. Then they shout that the tweeter could be a Type-A personality who doesn’t have time for the minions around him and only uses Twitter as free advertisement.

Ouch. Yeah, I’ve been in that pod, though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. Hopefully my mistakes will help you out.

vincenteThis is not to say that you should never use a scheduler. I’ve read posts like that. Wow, very extreme. I won’t go there. But I do have a few suggestions:

  1. Space your tweets out well. Whether they are quotes or cleverness or advertisements, don’t hog the feed. Put an hour or two between your posts. This lets people see that you’re there without making them want to strangle you.
  2. Use specificity when selecting hashtags. One of the tags I follow, when I follow, is #mywana. A writer’s group based on the book, We Are Not Alone, by Kristen Lamb. I’ll use this hashtag periodically when I’m scheduling something that would be beneficial or interesting to other writers. But I don’t use it when I’m responding to a NASCAR event or tweeting something about my faith. The folks at #mywana will be more apt to listen to me, if I care enough about them to share things they can use. Likewise, I don’t use the #NASCAR hashtag when I’m tweeting about a writing blog. They don’t care. (No I didn’t say they don’t read!) It would be like advertising a car wash in an Amish village. Just a waste of time.
  3. Vary your message. Don’t post the same tweet over and over. Especially if you’re a writer, this is your opportunity to be creative! I schedule for my blog posts. I create three different posts and use six different hashtags. (Only two per tweet.) I space them out, focusing on the busiest Twitter times of the day (according to other posts I’ve read). Then I stir it all up so that each different tweet goes to the 6 hashtags throughout the day without going to any of them twice. I know that seems ridiculously complicated, but I don’t want to be known as a billboard queen.

And above all, whether you schedule your quotes, cleverness, or promotions or post them all yourself, make sure you interact. Comment on other people’s tweets. Retweet them to your followers. Tweet about blogs you like.

Be Sociable!