Deborah recently wrote about her foray in to Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter since the early days. Back then, we were all kind of bumbling around, test driving and seeing what this baby could do. Now that Twitter has become social media force, it can be a tad overwhelming to say that least. That said, I LOVE Twitter!
Twitter for me is more of an intelligence gathering tool than a marketing tool. I view Twitter as a ginormous cocktail party. I realize that strikes fear in the hearts of some, but my advice it is to be yourself and travel around “listening” in on different conversations of people and groups that interest you. Keeping in mind some of the social conventions you would use in face-to-face communications. Introduce yourself (this can be accomplished by following someone you’d like to interact with), be polite and talk about others more than yourself.
As in individual, using Twitter as a marketing tool requires finesse. If you are L.L. Bean and marketing your weekend sale on canoes well sure, that’s one thing, but for the individual, I feel Twitter is less about overt marketing of the “Buy my book. Buy my Book! BUY MY BOOK!” variety and more about marketing by building relationships. “Hi, I’m Lee Laughlin, I’m a freelance writer and I’m working on a romantic fiction novel.”
Twitter as a News Aggregator
I use Twitter for multiple things, as news source for current events, (WHAT happened in Baltimore? What did they name the Royal Princess?). @WMUR9_Weather gives me a nice summary of the day’s weather and what to expect for the next two days all in two or three tweets. @Eversource (forever known to me as our electric utility PSNH), is phenomenal at keeping people up-to-date about outages. They were awesome during last Thanksgiving’s blizzard. My daughter is a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan, I’m not, but the chatter on Twitter during THAT episode, cued me that maybe I should watch it with her. I’m glad I did.
Twitter as My Librarian
I get the majority of my book recommendations from Twitter. I follow a number of editors, agents and my favorite authors. Yes, they announce their new books, but they also congratulate fellow authors on new releases or gush about something they’ve read or are reading. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev Is a good example of this. I would NEVER have picked this book up were it not for Twitter. Everyone in my tweet stream who read it loved it. Then someone announced it was on sale. BOOM! It was on my kindle. I loved it too FWIW.
Twitter as an Educational Tool
I’m a very outspoken person, but in general, Twitter is a place where I listen more than I speak. That said, I have been known to “convotrude”, (intrude on conversations I’m not necessarily a part of). Like I said, it’s kind of like a cocktail party, so if I “overhear” (read) something that catches my attention I will politely tweet with a question or a comment. With the people I follow this is ok, so long as it is don’t politely and judiciously. I have found if approached with respect, most people are very gracious with their answers. On the other hand, if people in my stream are discussing a topic where I have knowledge or experience, I will share (again politely). Not gonna lie, It’s an ego stroke when I share a link or a resource for someone and then they follow me 🙂
Twitter is balancing act. In general, you want to give more than you get. Read an article you found interesting? Tweet it! Did someone you follow on Twitter point you to a resource or share the article you liked? Don’t be afraid to tag them with an h/t (hat tip). For example “Here’s an interesting article on raising chickens http://link.com h/t @WendyENThomas.”
Don’t be afraid to RT (retweet) another author’s marketing. Twitter now allows you include comments on your RTs. Did you read the book? Are looking forward to it’s release? Say so! In general I try and stay away from negative tweets on any form of social media. If I have an issue, I will typically take it up via email. The exception is companies who offer customer service via Twitter. If they are going to put themselves out there, I’m going to ask for help or share my displeasure.
Do you use Twitter? What do you use it for? If you are new to Twitter, post your questions and I’ll try and do a Q&A post in the near future.
Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. You can find her on Twitter @Fearless. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com and she is a regular contributor to the Concord Monitor. Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently working on her first novel, a work of contemporary, romantic fiction.