A Brief Introduction to Twitter

Twitter is becoming more and more popular as a way of sending short messages to those who are interested in you and what you do.

Once you set up a twitter account, you have your own Twitter page from which you can send 140 character messages called tweets.

Go to www.twitter.com/signup to get your own Twitter account. Fill in the simple online form and click on “join the conversation”. Be sure and note your twitter URL which will start with http://www.Twitter.com/username.

Once you sign up, you can go to your twitter page to send, to see what you sent before and to see the tweets of the people you are following (more on that below). There are also ways of following tweets through your Internet browser, email, phone and more.

Things to think about

1. Personal versus business – Twitter is a fun playground and you can frivolously tweet about what you had for lunch and your new outfit or you can use it for business. If you use it for business, even when you send personal tweets, they should be intended to interest your audience of potential clients.

Just as you would with clients on the phone, you definitely want to talk about the weather or good books, so think about what would be appropriate small talk at a retail store and you will be on the right track for what to tweet about from a personal standpoint.

Don’t think of twitter as a sales tool, think of it as a connection tool to build your brand and allow people to know and trust you.

2. Think ahead – Just because twitter can be used at a moment’s notice doesn’t mean it has to be. Create a list of tips for your target audience and tweet them when news stories make them relevant or schedule them (see link below).

3. Express yourself with causes – If you love animals, then tweet about the Humane Society or the local aquarium and their latest event or news. If you care about writers or books, tweet about the local independent bookstore or meeting a new author. This is a great way of expressing your personality without the tweets being all about you and what you are selling today.

Write about what makes you happy, makes you take notice, makes you concerned, about what you are really working hard on, but whatever you choose, stay focused on your audience and what they want to hear from you.

4. Promotion versus expertise – I stand firmly on the side of tweets (and blog entries, etc.) on showing off your expertise rather than blatantly promoting your business.

If you want promotion, cross-promote. In other words, send a tweet about your wonderful new author, who will send a tweet about your fabulous assisting skills. If you tweet day after day about your new blog, about your radio show, about your new article, about your latest event, your clients will get bored in a hurry.

Good to know

1. Setting up your account – it is good to use your own name for your account or your business name. You are referred to as @yourname (ex: @janbking) when others refer to you on Twitter so your real name or something professional is best.

2. People who follow your tweets are called your “followers” and people you follow are referred to on your Twitter page that you are “following” them. The aim is to follow people who you want to get to know and hopefully get people to follow you. People follow you because either you are famous or because you have something to say that they want to hear, or because they hope by following you, that you will follow them and their stats will go up.

It is a good idea to follow any potential clients, writing and publishing gurus and writing and publishing organizations. Search for them (see search links below) or try this link to many famous authors who tweet: http://mashable.com/2009/05/08/twitter-authors or at http://www.highspotinc.com/blog/2009/02/a-directory-of-authors-on-twitter.

Look for book professionals on Twitter at: http://www.highspotinc.com/blog/2008/12/a-directory-of-book-trade-people-on-twitter

3. You will want to put your web site and other information on your twitter page so people can get more information about what you do.

Applications

Many people create special tools that help social networking work better and Twitter is no exception.

Search

You can search for tweets related to you or your business by using the following: search.twitter.com

If you want to search by a word or profession, use www.TweepSearch.com (try searching on “author”)

 

Schedule tweets ahead

Try www.twuffer.com, twaiter.com, www.hootsuite.com, or tweetlater.com. the first two are the simplest, but Tweetlater also has an autoresponse capability so you can welcome new followers and more.

Customize your Twitter page

See a great blog post for all the details at: http://www.twitip.com/6-tips-for-using-your-twitter-profile-to-get-new-followers

Link your social networking

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn each have applications to link to the others so that no matter where someone finds you, they can get to all of your information.

A Resource to Learn More and Keep Up With New Developments

www.Twitip.com

Clever Ways to Use Twitter for You and Your Authors

1. Just get on Twitter and watch what people are talking about

2. Tweet expert viewpoints and commentary on the news

3. Do a twitter campaign

4. Create a contest using Twitter

5. Create a Twitter scavenger hunt

6. Catching up on industry news

7. Looking trends in what writers are writing about

8. Challenge the author to create an elevator pitch for his or her book within the 140 character limit

9. Use Google search (http://www.google.com/insights/search/#) to see what the hot topics are today and use those to inspire tweets and blog posts.

10. Take a poll or send out a question (www.polldaddy.com)

11. Locate resources or interviewees

12. Refer to great resources