Friday, January 16, 2015

Using Twitter To Your Advantage...

Even though I've been "radio-silent", I'm still reading stuff out there that is writing related. The one thing I keep seeing is using Twitter. Lots of people want to use it to help promote their writing and they should! I've blogged about this before, but I offered up a lot of info and might have overwhelmed people. I'm going to attempt to break it down even further. But this post might run long, so bear with me.

Just to be clear, Twitter isn't about who you are following, or about who is following you. That is important, because people following you will see all your Tweets. But those who are NOT following, can see them as well. How? Well, read on!

The very first thing you have to do is compose your Tweet.

Composing: You are only allowed a maximum of 140 characters. Not words. Characters. This is each letter, space and punctuation! If you are just starting to use Twitter, you're probably thinking, "How the hell can I communicate about my book with so few characters????".

The answer is: Creativity!! Trust me. It'll be fine. "But I don't want to sound like a caveman, either.". 

Well, you won't.

Here's my Tweet Trick: I write out what I want. Then I figure out a way to shorten it and then figure out which words should have a Hashtag. Then I add my book link. So, for example, I wrote out this Tweet:

Readers and Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing Dungeons and Dragons. You don't ever want to be without them.

Okay, now first of all, that is close to 140 characters. Left me with 11 characters to spare. Seriously, it will get irritating, but it will also get easier. But at the end of that Tweet, is my book link. Which was too long and made Twitter spaz out. So, I played around with the Hashtags to see if I could shorten it somehow.

First of all, you can search just about any Hashtag. Up in the upper right corner of Twitter, you'll see a SEARCH box. Your Tweet you are composing, it won't go anywhere, so go ahead, type in a search for a Hashtag word and then click on HOME to get back to what you were doing. I typed in #Dungeons and Dragons and discovered it was there, but without spaces. So it ended up looking like this:


Which got rid of two characters and shortened my post by two. Now I have 13 to spare! Woohoo! But I still had to add in my book link. Well, I shortened that, too. How? Go to You can shorten just about any link there to work with Twitter.

Now, after you have composed your Tweet, checked for Hashtags, shortened your book link and Twitter says, "Okay! You can Tweet this, now!", your Tweet should look like this:

#Readers and #Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing #DungeonsandDragons, you don't ever want to be without them.

Hashtags: Hashtags (These little guys: #) are very useful when you are about to use Twitter. Just about everything you can think of has a # (hashtag). Hashtags allow you to reach a LOT of people . Especially Trending hashtags, but I'll get to those in a second. Like I said before, searching for a hashtag is easy. Type it in the search box and see what happens. If you don't see a lot of other Tweets with your hashtag of choice, don't use it. You want ones that seem to have a lot of posts. People use these hashtags in different context, but that doesn't mean they won't see it. And these people don't have to follow you, or you them, to see it. Anyone else searching for that specific hashtag can see your post.

In my Tweet, I've got three. So I've reached "Readers", "Fantasy" and "DungeonsandDragons" people. What's even cooler? I've had people I don't follow, or who don't follow me, "favorite" my Tweet (which is similar to "Liking" on Facebook) and I got the notification. If they like your Tweet, they can "ReTweet" what you've Tweeted. Which reaches people who follow them. So by adding in hashtags, you're reaching thousands more than just your followers.

Trending Hashtags: Now, Trending Hashtags are even more awesome than just a regular hashtag. To the left of your scrolling main screen of Twitter, you have "Trends". Most of these will have a hashtag, some will not. But if you are clever, and you are, because you are a writer, you can work these into your Tweets.

Right at this moment, I have a trend of "#FiveWordsToRuinADate". If I really wanted to, I could Tweet something like this:

"I'm fluent in Tolkien's Elvish might be #FiveWordsToRuinADate, but let your geek show anyway! #Read #fantasy! (booklink)"

And I did. Ha!

This is the basics of Tweeting on Twitter. If you don't want to go through all that hassle all of the time, I do recommend making a list of your best posts and keeping them handy in a Word document. Something you can just open up and copy and paste from. The Trending Hashtags will always change, so you'll have to keep making up new ones, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. You don't have to use the trending ones, but I highly suggest it, to reach more people.
So, now you know how to compose the Tweet, shorten the links, add hashtags and all that good fun stuff. Go forth and Tweet! Let me know how it works out for you. Also, let me know if this has helped you at all. I'd appreciate your feedback in the comments.

Got any advice? Any Tweet Tips? Leave a comment!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Smart tips! I know I don't use hashtags enough.

Mel Chesley said...

You'll see a huge change when you use them. Lots more traffic to whatever you link to.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

What great ideas! I'm pretty good with Twitter, but never thought of using trending hashtags for promotion. Brilliant!

Thanks for sharing these tips.