Twitter For Authors – To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

Twitter For AuthorsTo Tweet or Not To Tweet.  As Shakespeare said, that is the twitter for authorsquestion.  Once you’ve got your killer profile set up (read Twitter For Authors – Your Profile – Do This, Don’t Do That! for more information about your profile) you need to know the ins and outs of tweeting.  Some of this may seem obvious, but as my following grows, I see some basic mistakes or misconceptions about tweets and tweeting.  Twitter is great for support, meeting people and growing your brand.  But there are some tweeting things to consider.

Twitter For Authors – To Follow or Not To Follow

This can be a tough one for people: how selective should I be in who I follow and who I allow to follow me (you can block people from following you).  My rule: with a few exceptions, I just follow back.  You never know who might end up seeing what you are about, and what you are promoting, whether it’s your books, your blog, or whatever.  It more than likely isn’t going to hurt to follow them back.

Twitter For Authors – Exception #1

Now, it’s okay to be selective – if you don’t feel like someone is in sync with what you’re doing (marketing, supporting authors and readers, etc. or they’re into porn and you’re not – you get the idea) it’s okay to unfollow them.  And here’s where we get back to the critical importance of your profile!  I (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this) base who I want to follow and unfollow based on what they tell me in their profile.  If I can’t tell anything about you, I’ll probably unfollow you (how do I know you’re an author who’s looking for the support of other authors if you have no profile picture and/or bio?)  See how critical your profile is for projecting your brand?  I know of people who won’t follow you if you don’t have a profile picture, or if the picture is not of you.  Think about that and the impact for your marketing.

Twitter For Authors – Exception #2

The hashtag teams.  Oh where do I start?  #team whatever – I don’t care – I’m about promoting other authors, readers and myself (and keeping in touch with friends) – I don’t care about your team (unless it relates to authors or readers) and I don’t care if you tell everyone that I unfollowed you.  You probably don’t care about my books and that’s okay.  But leave me alone :).

Twitter For Authors – Exception #3

The Internet marketer, the product line, the Apple Store, or any store for that matter, the politicos.  I unfollow and block these because they’re not helping me and I don’t care about promoting them.  Now some would say it doesn’t matter, or it beefs up your following.  I say why have them in your list if it’s not helping you or them.  It just eats up space on my Twitter stream.

Twitter For Authors – The Mentions

The mention is where someone sends you a public message to your Twitter handle (it can be a promotion, a hello, or whatever).  These are very cool, but do realize that I may not have been the originator of whatever tweet you’re talking about.  Check to see who made the original post – if I retweet something and then someone else retweets that tweet etc., and then you ask me a question about the original tweet, I probably don’t know what it’s about – go to the source :).  I say this because I get this a lot (hey @reneepawlish, funny post or they’re making a comment, and I have no idea what that person is talking about).

Twitter For Authors – The Mentions Part Two

If you want to carry on a conversation with someone, DM (direct message) them – I’ve had people carry on a conversation with me where they ask for email or other private info and their using @reneepawlish on every message – hello!  Everyone can read this!  If it’s not for everyone, or everyone doesn’t care about our conversation, then don’t do this.  DM me :).  If, on the other hand, you want everyone to see the nice things you say about me or my books, then by all means, use a mention – I’m all over that!

Twitter For Authors – The Mentions Part Three

Okay, this one may sound snarky but I just saw a mention from an author who I followed (ala TweetAddr – see below).  This person did not follow me back (a courtesy she should’ve done IMHO – see above), so I can’t DM her, but she has asked that I tweet the links to her books.  Even though it goes against what I usually do, I said to send me a tweet and I’d retweet it.  Her response was that I could just post the link to her stories, that she doesn’t need to send me a tweet.  Seriously???  Where do I start?  You don’t follow me back and you’re asking me to tweet you and you don’t even send me a tweet to make it easy for me to do???  Hmm, to follow or unfollow – c’mon, what would you do?

Twitter For Authors – Twitter Quirks

Twitter autofollows people without your consent – so if you don’t know me and we don’t have stuff in common (that would indicate I followed you for a reason), just unfollow me.  It’s not necessary to tweet me and my following and ask why I followed you.

Twitter has trouble syncing things up and it screws up their system – you might follow someone and then suddenly you’ve unfollowed them.  It happens.  Most of the time I didn’t do it on purpose.  I wasn’t trying to offend you.  Just follow me back, send me a polite tweet if you’re wondering what happened, and I’ll follow you back.  No big deal.

Twitter For Authors – A Twitter Marketing Tip

When people follow me, I send them a link with a cute message (well, I think it’s cute) that asks them to like my Facebook fan page (by the way, if you don’t have a fan page, you are seriously jeopardizing your marketing efforts).  This is great cross-promotion – it gets them to another platform that has way more information on it than I can get from Twitter.  You could just as easily send them to your website, a link to your books and so on.  The point is to take advantage of this.

Twitter For Authors – About Those Links

And a note on this, don’t, don’t don’t expect people to look up those pages.  I get so many people who say they liked my page (great, thank you :)) but then they say hey, like my page too, but they don’t include a link.  This is so bad and it makes you look silly and amateurish (sorry but it’s true).  It’s so easy for you to include your own link and we all know this.  Do not expect people to take the time to look up your links – they won’t do it!  They don’t have time.  If you want someone to like your fan page (Facebook, Google+, whatever) give them the link!  It’s easy to copy and paste a link and the person just has to click on it.

Also, as a marketer, you have to tell people to do what you want.  You tell them to go to your fan page or book link or whatever.  By just telling them what to do, versus asking, or hinting, you increase the chances that they will (it’s true, a subtle marketing trick but true).

This post ended up being longer than I meant, but I hope the tips are helpful.  Also, check out Promoting Your Books for more Twitter tips and tricks, how to build your following, and other promoting information.

And if you want a tool for managing Twitter, consider TweetAddr (affiliate).  It’s a great tool for the money (yes I make a little money if you buy through me, but even if I didn’t, I’d still recommend it :)).

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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16 Responses to Twitter For Authors – To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

  1. Caleb Pirtle says:

    It’s like they always said about advertising: “We only know half of our advertising works. The trouble is, we don’t know which half.” So we tweet. Half of it may reach those who are interested in books. The trouble is, we don’t know which half. So we keep sending out tweets to everyone we can.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      That’s funny, and true. I have some points about how to use social media for marketing versus selling that I will do a blog on soon. Thanks for sharing your take on things.

  2. Some good tips, Renee. About the only one I would disagree with is the one about shooting a message to people that just followed you asking them to like your FB page. I absolutely hate “Thanks for following me, now please do blah blah blah” messages. Those always turn me off regardless if they’re automated or not. I’m 100% for helping out my fellow writers, but I tend to be far less inclined if I get the sense they’re a marketing droid (not saying you are, btw, just generalizing :) as opposed to a real person.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I hear you – I used to worry about the auto/bot comment, but what I try to do it send a quick “hey, nice to meet you” or comment on their picture or something in their bio to make me more personable. Social media is tough, trying to use it to further your message but be human at the same time :). Thanks for your comment.

  3. Great tips Renee. I enjoyed both of the twitter posts and passed it along. If only I’d had some of this information when I started :)

  4. Good stuff, Renee. As to following, I say the more the merrier. From what I understand Twitter will allow you to follow as many people as you wish until you reach the 2,000 level, then a person has to stop following until his ratio of followers to following gets within a 1 to 1.2 ratio. So, the more people who follow you, the more you have flexibility to follow other people that you might hand pick for whatever reason.

    Regards, SW

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thank you. And yes, you are correct about the 2,000 level and the ratio. As you get even more followers, that ratio becomes easier to deal with (it’s a pain right around 2,000). I have a few people that I don’t want following me etc. but like you, most of the time, I don’t care. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Mark says:

    Good tips. I sorta disagree with the DM one, though. I personally don’t like DMs. I use them only when I have to. Conversations on Twitter are nice as more than just two people can participate if they wish. If you need it to be private, a DM is okay, though I would personally go with email at that point. To each his own.

    What autoresponder are you using?

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I see your point, but sometimes I just prefer things be kept private :). I’ve had a couple of situations where someone was trying to carry on a long conversation and at that point, I DM’d her with my email, but she still mentioned me :). I prefer email for anything long (the whole point of Twitter is short messages, not 10 short messages that turn into one long one – email at that point). I use TweetAddr (affiliate) – the banner is on the side. I’d be happy to help walk you through things. I hear HooteSuite is good but you pay each month – TweetAddr is a one-time fee. Thanks for your comment.

  6. AngelaKulig says:

    How funny, last year I wrote a blog called “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” which was about something very different.

    A lot of this is good advice. However, I agree with the person that said I DO NOT like it when I get spam asking me to like your Facebook page, or buy or you book, or tweet your blog address–or anything else. In fact, I am known to mock people who do this in a very public setting, where everyone who responds seems to agree with me.

    Following someone does not a formal introduction make. If I don’t know you, I am not invested in you. If I am not invested in you, then unsolicited links are SPAM, pure and simple. Best case, I will ignore it. Worst case, I am going to scream to the internet your infractions. Not only will I not do whatever it is above mentioned spam asked me to do, I will go out of my way to not do it.

    Sure, there probably is some isntant gratification in it–just like the people who tweet the links to their books over and over–may catch some, but at the cost alienating better audience members or allies.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for sharing. On the one hand, I think your response to mock people is funny as hell. On the other hand, as a professional author (and I hope I don’t hurt your feelings) I think it’s unprofessional and I wonder if what you do in response risks alienating people who could become your allies and readers more so than those that send an automessage. It all comes down to how people view Twitter – is it truly a social media tool to get to know people, make friends etc.? Or is it a marketing tool? Because, let’s face it, most of us who have any following, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or wherever, don’t have true friends (I would consider this group people who know me well, know who I am as a person, my past, my dreams, my family life etc.), we have business relationships that are friendly. This makes for a good research topic, and I thank you for bringing it to the table.

      • AngelaKulig says:

        Well I asked again on twitter for your benefit (I didn’t say it was you)–everyone was against DM’s for this purpose. I’d be happy to send you a log if you’d like to read their responses. Most of them were awesome, many of them said that was grounds to be unfollowed. {I agree!}

        As far as mocking them, well they did SPAM me. I always tweet exctly what they ask me, “@soandso wants me to like their FB pg. Some one should tell them I hate FB–AND SPAM.”

        Then the rocks get thrown by other people who are offended for me. It’s not like I am calling them names or anything. They have made it all too easy. That’s not unprofessional at all to repeat exactly what they asked me to do. Spamming is unprofessional.

        As far as twitter for social purposes vs Twitter the marketing tool–if you are using it just for your business essentially; only tweeting books, and blogs, etc. Then people won’t ever properly connect with you. They won’t ever be invested in you.

        So I’ve got close to 3500 twitter followers or whatever, but to say I can’t have “friends” is just wrong. I may only have a few people I have met in real life but I chat with people quite often and they are a lot more than a number. I chat with people in the same publishing house as I am, people in my online writing groups, book readers, book bloggers. We chat about more than just business, and having these people as friends who know me, and who are invested in me IS a marketing tool.

        Basically, I LOVE Twitter. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, reading about it, dreaming about it ;)

        P.S.
        I’d check Klout and look at your amplification rate. I view that as sort of an investment indicator.

        • Renée Pawlish says:

          We can agree to disagree – I think you’ll find if you talk to marketing professionals, they would say that mocking people in public, no matter what the reasoning, is not professional nor does it help your brand, but it doesn’t matter to me if you think otherwise.
          As for asking others, from a “testing” standpoint, that doesn’t necessarily stand up. You’re followers are those that you’ve indicated have already agreed with you in the past, or you unfollow those that you think spammed you, so you don’t have a true reflection of all sides (i.e. pro, con and a control group). Not to get technical but I could probably ask my following and they would say it’s fine…and this has nothing to do with anyone’s “awesomeness” :)…we all are or we wouldn’t know each other lol.
          And I am an example of someone who uses links etc. as a marketing tool but I have connected “properly” with many people as well. That’s because I have a mix of tweeting about my books, blog etc, but I pass along info from others that I think is noteworthy, and I talk to others and try to support them as well. I think you can promote yourself and not be “spamming”. But again, we can agree to disagree.
          As for the “friends” comment, I have a background in counseling and I could go rounds about what it means to truly connect with someone versus what our society has turned into with texting, social media etc. and how this isn’t truly “connecting” with others, but that’s a debate for another time (and if you are on the side of you are friends with those people that you connect with on social media, I wouldn’t convince you otherwise, nor do I care to). If you feel you’re friends with them, great, and I’m glad Twitter is working for you in that manner and that you love it.
          Thanks for the comment and the lively discussion :).

  7. I RT most any author’s promo. I think they deserve it. If it isn’t a follower, they usually thank and follow. I think I did something wrong for facebook author page. It seems an unnoticed adjunct.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      That’s very nice of you. With Facebook, you can see from my blog post what I do, and even though Angela and I disagree, I’ve found a lot of people like the page, ask me to reciprocate and like theirs (which I’m happy to do), and some even comment how much they like it. I’ve also found success in getting it to grow by getting on some author pages where we follow each other. The beauty about FB is in how that works and the reach I have as I’ve built my following. I have some posts about FB on the Promoting Your Books page for more information and tips. Thanks for your comment.

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