Okay, so you finally have a Twitter account and you're excited to increase awareness of your blog by tweeting links to your reviews or blog posts. But does your use of Twitter actually get the word out there that your blog exists?
I've been on Twitter for about three to four years now but I only created an account for my blog about a month ago. Based on what I've seen on my Twitter feed so far there lacks an interaction between bloggers and non-book bloggers. Imagine for example that someone is following your Twitter account. When s/he opens his/her account, there are approximately 10 to 20 tweets that will be displayed, depending on where they are viewing their account. Wouldn't you like your follower to actually read your tweet and click on your link, or you see a new follower who is not following your blog but started to follow your Twitter account because of your interesting posts? If you're thinking, "I already have hundreds, thousands even, of followers", are you sure they're actually reading your tweet, or they just followed you because of a giveaway you once had?
Let me give you some tips on how to maximize Twitter to interact with your readers AND get in touch with other people who may not be book bloggers but are still interested in books or in what you have to say.
1) Don't use Twitter as your personal diary or chat room.
I have seen some turn their account into a rundown of what they eat, how they feel at every minute, or what they think of the person behind them. That does not make for interesting tweets for those who follow you for your reviews or news about books, or other book-related posts. Or say you found a Twitter buddy and from gushing about books you started gushing about men/kids/clothes on Twitter, with conversations running up to 20 tweets a day in one hour. Unless you're a celebrity and people want to read about your conversation with your best bud, get a chat room or chat on Facebook instead and gush all you want.
Of course this doesn't mean you shouldn't respond to tweets about things other than books from friends! I'm saying that if your conversation is going to be filling up your follower's Twitter/Tweetdeck/Hootsuite account, don't. If you persist on doing so, some of your followers might get irritated and start unfollowing you.
Your Twitter should focus on marketing your blog, infused with your personality, but not your life. Link your latest blog post with an interesting caption, instead of tweeting about the bread you had for lunch that was bought at the deli beside your house. Save your personal tweets for your personal Twitter account, unless you're a celebrity and everyone wants to know what you ate.
Actually follow and respond to the tweets of those you follow. You don't have to respond to all, though! But it would be nice if you respond to those who send tweets actually mentioning you (unless it's not needed after your 20th tweet saying take care).
Moreover, don't be shy to retweet! Sometimes you gain more attention to your Twitter account (and the curious will click the link to your blog to check our who you are, thereby increased traffic to your blog!). Who knows, others might even start retweeting you and gain you more Twitter/blog followers.
Also, try tweeting one of your favorite authors with a compliment. Sometimes authors (like Neil Gaiman) retweet the tweets directed at them. If this happens, people might get curious about who you are and why this particular author/celebrity/person is retweeting you. Don't forget to put your blog link in your about me part of Twitter!
3) Write interesting captions with your accompanying link.
So you want to tweet about your latest review. Write something creative that will stand out among the sea of 50+ tweets in your follower's Twitter dashboard. Don't just say "My review of : ". Sometimes your follower might skip your tweet, especially if five or so other bloggers review or tweet about the same book.
Instead of just saying "Review:
4) Don't deluge your followers.
If you keep tweeting your links (and that's all you tweet), chances are people will not bother to read your tweets because you have a helluva lot. They'll probably skip to those who tweet less often, or who tweet about things other than just links or giveaway tweets. Tweeting purely links without interacting every so often makes it look like you're just using Twitter to market your blog without the social factor.
5) Use a URL shortener.
One of the things I like about Twitter is the 160-character limit per tweet. This forces me to get creative and not be wordy.
If you're linking a blog post to your tweet, it's best to use a URL shortener for 3 reasons:
- You get more space to write an attention-grabbing blurb;
- Other people can retweet (RT) you without going over the 160 limit (if your tweet is exactly 160 characters, not all people will be able to RT you as, including your Twitter handle, their tweet will be too long) and some might not RT you anymore.
- Other people can RT you and include their thought about your link, making it more interactive and possibly more attention-grabbing.
6) Use hashtags.
Okay so you have a creative blurb and you're itching to share one of your blog posts and you want a lot of people to read it. How do you get the attention not just of your followers' but also of others around the world? Use hashtags.
Hashtags are those words you see in others' tweets with a number sign at the beginning of the word or sentence. For example: #Trese #MyBookMusings #ILoveHarryPotter #teenagememory. By using hashtags, you make your tweet discoverable (you see that "discover" tab in Twitter?) when other people look for "Nicholas Sparks" or when others click on a tweet with an #ILoveHarryPotter hashtag, your tweet will also come up and be displayed to a wider audience.
7) Keep your account public.
So you have an account, your blog link is prominently displayed, you've been writing interesting tweets, you're using a lot of hashtags...but how come no one is following or discovering your blog? Maybe you forgot to make it public. If your account is set to private, only the people who follow you can actually read your tweets. Which means no matter how interesting, creative, or filled with hashtags your tweets are, if they're set to private, you won't be generating more traffic to your account or blog.
8) Be careful about what you tweet.
Just like with blogging or posting in any other social site, be careful about what you tweet. You can accidentally let the whole world know that you're going to be out of town for two weeks and no one will be left at home, leaving your house wide open for attempted burglaries. Or you start bashing this author who is not on Twitter...but his family/friend/spouse/co-worker is and you just might get a lot of heat heaped upon you, which you don't want to do unless that's your target. Sure, you can delete your tweet, but in this wonderful age of technology, screen grab or screen capture is as easy as 1-2-3. Also, some have their notifications enabled, which means that if you tweet someone, they will get a copy in their email of your tweet, even if you delete your tweet afterwards.
I hope these tips help on how to maximize the social factor of your Twitter account. If you do have Twitter, holler at me @mybookmusings and do let me know if you're following so I can follow back. :)