Tweet! Tweet! Why Twitter is Important to Writers

Twitter is a powerful resource. It connects you with others and helps build relationships. When I was first introduced to it, I felt like I was posting to the wind. Luckily for me, I found  Krista Davis on Guppies (an online chapter of Sisters in Crime) who ran a workshop to help newbies understand what this was all about. At the time, I had twelve followers and had posted ten tweets. She set up an online chat and we asked questions, retweeted each other, and became accustomed to the platform and its conventions.

I also found Debbie Ridpath Ohi's website on tweeting for writers. This is an excellent resource for beginners or experienced tweeters. The Help file in Twitter also has a lot of good FAQs.

You need to find folks with similar interests. If you're trying to build followers, search for your interests. You can search for general or specific topics (e. g. writing, mysteries, agents, or dogs). If you put a hashtag (#) in front of your search, you will get tweets others have tagged to that subject. Many conferences, fundraisers, and events create their own hashtags. For example, if you're looking for tweets and information about the Bouchercon conference in Raleigh, NC in October, search #Bouchercon. You'll see official information and what others are saying. There are quite a few literary agents who participate in Twitter pitches. It's a great way to connect with readers, writers, agents, and librarians.

You can include hashtags in your tweets, so that others searching for that topic can find you easily. Be careful not to use too many. Two is about right.

If you're trying to build followers, look at who followed you. Click Followers and select someone. You can see who they follow and who followed them. There may be people you want to add to your account.

I use Twitter to drive traffic to my blog. When I create a new post, I use TweetDeck to schedule a few nightly tweets for the upcoming week. I have noticed a huge difference in my website/blog traffic since I started this.  I use Bitly to shorten my blog post URLs. It also has a click tracker, so I see what posts are getting the most attention.

I use Tweepi to clean up my follower list. Sometimes I follow folks who never follow back or don't tweet. "Zombie" accounts that people create to sell followers end up in my list occasionally. And once in a while, you'll get a bunch of followers who drop you after you follow them.  I open Tweepi about once a month and unfollow these.

Look at your Twitter presence. Make sure that you have a picture. (If you don't have a photo, you get an egg.) Also make sure that you include a link to your website and have a good bio. Update these as things change.

Be yourself. Twitter is a social media platform, and you should use it to build relationships and find kindred spirits. Share (retweet) good information. If you're a writer, follow the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of your posts should be "buy my book" tweets. People are looking for conversations and interesting information. If you only deliver a sales pitch, you'll get ignored.

I also build lists in Twitter to keep up with groups of followers. When you add people to a list, you can click on it and see a feed from just the members. I am part of several groups, and I want to keep up with the members' tweets. Lists help me stay organized.

I hope to see you in the Twitterverse. Make sure you follow...

Krista Davis

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Heather Weidner