Friday, 1 August 2014

THIRD Twitter for Fledglings: Content



This is the final blog in a series of short posts written at the request of some fellow Crooked Cat writers to help newbie writers negotiate their way around Twitter. The first post: Setting up your site, can be read HERE. The second post, on Following & Followers can be read HERE.

So, you have set up your Twitter page; you are interacting and acquiring Followers. Now let's look at what your Followers are going to find on your site that will keep them Following, Retweeting & coming back to check you out.

TWO ingredients to a successful Twitter page:

1.Variety
2.Interaction

1.Variety If you check out my site @carolJhedges you will see that I have amusing (sic) statements, pictures, the odd YouTube video, posters, LOTS of other people's stuff, links to blogs, mine & other people's, politics etc etc. To stop myself constantly promoing my book, I have it as a Pinned Tweet at the top of my page - click on the  ...  next to the 'dustbin' at the bottom of the Tweet and you'll see instructions.

I get my stuff from Googling it, nicking it off other people's Twitter/FB pages, and a few special sites that I found and am not going to share - sorry. Do your own homework.

I ''Favourite'' everything I think I may like to re-use, which stores it. I aim to change my top 6 Tweets every 3/4 hours because Twitter is a very fast medium and the more Followers you get, the less they will see your stuff. Also, I make sure that everything I want ReTweeted or seen is at the top of my Timeline before I go off Twitter for the night so that anybody kind enough to RT me doesn't have to scroll down to find it.

I do the 80:20 ratio - 80% of what I tweet is other people's stuff, 20% is mine. Obviously, that changes if I have a new book out - though I'd still showcase my close friends' books and blogs.

2.Interaction I aim to be on Twitter four or five times a day for about 25 mins. Of that: 5 mins is spent Following people (see second blog), 15 mins is spent chatting and 5 mins is spent setting up my Twitter page for my next visit. I don't RT every conversation I have - most are of no interest to anybody but the participants. I do RT conversations that I think others might like to read.

Finally, a word about Hootsuite: Every advice post you read on Twitter will tell you to use this app as it allows you to schedule Tweets during the night. Twitter also has a app. Once again, I'm going to run contrary to conventional advice. Don't Bother. Being on Twitter should be an elective choice, not a default setting. Anyway, people like to interact with a Real Person, not an app generated Tweet and they are not going to buy your books if they can't chat to you.

I get robot Tweets promoing books all the time. I always end up Unfollowing the person. The best way to ''sell'' on Twitter is to ''sell'' yourself. My sales come from people who've chatted to me, laughed with, or at me, cried with me and shared their news with me. And surely, that's what Twitter should be all about. And as if you needed proof:

... I've enjoy reading tweets - so I bought one of her books. :-)

So, here we are at the end of our journey. You, the Fledgling have set up an eye-catching Twitter page, loaded it with appetizing content and are engaging with a steady stream of new Followers. My work is done. Time to spread your wings, and fly!

If you have anything helpful to add to the subject of Content, or if I've missed anything glaringly obvious, please feel free to share it ....


23 comments:

  1. Brilliant advice as per; Carol. I've followed (pun) it to the letter so far and it's working a treat. I might not have the knack of knowing what posts work best for me yet but I'm working it out as I go by the number of re tweets, favs and replies I get. Thank you for this series, it's been a great help! Carol H #2!

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    1. Thanks ..lucky I checked this, as usually delete Anon as they're generally spam or dodgy! Glad it works for you. My site has undergone a lot of changes since I joined Twitter 2 years ago... and may do so again. Finding out what works (and it's different for the US ''market'') is part of the fun. And people will soon tell you if they don't like it. Oh. Yes.

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  2. Thank you for all that good advice, Carol. Nice to have my thoughts about Hootsuite echoed. I've never tried it. It just seemed like something I didn't want to do for the reasons you give here.

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    1. Exactly..tho I am sure there will be many saying they get more sales this way...I'm still not convinced ..had FIVE people chatting on my T/L last week all having read/reading D&D. The joy of being able to interact is a BIG part of being a writer!

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  3. Thanks for all this - I'm impressed you find 25 mins, 4-5 times a day. You must be so well organised!! But it does explain why you are such a successful twitterer.

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    1. I am far too disorganised....and no, there are far better Tweeters than me, but I do enjoy it. Thanks Jo.

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  4. ...abso-bluudy-lutely splendiferous guidelines, m’Lady :):)

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  5. Thank you so much for this series of articles, Carol. I now feel a lot more confident about using Twitter after having read your advice. All I need to do now is to find the time to do it (sigh...)

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  6. I think scheduling tweets (with HootSuite, or the more user-friendly Buffer, or any other scheduling software) is fine. It depends on how you use it. For example, it helps spread tweets across time zones and reach people in other parts of the world. That's a good thing.

    I send a lot of #writetip and #twittertip tweets, as well as funny cartoons and cute photos of my cat. I type them up at once, then schedule them so they go out several hours apart, instead of all at once. My followers don't seem to mind that.

    But unfortunately, most people abuse scheduling as a means to churn out constant promos. "Read my book! #mustread #buynow!" every few minutes. That's just stupid.

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  7. Very good, Mrs! I slightly disagree with a couple of things - I think Rayne's right about the scheduling (although I've never used it myself), and also people DO by books just from tweets - I've done so myself, and often had people I've never spoke to before, telling me they've just enjoyed one of my books. It depends how you tweet - so many people don't take time over them, and just shove the link on with a load of #mustread type hashtags.

    I use the site differently from you - sometimes it;s just once a day for an hour, other days I nip on an off for odd five minutes all day - and I don't time myself or think about ratios, I think I just do it by feel, as I don't want my Twitter behaviour to seem contrived ("right, done my interacting, now I'd better post a funny cartoon and a profound saying") - I don't mean that yours is, I just mean that some seems that way. I used to be friendly with a writer who told me she 'did ten interactions per day' - where's the joy in that???!! Mind you, she used to be in sales and marketing!

    I think something you've missed, slightly, is HOW to tweet. 80% of book and blog tweets go past unnoticed because people don't think about how to make them clickworthy. Always, always, always think about what would make YOU click on that link - be it to your own book, to a blog post by someone else that you think is great, whatever.

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  8. Aha.. 2 Experts!! Thanks ladies..you are two people who've taught me a lot. I cite the timings as a roughish guide, as you both know, I am on or off Twitter at unscheduled times nd for longer/shorter periods. Still not sure about Hootsuite etc..as Terry & I know, it is possible to be accused of spamming as these apps can malfunction and spew out multiple tweets at the same time. I still think I prefer to be in control..but it's horses for courses. I know another expert Nat Russo uses it. The making your stuff clickworthy is also a good point, though I think that can arise from the whole ambiance on your site...see Rayne's tweet about my books.

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  9. I prefer to be in control, too. The other thing I am not so keen on is the pinned tweet, as people just RT that over and over again. I've always been in the habit of ending each Twitter session with one tweet about something of mine, anyway - just that I like to vary them. Okay, now I have to go and search about Rayne's tweet about your books....!!! Just realised I look like a gormless 20 year old in my new gmail photo, as seen in comment above. Need to go and change that, first!!! One of the main things that I think people get wrong in book tweets, btw, is not putting quotation marks round tweets, and thinking that punctuation doesn't matter. Okay, that's 2 things. And....

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    1. I wouldn't say gormless.........

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    2. hee-hee to you two (gormless). I don't always use quotes, but will follow a quote w/ I then citation. Not sure why,sometimes to gain a space. Okay?

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  10. Very helpful Carol, thank you. I'm also reading Rayne's book as recommended by Terry and it's excellent. I'm really enjoying twitter but I haven't yet started promoting or following widely. At the moment I'm just chatting with a few people but most of them are writers whose work I've read for years so that's really thrilling in a sad person sort of way. I can see that twitter is useful for promotion but I think more should be made of how enjoyable it can be. I definitely couldn't sustain the amount of time you put into it. I manage about an hour and then tell myself off for wasting time!

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    1. It is. Remember these two are 'old hands'' at Twitter.... I have to be on Twitter more than I probably say, as I have to build up a following (check how many they have). If you're enjoying chatting, that's great..it's what Twitter is all about... oh - and thanks for dropping by again!!

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  11. Thank you for another EXCELLENT piece on this new world for me.Hmm have to learn what Pinned Tweet is and what you mean re. setting up page.I love your approach of it not being all about you. Oy do I love that. Something I will be navigating from here on out is how to keep writing head as I have added Twitterworld to my world. Have to say that it's been so fun and interesting.Carole, tried a new choc/sea salt bar: Chocolove's dark chocolate w/ sea salt and almonds. Divine!

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  12. Fantastic post, CarolStar! I've learnt a lot from reading these, but I've also learnt that I do a lot of what you suggest anyway, which is very rewarding when I think of you as the Queen of Twitter, which reminds me, I should change my pinned tweet once in a while :)

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  13. Learned a bit more that I didn't know, and although I'm still not able to put it all into practice due to so many factors, will keep many suggestions in mind.
    I also prefer to be online rather than schedule, but only manage once or twice at most a day. I RT others promo tweets, photos, comments, all those lovely little wisdoms - anything that takes my fancy. Also enjoyed the exchange from the learned panel members and chairperson!

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    1. thanks, Teagan, Val and Robyn... if these have helped any of you, I'm so pleased. They've been fun to write.

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  14. Carol, let's put it like this. It's bums on seats. Perhaps a wrong analogy nevertheless, it is the same principle. Getting 'it' out there is the thing and what counts. Taking what was [and by design] a very simple messaging exercise between chums has evolved. No longer simple, but simpler. Remember *Buffer*, when it lit up like a christmas tree?? Hootsuite is somewhat similar but with further options, and some neat little tricks all of its own. I could not have run my infamous ThankYouBoard without it. Not only is it opened on a separate tab but it has a memory of @ names in its message box. The option becomes do I send it now [once filled] or a couple of hours later. Equally, say you've created the perfect tweet - I know, we have that problem every hour of every day - Hootsuite will let you repeat it on Autoschedule up to ten times a day and even edit the times it goes out. All without adding/subtracting to it, as you would have to do with [old] Twitter, Buffer, even Tweetdeck. The best thing.... whatever the tweet, it is still 'your' tweet from start to finish. It aspires also to the very basics of my Celtic heritage... It's FREE. Which in a-round-about-way leads me to ask a question of you and others equally... Can you add [to those share boxes on the blog] a rss feed link? There's this new app which can take rss feeds and tweet them on a variable basis [from older to latest/new]. Proving a whiz for me as it reaches those in different time zones. Think of it as if someone just shared the blog on the tweet button - as we do - but three or four times over a few days... (without clogging up my email inbox to boot) Now, is that the phone ringing?


    He glared towards the hall...clearing his "chocolatey voice"..!

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    1. Aha. was awaiting this from someone....thanks (another expert) will look into the Rss feed.x

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