Twitter For Writers

Earlier this week, I received this lovely message from an email list subscriber:

“I really liked your blog posts on how to use Pinterest and Instagram as a writer, and was wondering if you had any tips on using Twitter…”

This is a pretty common struggle. Many writers use Twitter but fail to take full advantage of the platform. That includes me. I will be the first to admit that I tend to use Pinterest and Instagram more than Twitter, even though, I think I have a pretty good Twitter following. However, while researching for this article, I am happy to admit that I fell in love with the platform all over again, and am eager to take full advantage of it this year.

In the following post, I will give you a crash course in Twitter vocabulary, a guide to Twitter Dos and Don'ts, and seven steps to help you get started, and noticed, in the Twitter universe.

Twitter Words You Need to Know:

·# (Hashtag): A hashtag is any word with the # symbol in front of it. Hashtags are used to organize conversations, meet and follow people with similar interests, or promote things such as your book or blog. Some popular hashtags used in the writing community can be found in the accompanying image. 

Twitter Writing Hashtags.png

·Retweet: You can retweet a Tweet by hitting the retweet button underneath a Tweet and selecting "Retweet." 

·Quote Tweet: You can retweet a tweet, and add your own commentary, by hitting the retweet button and selecting: "Quote Tweet."

·Mention: If you want a user to see your Tweet, you can use the @ symbol in front of their username to bring the Tweet to their attention. All mentions are clickable and will link back to that user’s profile.

·DM: If you want to private message a Twitter user, you can direct message them by using the appropriate Twitter button on their profile.

·Lists: Twitter allows you to make lists. You can create lists by clicking on your photo in the upper lefthand corner and selecting "Lists." This tool can be used to keep track of writers, book cover designers, publishers, bloggers, or any other group you want to keep track of. To add a user to a list, go to their profile, click on the gear icon, or settings, select "Add/remove from lists", and add them to a list you have created. You can also see what lists they are subscribed to, or a member of, by selecting "View Lists."

·A Pinned Tweet: Pinning a Tweet allows you to pick a Tweet to stay at the top of your profile. This will be the first Tweet other users see when they visit your profile, and can be a helpful way to promote a blog post, your book, your email list, or something interesting.

Twitter Dos and Don'ts:


o   Be engaging: Tweet regularly and interact daily. Ask questions, start conversations, be authentic, and join fun Twitter games like #authorconfession You can also find a list of daily Twitter writing events here

o   Utilize polls: Your followers will respond, and potentially even retweet your poll for more exposure. You just need to ask!

o   Link to your blog posts.

o   Retweet your favorite Tweets.

o   Use Tweets to generate excitement about upcoming books, products, or services. Post links to interviews, or guest blog posts.

o   Use hashtags.

·Do Not:

o   Becoming overly political or religious unless this fits your overall brand.

o   Over promote yourself: Show love to others and they will do the same in return. No one likes someone who is self-centered.

o   Follow hundreds of accounts at one time that you won’t interact with just to have a big number on your profile.

o   Post duplicate links repeatedly.

o   Direct message people asking them to buy your book: This can be annoying.

Seven Steps to Becoming a Twitter Pro:

·Create a Twitter handle: If a name you like is already taken, you could put an underline in the name, a hyphen, or put the word author in front of it.

·Fill out your entire profile and use keywords: If people are searching the word editor, writer, blogger, or author and you have those words in your profile, Twitter may display your profile in the search results. Displaying your location is also a good way to connect with other writers, authors, bloggers, etc. who live close to you.

·Link back to your website: If you have a website or a blog link it. Most people are likely to visit their favorite user’s website, but if you don’t have it linked you could miss out on potential sales or engagement.

·Put up a photo: Have fun with this. It can be a real photo, a staged photo, an avatar, etc., but at least display something other than the ugly generic egg thing Twitter automatically gives you.

·Start Following People:  Follow authors, or bloggers, you like, influential people in your niche, or people you find through various Twitter hashtags. It’s also a good idea to follow people who follow you, retweet you, or shout you out for #followfriday

·Get Followers: People will discover you as you engage with the writing community via popular hashtag games or conversations. You can also direct people that follow your website, or blog, to your Twitter profile by displaying the Twitter icon and asking them to follow you.

·Have Fun! People on Twitter want to connect with other writers. Play around with hashtags, tweet regularly, engage with others, and you’ll quickly see your Twitter following grow.

Was this article helpful? Do you think Twitter can work for you? Are you already finding a lot of success using it? Do you need me to explain something in a little more detail? Leave a comment down below!

Happy Writing!