Welcome to the sixth installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.
This Week’s Fail Whale–The Clueless Tweep
We all do dumb things on Twitter. They key is not making a habit out of doing dumb things. Sometimes, especially when it comes to social media, we forget that normal social rules still apply. People still want to be in a conversation, so we need to be mindful that we are listening as well as talking.
Social media is one of those odd places where stalking is permitted and even encouraged…so long as we are polite and don’t cross certain implied boundaries.
For instance, I am sure we can follow @JustinTimberlake, but asking him in a public tweet to listen to our new song is being impolite.
That might seem like a no-brainer, but I see this happen quite a lot in the writing world. If we want someone to read our manuscript, edit a story, read our query letter, there is nothing wrong with asking. We just need to do so via a private message. Either DM or, if the other person isn’t following us and we can’t DM, go to their profile and find their web address and an e-mail and ask them that way. In private. Where they can feel free to ignore us or politely say no. Or where they can feel free to say yes without 6000 other hopeful writers pulling the same stunt.
There is nothing wrong with asking. I am in the process of collecting blurbs for my upcoming books. I made a list of all my favorite authors and public figures and sent each of them a personal e-mail. I didn’t expect a reply, but as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I did NOT, however, publicly tweet:
@JamesRollins Hey, would you read my book?
@GuyKawasaki I am a huge fan. Would you blurb my book about blogging?
@JamesScottBell Would you be my critique partner?
@SusanWiggs I can’t get an agent. Could you introduce me to yours?
Some of these “favors” are just bad form no matter what. But, we do sometimes have to take risks. That’s okay. Just do so in private and the good news is that if you unwittingly screw up and committ a social taboo…you didn’t do it in front of the entire world :D.
Twitter Tip–Learn to Poach
When we start out on social media it is a huge bummer being alone. I’ve been there. How do we find friends? There are a lot of ways, but in my opinion, the best way to find quality tweeps is to poach them. Find people you know and like on Twitter, then follow who is following them or who they are following. Chances are, they are your kind of peeps.
On Twitter, most people will follow you if you follow them. It is courtesy. Unless you are a bot, most people are generally real social and happy to include you.
I always brag that I am friends with the best people on Twitter (because it is true :D). If you are new, befriend me, then I advise you poach my friends. They rock. Follow me. Watch who I RT, who I chat with…and friend them. So long as you are polite and contribute, no one will mind.
Poaching comes in handy when building a platform. You can befriend people who like your genre. Trust me, if you write horror, poaching @CliveBarker ‘s peeps is probably a step in the right direction. You are taking the first step to being friends with the very sort of people who like what YOU like…being scared stiff.
Tweet ya later!