Twitter Tuesday #17

Welcome to the seventeenth 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. My tips will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–Tunnel-Vision Tweeter

My Twitter tips are specially geared toward those who are desiring to build a platform and become a brand. Cutesy monikers will collapse a platform and render all of our tweets meaningless busy work. The only acceptable Twitter handle is the name that will be printed on the front of our books. Readers cannot buy a book from @booklady, so what is the point spending months or years contributing content to build a meaningless brand? For more about author branding, go here.

This said, many writers go try to get their name and realize…It’s TAKEN! And that’s when panic can set in. Calm down. This is the time to get creative. Use all that creative energy applied to dreaming up @pixiegal and apply it to the name you desire to brand.

Guess what? @KristenLamb was taken. That’s why I am @KristenLambTX. I probably could have been @Kristen_Lamb or @the_KristenLamb or even issued myself a license to kill, @KristenLamb007. The point is that followers see what is most vital…my NAME. If you find you MUST choose, the last name is most vital, since that is how people will eventually look up our books so they can BUY them😀.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Highlander Tweep

There can be only one.

No, Highlander Tweep doesn’t go around whacking heads off the competition.  Stop pouting. Highlander tweep does, however, understand branding. She knows that branding is more than a name. Our name is only half of the equation.

OUR NAME + OUR CONTENT= OUR BRAND

Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Dan Brown…not terribly unique names. That is because content is what defines the brand. “Stephen King” was just a very boring name until one writer linked that name to horror so many times that the name, itself, became synonymous with the content (*cough* that’s a brand, btw).

On Twitter there is only ONE special, wonderful, unique YOU. Yes, there are others who maybe have the same name, but they DON’T have the most vital part of the equation…your content. So, feel free to be Highlander Tweep and feel confident that you are the only one…even if other people have the same name.

Tweet ya later! 

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  1. #1 by K.B. Owen on May 17, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    That common-as-dirt-name thing sure applies to me. That’s why I followed your advice (from your WANA book) back in December and became @kbowenwriter. It’s both my name and what I do. Great tip, thanks Kristen!

  2. #2 by Jami Gold on May 17, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    Great point about how if you have to choose a different name, then concentrate on the last name. I’ve seen some people have first name and last initial, but that’s not really going to help people find your books any more than a cutesy name. Great job!

  3. #3 by Heidi on May 17, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Wise words from a wise woman. You know the first 3 days I was on twitter my handle was “BwareoftheSnark”? I did like that one (sigh). Then again, I also thought I’d never talk to *strangers* on twitter either. How wrong I was. So on day three I changed my oh-so-clever moniker to my actual name. Fortunately, because I have a rather weird name that consists of two first names, no one else in twitterville had it. Hooray!

    One thought, for what it’s worth. I find it incredibly difficult to search for people who have underscores in their name. I always get the placement of the underscore wrong and end up not finding them. So I would avoid them if possible.

  4. #4 by Roni Loren on May 17, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Great tip! And what i would add is that if you have to put something extra because your name is taken, try not to go with a number. For some reason, that makes it hard for me to remember when I’m trying to think of someone’s twitter handle. I always end up having to go do a search and that’s a pain. Adding TX to the end of yours makes it easy to remember. Even the underscore throws me sometimes because I’m like–wait, does this person use an underscore or not–off the the search button again. I like KB’s above too, adding writer to the end would be memorable.

  5. #5 by Terrell Mims on May 17, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    There can be only one Kristen Lamb. Great blog. I am so thankful I met you before I started tweeting because I would probably have used my own name, but after seeing other cutesy handles I may have switched ti YAwriterman or LSUwriter. Thanks so much for your sage wisdom.

  6. #6 by Robin Lythgoe on May 17, 2011 - 3:01 pm

    Another wonderful post. I really enjoy reading these — they’re informative and fun, too. Thanks for all you do.

  7. #7 by amyshojai on May 17, 2011 - 3:38 pm

    So finally, I’m lucky…far as I know there are no other Amy Shojai authors out there. Although there are some other Shojai authors (they do oil research, though…I do oily dogs and cats). Exactly the same, only different *eg*

  8. #8 by Tiffany A White on May 17, 2011 - 3:57 pm

    Oh, you should see the other Tiffany White out there in the twitterverse…thank Heavens I threw the middle initial in there. I think the other TW is into porn…not kidding. I had no idea my name was so common….

  9. #9 by Cher Dawn on May 17, 2011 - 4:01 pm

    Hi. I have your book. : ) It rocks.

    The name game has been a pain in my butt from the start. First, I’ve been on-line since AOL, yeah, that just dated me. lol Back then when you got on line you were told to choose one of those fake-out names to protect your identity. I chose Wulfshado and am known in most circles as Wulfie. Then enter writing…branding drew a blank for me forever till you made it clear that my brand is the name associated with the book. (Yeah, I felt like a total dork and rolled my eyes at myself so much that one of them fell out of my head. I mean DUH on me.)

    My real name sucks. I HATE it. I’ve been trying it as my first and middle name but still hate it and there’s a million of them. My real last name is also way too common and to top it off I have a sister-in-law with the same name including the middle initial. She writes smut – I mean, not the nice kind of erotic. lol So I don’t want to have that cross over or confusion going on. I suppose I could use my maiden name – but it is so common that people will sing songs about farm animals so NOOoo I don’t want to use that either.

    That leaves me with the pen name option. If I choose a pen name and brand that will there be any fall out from doing that later IF I happen to become successful as a writer?

    Second question: the vote seems to be that if I write in various genres and/or write both fiction and non-fiction that I should brand a name to each of them? Evidently, it would be too confusing to readers? (which means having to have more than one site/blog too?) Really?! Geeze…

    Please advise. Thanks! (I have to go look for my lost eyeball now.)

    • #10 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 17, 2011 - 11:15 pm

      I think you worry too much and a name is only half the brand. Yes, your sis-in-law writes smut, but her content defines HER band, not yours. People won’t get confused. Give us a little credit. Don’t worry about the name being common. Is Sandra Brown THAT glamorous? Your content will define you. And no…one name. Having to have a new name for every genre is old paradigm. Ten years ago people didn’t communicate daily with their fave writers via Twitter and Facebook. Things are changing.

  10. #11 by Jenny Hansen on May 17, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    My other Jenny Hansens are NCAA record-setting gymnasts, two artist/photographer types and an LDS author who spells it with an “ie” on the end. If not for Kristen, I’d be boo-hooing in my beer about my common name.

    WITH Kristen’s advice, I’ve jumped from the 4th page to the 1st page in Google results. I’m competitive…I’m aiming for one of the top three spots. I mean, I at least want to be above the gymnast who hasn’t competed since the late 90’s…

    The @jhansenwrites on Twitter is working for me but it was a lucky guess on my part. I had no Kristen in my life when I started.😦

  11. #12 by Les Howard on May 17, 2011 - 8:09 pm

    The @LesHoward twit is a minister so, rather than arguing with God, I chose LesHowardCA instead. There are also two other Les Howards who are photographers.

  12. #13 by Piper Bayard on May 17, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    Great advice, Kristen. I personally hope you win your War on Monikers because I can’t stand them. I just don’t take anyone seriously who has one. Thanks for your post.

  13. #14 by Sonia G Medeiros on May 17, 2011 - 10:03 pm

    I’m so glad that I switched to my name on Twitter and my blog. It seemed like such a huge step, but it really wasn’t. It makes all the difference to have my name and face out there, connected with my content. I know I respond more warmly when I can see a human face and a real name. Plus the point about not being able to buy a book from @book lady.😀

    • #15 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 17, 2011 - 11:11 pm

      You remind me of the kid who is terrified of the diving board, but when you finally get her to jump….there is no prying her away, LOL. It has been so wonderful to watch you grow and gain confidence.

  14. #16 by educlaytion on May 18, 2011 - 1:07 am

    If we were immortal I would totally get your back against the Kurgan. I bet his name isn’t taken on Twitter.

  15. #17 by Marilag Lubag on May 18, 2011 - 5:42 am

    Common names. I’m 99.99% sure I’m the only Marilag Lubag in the world (unless one of my cousins who share my last name marry another Marilag). I used to ask my parents what they’re thinking for naming me my name. Now I’m glad they did, because that way, I don’t have to share my name with them.

  16. #18 by Gene Lempp on May 19, 2011 - 5:30 pm

    The name thing was the greatest struggle for me at first. Now that I’ve become accustomed to using it and made so many great new friends through Twitter and my blog I’m exceedingly glad that I took Kristens advice on this.

    Oh and: We may each be one, but We Are Never Alone🙂

  17. #19 by Siri Paulson on May 19, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    Hmmm. I have an underscore in my Twitter account, because my name is unusual and I thought it would help people remember it if they saw first and last separated (Siri_Paulson). What do you guys think, should I change it?

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 19, 2011 - 8:01 pm

      I think you are fine. I have a TX after my name. If you build your brand like I teach then you will be easy to find on a google search. Just make sure your web site and FB pages have where to follow you on Twitter.

      • #21 by Siri Paulson on May 19, 2011 - 8:39 pm

        Thanks for the advice! My Twitter account comes up near the top of a Google search, so I’m doing fine there (thanks to taking your advice on using my name when I created my account!).

        I don’t yet have a blog or solo web site (I know, I know…), but the multi-writer site I’m part of doesn’t show up when I search my name, even though my name is all over it. That’s not good — need to figure out what’s going on there.

    • #22 by Les Howard on May 19, 2011 - 9:58 pm

      I think SiriPaulson would also work fine without the underline. Most people would understand it’s your first & last names.

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