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Is there a point to tweeting, from an author's POV? Yes, it can be a huge timesuck, and sometimes it's nice to check out the latest viral phenomena (I believe this week it's a YouTube video of a squirrel caught in a submarine, or possibly a badger shredding a Volkswagon). But does anyone really benefit from your tweets about your next event, or the newest 5-star review from eyeluvbooks.com?
With all that's out there, is anybody reading you?
Odds are, no. Tweets are fleeting, the Internet equivalent of shouting information at the Super Bowl. Sure, the guy in front of you may like what you said, even nudge his pal to pass it on, but it's statistically impossible that the folks on the other side of the field are ever going to know you exist.
But you can increase your odds. A little fact-checking around the web results in scores of tips and hints to help you move your information on.
Here's a few ideas, but you'll easily find more.
- Make your Twitter presence visible. Link to your Twitter account from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and your blog, as well as in your business and personal email signatures, depending on whom you want to reach. How else will your friends and close contacts know to follow you?
- Tweet on topic. Yes, everyone loves to vent and/or pass along photos of kittens (the Internet is made of cats, after all), but you need to remember why you're there. If you're tweeting to tell everyone the status of your book and publisher, great. If you find you are making up most of your tweets with rants about the quality of service at WalMart, you've gone off course.
- Add value. Don't post garbage. To build your reputation on Twitter, give people something they won't find elsewhere. You'll have to think about what's valuable—interesting, compelling, humorous, helpful, informative—to your followers based on your theme.
- Use hashtags. Hashtags are the "pound" (#) symbol that precede a word or string of words in Twitter. If your theme is writing, include "#writing" in some of your tweets; anyone searching for that term will see your posts. Whatever keywords relate to your theme, turn them into hashtags. Selectively follow people who use the same tags. Start building up your own community.
- Be selective. Don't be someone who clicks 'follow' on every person or organization you find. Seek out those who will want to hear what you have to say. It's easy to follow 10,000 people; it's much harder to have 10,000 people follow you.
There are literally hundreds more ideas, but this should get you started.
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