Thursday, July 5, 2012
My Twitter Roundup
My first tip: If you haven't already set up a Twitter account, when you do (if you do), try to keep your handle as short as possible. Why? Because when people RT (retweet), the shorter your handle, the more text/tags they can add. If you already have a Twitter account, you can change your handle at any time. I recently went from @DonnaBMcNicol to @DBMcNicol.
But remember, you will need to change any reference you have to it - like on your website, blog side columns, signatures, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, Smashwords, Google+, Facebook pages...you'd be surprised where you might have put it. In my early e-books I listed my Twitter account. Now I just list my website, they can get to the rest from there and it cuts down on maintenance time for issues like this.
Here are some other sites I use: We've talked about TwitListManager, JustUnfollow, ManageFlitter, Buffer and HootSuite. There are other useful sites out there and two I use are Paper.li and Triberr.
Paper.li lets you set up your own little newsletter that it will publish based upon your preferences, sending you an email message when it's published. You can then tweet it out, referencing the tweeps that are in the newsletter. Try it...set up your own newsletter and see how it works. If you never tweet it, only you will see it. [NOTE: You can also produce a paper from your Facebook page or Google+ account. I haven't played with these yet.]
Triberr is more of a flock than a bird and it can be hard to explain. When you first join, you automatically become a tribe of one. You can then invite people to your tribe or you can just join other tribes (when invited) or do both. I opted to grow my own tribe. I also got invited into two other tribes. Currently there are 71 members of the three tribes and we collectively tweet to over 138,000 followers. Now that's power. [UPDATE: since I wrote this a week ago, it has grown to 81 tribemates with a total reach of 155,791 Twitter followers.)
Once you are a member of a tribe, you connect the feed for your blog (yes, you HAVE to have a blog as well as a Twitter account) to that tribe. One blog per tribe. That adds your new posts to the Tribal Stream. As tribe-mates log in, they see the new posts in the stream and can choose to approve the post or not. If approved, it will be retweeted to all their followers.
In the tribes I am a part of, we seem to have good members who all stay up to date on approving blogs. I've personally only not approved a couple and only because the content was too X-rated for my current audience. If it had been attached to my pen name Twitter account, they would have been fine.
So for a minimum of personal commitment, at least once a week, preferably more, you approve/tweet posts and your tribe-mates approve/tweet yours. I know this has increased my followers and I've also found a few new writing friends among the tribes.
If you are interested in joining my tribe at Triberr, please pass along your Twitter handle and I'll send you an invite! In fact I now have TWO tribes, My Write Spot - for general writing related blogs, and Flash Me - for flash fiction blogs. Let me know which one suits your blog best.
Others that I have tried but don't use are Friend or Follow and TweetDeck. Friend or Follow wasn't intuitive to me and I gave up quickly. I've gone back a couple of times based upon good reviews, sorry, not for me. TweekDeck is a site equal to HootSuite. If I hadn't tried HootSuite first, I might be using TweetDeck. I recommend you try both. They're free...
I also want to pass along something I just discovered about JustUnfollow, another great way to follow new folks. We all develop Tweeps (our Twitter BFFs), now you can see all their followers and chose to follow the ones that interest you. Just click the Copy Followers tab, enter a Twitter ID and scroll through the list. For me, this seems a perfect way to find more folks that interest you (and might be interested in you).
I have barely touched on the wide variety of tools that are available and I haven't gone into great detail on the ones mentioned. But hopefully this multi-part series on Twitter has helped you better understand how to use it without it abusing you.
One final note for those new to Twitter, Melinda Dozier had a great article this week about Twitter hashtags for writers. Check it out here.