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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Daily Archives: January 25, 2011

 

Welcome to the second installment of Twitter Tuesday. 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.

Today we have to do things differently. Why? My tips involve the hashtag conversations, but if you don’t know what a hashtag is or what it does, the tips will make no sense. Feel free to scroll down if you happen to be hashtag savvy.

For the rest of you, you might find yourself asking, What the heck is that # thingy I see all the time?

Here’s the deal. If you listened to me last week then you ran out and downloaded TweetDeck at the first available opportunity. Wait, what? You didn’t?

Okay…we’ll wait. *whistles, checks watch*

Kidding! But, seriously. Download TweetDeck (or a similar application). Trust me. It will make life simpler.

What is a #? That little # symbol is going to help you build a worldwide following. I know. That’s partly how I did it.

So what is it? Well, when you first join Twitter, you are all alone…save for the celebrities that Twitter gives you, but it isn’t like you and Ashton Kutcher are going to chit chat. So, you are going to have to make some friends. Hashtags will help you meet people who love to talk about the same things you do. When you place a # with a keyword at the end of your tweet, Twitter slots your tweet into a conversation shared by people all over the world bound by topic.

Some popular writer hashtags are:

#writegoal (place daily writing goals and keep each other accountable), #amwriting, #pubtip, #indie, #bookmarket, #amediting, #nanowrimo, #agent

Thus, when I tweet about my blog, often it looks like this:

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

My Tweet now will not just go out to my specific followers, it will be seen by the THOUSANDS of people all over the world who might be participating in those three popular hashtag conversations.

Why I recommend you download TweetDeck is that you can slot each hastag into its own column and then follow the people and conversations. When it comes to social media, we must interact and be vested in others, or we risk being perceived as fake and selfish. The hashtag is to help us meet and converse with others. It is not a new way to spam our fellow tweeps.

This Week’s Fail Whale

Using an auto-tweet system with hashtags.

BAD idea. This can get you banned to Twitter Limbo.

I am totally against authors using auto-tweets anyway. If our face and name are our Twitter identity, then our tweets need to be US. Writers are not @Starbucks. We can’t get away with auto-tweets. No one expects to have a conversation with @BestBuy. They will, however, expect conversation from us. And don’t think you can cheat. People are smart and will smell an automatically generated message a mile away…and then promptly ignore you, report you or unfollow you.

At the very least, they will think you are a big fat phony, and, in an age of people looking for authenticity, that is bad. It won’t win any friends, so I recommend just avoiding anything automatically generated. We really don’t need a Thank you for following me. Check out my awesome blog (link) sent to our direct messages. It’s not personal. It’s spam.

It really is better for you to tweet less, but it be genuinely you, than it is to assign a machine to pump out your message. Millions are gravitating to social media to escape spam. Bring these tactics into their sacred space and the penalty can be steep.

But, okay, you feel you must auto-tweet. Don’t say I didn’t try to talk you out of it. Do NOT include a hashtag. It is very likely you could clog up a whole column with your spam…um, tweets. Maybe you didn’t mean to, but since you weren’t present, you didn’t get to see the mess your auto-tweets were creating (think Mickey Mouse and the brooms). Then people get angry and they report you and Twitter bans you from using the most powerful tool you have to connect with people worldwide.

You could accidentally gum up all three hastag conversations like this:

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

@Kristen LambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

Now, I might have meant well, but folks on Twitter use these hashtag conversations to interact with a broader pool of people. If they see my tweet over and over and over and it is taking up the whole column, do you think it inspires them to like me? Or hunt me down with torches and pitchforks?

Also, the reason that I recommend TweetDeck is that you can see if your tweets are gumming up a column. I scan the #writegoal column to make sure I don’t already have a tweet talking about my blog in that column. If I do, I use another hashtag #amwriting or just wait to tweet about my blog. I try to only tweet 3 times a day to self-promote my blog. Morning, afternoon, evening to catch different Twitter crowds.

Make it a rule to promote others more than yourself, and you will rule the Twitterverse and even make some really awesome friends. Forget traditional marketing. Social media is a team effort.

This Week’s Twitter Tip

Now that you know what hashtags are, add them or change them when you RT for others.

I might see a writer who has an outstanding blog…but she didn’t add any hashtags. So, when I RT, I stick in a couple. Try not to do more than 3. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, it just (to me) feels less “spammy.”

But, what if one of your peeps has a GREAT blog and they did use hashtags? If you RT and leave the same hashtags, then you risk gumming up a column with the same link. So change them.

@KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help build your platform? (link goes here) #writegoal #nanowrimo #pubtip

RT @KristenLambTX Want to know how to use Twitter to help you build your platform? (link goes here) #amwriting #fiction #writer

Now my message will go into three totally different columns. This helps more writers SEE my blog and I don’t risk clogging up the conversation. People who follow the # conversations will really appreciate that. Also, it makes it where I don’t have to add 8 hashtags to the end. I know my tweeps will help me out.

I hope you enjoyed this installation of Twitter Tuesday.

Tweet ya later!

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