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!
Hello. My name is Clay, and I’m a poacher.
Phew. Thanks for creating a safe space like this where I can be myself! You’re right about the clueless tweeps too, but I am thinking now of your Clive Barker example. Until now, I haven’t really gone after the followers of a few writers I like. Makes sense though.
I think it’s hard sometimes to figure out what works and what’s crossing a line in social media. I just found Kindleboards and already got slapped for “self-promoting” because I put a link to one of my books I was using as an example. Yet you can have your book covers inside any comment you make. So I’m figuring out the rules on yet another social media site. Sometimes it’s smart to take a day or two and just watch, before leaping. Not that I’m known for that.
LOL…it IS hard. We need to be polite, but still “ask for the sale.” Good thing about social media is people have short memories, and we are all works in progress :D.
Hurray fellow poachers! I did this when I started focusing on writing. I went though my friends who were writers follwing lists, lists, googled publishers, agents, tracked down my favorite authors – all of it! I don’t talk to all of them, but reading their tweets, the things they say and retweet is educational. I was and still am surprised by the friendships I’ve made with some authors. They act like it isn’t a big deal, but I’m guilty of fangirling when they twitter back at me, or send me emails. Twitter is such a great connection tool. Thanks Kristen!
When I first started Tweeting, I was very nervous. What if I do it wrong? I didn’t want to alienate people right off the bat. Especially since I hoped joining Twitter might gain me a few fans and followers.
The whole thing was kind of scary.
But I think I’ve gotten the hang of it. I’m not nervous anymore. I try my best to be polite and respectful. And I beleive I’m a darn good poacher too:)
Thanks for Twitter Tuesday Kristen!!
Have a fabulous, and productive day:)
An educational post as usual. You’ve got the best advice around on all things social media. Thanks!
Poaching is my favorite! You find all sorts of interesting people, and they can find you too simply because you follow the same people. I can tell you it brightens my day when I open my email in the morning to find someone new is following me!
Great blog again, Kristen. I really love this Twitter Tuesday theme!
I started following people that were following my likes, and now I have new people following me! Never knew history and art would have such a wide audience. Museums are the best places to find other groups to follow, and individuals with the same likes you have. Poaching is no longer a bad thing!
What’s wrong with poaching anyway? You follow those people from the person you’re following… That’s just one degree of separation. Chances are, if we’re in real world, we are bound to know the same people that others know. We meet a lot of people in a wedding or at a party. We would only be there if we either know the people throwing the party or if we work for them. Twitter just makes it global.
I’m one of the clueless Tweeps. I tell people that I admire them (which I do) and I ask if they could help me with stuff simply because it would be awesome if they do. I still keep forgetting to use DM.
To my surprise, I’m really loving Twitter, and Kristen and Piper Bayard were the first to make me feel welcomed – thanks guys! Since I am kind of an introvert, I have a hard time asking people for favors. I’m more comfortable at the other end of that dynamic. Even tweeting about my blog makes me nervous – how often should I tweet about it? What if people think I’m being self-serving? (What a shameless, blogging hussy). Silly, huh?
Ah, well – I’m a work in progress. 😉
Thanks Kristen, as always. I put on my calendar to start adding followers of the big-name authors in my genre. That was definitely worth reading your insightful post!
I poach the #WW and #FF tweets of the tweeters I like, respect, and want to immulate. I’m assuming that’s the reason they’re sending them out. Call me crazy. Great post, AGAIN, Kristen.
No, that’s the point of #WW and #FF. It is really helpful, especially when you are starting out on Twitter. Once you get a really large following it can be harder to do, but that’s agood problem to have, LOL.
Don’t immolate us, please! (someone smell something burning??)
OOOUCH!!! <:-) My bad. LOL. Sorry for the unintentional sacrificial reference.
Yeah I hate condensation from others. We all make mistakes :D.
Just can’t resist puns and word play. Didn’t mean to embarrass anyone. Sad face.
If that’s the most embarrassed I get this week, then I’ve had a great week. 🙂 It’s all good Kathy (((hug))).
Um..get it? Condensation? Not condescension? What fun are malpropisms if I can get a little giggle?
I’ve got to stop leaving replies during work breaks. I screw up words and then can’t even catch an oblivious joke. Later. 🙂
While I am now ON Twitter it still scares the bejesus out of me – not because I’m worried about making a fool out of myself (already fully qualified) but because there’s SO MUCH COOL STUFF BEING TWEETED.
If you spend so much time on various social media, Kristen, how do you get ANYTHING else done? Do you have like time limit rules: I’ll allowed 15 mins following awesome tweet-link action? Then I have to, like, look after child/acknowledge partner’s existence/write book/eat and so on?
For instance right now I have…*counts*… 17 browser tabs open. Thank god for Firefox. 7 of those are YOUR fault. And they’re all really interesting and relevant and I do want to read them… but the time I’m reading them, I’m not beating the crap out of my novel outline with an iron bar.
…or is this a problem only I have…?!!
Me, too! And it’s really cutting into my FreeCell time 😉
Finally ventured into the twitterverse. It’s a little scary right now but I’m so glad for these posts! I’m working on poaching right now.
Click the button to follow me on Twitter and look up @PiperBayard. We’ll plug you in :D.