Twitter Tuesday #8

Welcome to the eighth 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 Unbalanced Tweeter

I have a formula for social media, and it especially applies to Twitter. I call it my Law of Three.

1/3 Information + 1/3 Reciprocation + 1/3 Conversation = Balanced Platform.

If we get on Twitter and all we do is chit-chat about the weather, what we had for lunch, or whether we should get the grande or venti frappucino, it will be hard for others to find much value in our conversation. Yet, on the other hand, if all we do is tweet links, then we leave no opening for others to start a conversation. We sound like an on-line encyclopedia.

In the beginning, I had to put a sticky note on my computer to remind me of this Law of Three. It reminded me to make sure I balanced my Chatty Cathy side with good information to give a relationship with me value added. It also helped me be mindful that I wasn’t overselling my own blogs, books, workshops. The bright pink sticky flower kept me focused on serving others first.

Spend some time on Twitter and it will soon be clear who can be counted on to post good information. RT (retweet) for them and earn their loyalty by being supportive. In turn, your following will grow because now YOU can be counted on to supply valuable posts.

I have seen some people join Twitter, and, as a gimmick, all they do is post blogs or articles on a certain subject. Post after post about writing, Superman, video games, Star Wars, etc. Don’t get me wrong, that is a valuable service, but it isn’t likely to build a relationship. Relying on a tactic like this might get you a huge Twitter following, but you become as personal as an app on our phone. That’s not likely to help your author brand.

The strongest author platforms are built on friendships and reinforced with community “rebar.”


Twitter Tip–Use Twitter for Information Management to Save Time

I hear so many writers groan about Twitter. “Why do I care what somebody had for lunch?” At first glance, Twitter might appear to be only a vehicle for inane conversation. I am here to help you guys look closer.

How many of you like to read on-line articles or blogs?

How many of you like sifting through 20 bad articles or blogs that make no sense before you find something worthwhile?

How many of you prefer to go to links your friends recommend?

How many of you prefer to go to the links the “experts” recommend?

Most of us, when we make the decision to become a writer, don’t generally have vast amounts of free time. We have a day job or even small children who are actively pursuing death while we try to make our word count. Our life is a fine balance of writing before or after work. Or you might be me and struggling to pound out a chapter before the wee one wakes up and finds a way through the baby gate and into the fireplace where he can snack on Crayons, razor blades and toilet cleaner in private.

So let’s just say we are spread a tad thinly.

Twitter can help us use time more efficiently. Have a favorite author? Run a search on Twitter and find her. Pay attention to links she recommends. Follow Writers Digest Magazine (@WritersDigest) or even their contributing editor Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman). WD goes out of its way to regularly tweet great articles not only to help us with our craft, but to help us with the business side of things.  They regularly announce workshops to help us grow in our profession and even offer steep Twitter discounts. That alone should be worth being on Twitter.

After you follow them?

For starters, follow me. I have a nice button in the sidebar to make it easy for you. Then, I recommend you follow @BobMayer, @DonMaass, @JodyHedlund, @JamiGold, @TawnaFenske, @ChuckWendig, @agentsavant, @ThereseWalsh and @4KidLit. If you follow just this handful I mentioned, you will have more than enough material to feed your creative brain for a looooong time. These are just a small fraction of the awesome people I know on Twitter and, trust me I pay attention to EVERYTHING these guys post.

Using Twitter can help us work smarter, not harder. We still have best-selling books to write!

Tweet ya later!


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  1. Wow, thank you! *blush* Um, I’m feeling the pressure now. 🙂

      • Tamara LeBlanc on March 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm
      • Reply

      No need to feel pressured Jami. Your info is always great.
      I’m a big fan:)

  2. I’ve been on Twitter for a few months, and it’s interesting though I get tired of those who have to constantly announce they’re going on their coffee break/lunch/dinner *yawns* but I try to stick to that rule you mention, though sometimes I forget. Another interesting thing is that I am getting more referrals to my blog from my Facebook page, instead of Twitter!

  3. On Kindle boards I see people wondering how they can market better on Twitter– the key to marketing is not to market, but to build community. I also think there are times a little controversy can help gain attention.
    A big thing, though, is consistency. I really believe the future of successful authors will be those who only write good books but are consistent with their presence in social media.

  4. Thanks for being my ‘sticky note’! This is why I love your blog!

    • Tamara LeBlanc on March 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm
    • Reply

    Excellent info!! And thanks so much for the @ list. I follow most of them (@JamiGold is awesome) but there are a few there I didn’t know about. Can’t wait to see what they have to say.
    Love Twitter Tuesdays. Keep em coming!
    Have a productive day:)


    • PJ Kaiser on March 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm
    • Reply

    Great post as always – I like your rule of thirds 🙂 and there are a couple of new twitter peeps for me to follow!

  5. Rule of thirds: One third goof, one third share knowledge, one third talking. God it. 🙂

  6. I attended your social media seminar at DFWcon. Now I’m taking babysteps. Joined twitter, set up blog…now I’m following, retweeting and such. Thanks for being so generous to all of us baby writers!

  7. I like the idea of balance and am already practising my own version of this on Twitter, but I’m not quite following your terminology. I can see that if you tweet a link to an article, that’s clearly information. But if you RT a link you got from another tweet, is that information or reciprocation? If you respond to someone who mentioned you, is that reciprocation or conversation? If you tweet about your day, is that conversation even if you’re not talking directly to anyone?

    I try to balance:
    – links to articles / “best of” my RSS feed that day / RTed links
    – responses to other people’s tweets (both people I’m following and people I’m not–I find them through hashtags, mostly)
    – responses to tweets that mention me / thanks for following (tweeted, not DMed!) / thanks for RTing
    – tweets about current events or my day
    – plus the occasional Twitter chat

    I find the second last category the hardest. Being a filter for information, sure, I can do that. Responding to / conversing with other people, sure. Coming up with interesting things to say about what I’m doing or what I’ve observed about the world today? Well…let’s just say there’s a reason I write SF&F. 😀 Anyone have tips?

    1. Actually you are correct…Reciprocation, Conversation and Information often bleed into each other. I can RT a friend’s post and that serves both Information AND Reciprocation. Conversation is just engaging with others. I follow the #writegoal column and actively look for people who made their goals. Offer a congratulations. Or, is someone struggling? Tweet a “You can do it!” Yes, it comes out of the ether for these people, but it is often a pleasant surprise that can spark a friendship.

      Sounds like you are doing great :D.

      1. Thanks for the clarification (makes sense now) and the compliment!

    • Joanna Aislinn on March 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm
    • Reply

    And all us preschooler social medialists, lol. Seriously, I wake up looking for the Twitter post every Tues. Still far from savvy but Learning!

  8. The break down of thirds is a big help! There is so much information out there, plenty to retweet, but none on how to have the conversation. Your book is awesome, more pages tonight!

  9. I hated twitter at first but I’m really getting into it and your advice is awesome. I think I’ve just about got that rule of threes going, almost. At first I definitely put too many links up without the banter but I am shy and I have found a way to spread out the conversations to people you don’t know very well. be chatty with the people you know really well first, (no brainer) and re-tweet great links from those you don’t know so well. You’ll end up thanking each other for re-tweeting and get started on an interaction. it only takes a couple of tweets between people to break the ice.

  10. I used to be one of the people who said I don’t care about what someone had for lunch. Now I regularly flaunt my peanut butter fetish. ‘Accept me world’ is the message I subtly send with each mention about being a drink box guzzling professor.

    • Gene Lempp on March 9, 2011 at 9:30 am
    • Reply

    I think Bob Mayer hits it on the head, the best way to market isn’t to actively try to sell or trick people into buying. That may get you one sale but leave a bad taste. The best way is through community, be there for others, listen, assist, etc and they will do the same for you. That is the truest marketing and the one that lasts the longest, and all you really have to be is a decent human being.
    Thanks for another wonderful post Kristen. Setting up Twitter this Saturday and I’ll use the list you provided as my very first “follows”. Well, after my wife that is, she deserves the first place.

    • Tamika on March 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm
    • Reply

    Great post Kristen! Twitter is fast becoming one of my favorite social networking tools. The heaps of great information, articles, authors and overall great conversation are addicting. You address some solid truths about Twitter being a valuable vehicle for the well rounded Tweeter- thanks!

  11. I do struggle with twitter – time time time – and how to use it wisely. I have a deadline; I have facebook; I have a blog; I have to sleep *laugh* – and twitter seems one more thing I need to do and it hasn’t been as fun ior “fruitful” (and I don’t necessarily mean followers, but finding good information as well) as my blog or FB.

    I subscribed here, and am following you on twitter now. Thanks to Sharla!

  12. Great post! I’m still figuring out the nuances of Twitter and exactly how to make it as productive as possible so this is very timely:)

  13. I like that rule of 3, I think it’s a very good advice about Twitter. A lot of people would only do the two: they tweet about their life or send links, but don’t talk to others – which makes them worse than microblogging, because on a blog, you usually get reply from the author.
    But there’s also another type, who only talk to others when they tweet, and to be honest, it makes me feel like I’m an outsider at this party. Not a good feeling!

  14. thank you! I am reading this because Jody Hedlund tweeted a link to it. Lucky me! I have been thinking about exactly the concept of “ratio”, so I really appreciate your input. Now to go read the rest of your twitter series!

  15. Good tips and information. I think I will try those.

  16. Twitter seemed foreign to me after a year on facebook, but then I installed Tweetdeck on my computer and Twitter literally came alive!!! I can see all my streams at once, peeps I follow, mentions, direct messages, etc. It’s REALLY cool!!

    I’m glad to see after reading your post that I feel I do pretty well with the balance of 3’s. GREAT article!! Love to get people started with Twitter. 🙂

  1. […] But then Kristen Lamb said I had to (no really…she threatened me and everything…it was very scary…okay, I’m kidding…sorry Ms Lamb). She pointed out that building a community on Twitter is a fantastic way to not only serve and encourage others but to build a platform as a writer. She has an excellent book on the subject called We Are Not Alone-The Writer’s Guide to Social Media (why do I always hear the theme for X-Files when I hear the first part of that title?) and immensely helpful posts about Twitter specifically (Twitter Tuesdays). […]

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