Twitter Tuesday #14

Welcome to the fourteenth 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 brandwill help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–Schitzo Tweeter

Schitzo Tweeter has more personalities than Sybil running around creating mayhem. Schitzo Tweeter is all about blitzing about his book…from every angle possible. He tweets as an alter-ego, tweets as his characters, and even tweets as his book. Great energy; wrong focus.

Schitzo Tweeters have the right spirit, but perhaps not the correct game plan. Having a half a dozen twitter identities so we can tweet “as our characters” or blitz about our novel is a waste of time. The best way to maximize Twitter is in creating relationships and forging alliances. This is social marketing, not traditional marketing. Gimmicks no longer work, and people long for authentic interactions.

Tweets cannot do what only our books can. Only our novels can make readers fall in love with our characters or stories. Kitschy tweets really will not have a long-lasting affect on our platform. Genuinely interacting with others, talking to them and supporting them AS A SINGULAR IDENTITY (brand) is a far better use of time.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Be a Transparent Tweeter

Share links and information, but also share a little bit of you and your life. Yes, we do care what you had for lunch. Talking about mundane stuff is an easy way for others to engage and start a conversation. Now if ALL you tweet about is your lunch, then you have a problem.  But, being authentic about our lives distinguishes us from the bots.

Also, show your face. Part of being transparent is letting us get to know special unique YOU. Give us a little credit. I don’t know about you guys, but in real life I don’t just befriend people who are model beautiful. I befriend others because they are nice, kind or interesting.

I blogged about this topic when I was in L.A., but one thing that will make us stand out on Twitter is a nice headshot of a smiling FACE. We are humans and we are wired to respond favorably to friendly, happy faces. I know that it was such a blessing to go to RT and actually run into people I knew from Twitter. I had seen their faces float by on my screen for months. Thus, when I finally met them in person, it felt more like catching up with an old friend.

Faces don’t have to be beautiful as much as they need to be welcoming. A pretty face with a sour expression does less than a very average face with a winning smile. There is nothing, per se, wrong with using a book cover or an avatar on Twitter, but I do feel that it will always keep our audience at an emotional distance. They won’t feel the same kind of connection.

And actually if you go look up all the best-selling authors, they have their picture as an icon (usually the picture on the back of their books). If we want to be like them, then it stands to reason we model what they do.

Get to know your fellow tweeps.

Tweet ya later!


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  1. Excellent advice as always, Kristen. I also find that I associate a name with a face and will recognize someone better across the social media sites if they keep the same photo on all of their networks. Maybe it’s a subliminal thing, I don’t know, but I have a harder time connecting a book cover or other picture to a name.

  2. Agree about seeing a face to who’s tweeting but it doesn’t bother me at all if the person isn’t smiling on their avatar. Lots of the tweeters I know have photos where they aren’t smling, and as you can see on my avatar, I am not smiling either, but I love that photo of me and it kind of goes well with my Urban Fantasy author type thing, a bit aloof and mysterious, which is how I am in real life, really, I even sleep with that hat and wake up in full make up (no, not really…hee hee)

    I tell you one thing I really enjoyed, it’s no really Tweet related, but I Tweeted about it there. Doing a narration of one of my flash stories via AudioBoo for Write Anything’s Spoken Sunday. Now, that got a great response because people could hear my own voice, reading my own flash story.

  3. Thanks for another great entry. I’m glad to see I’m on the right track with today’s lesson. I read about the importance of using your own picture on another writer’s blog (I believe she read that information in your book). I changed from the generic avatar I was using to my own smiling face. Though I have to admit finding one where I was not wearing sunglasses or holding a child was challenging. Such is the life of being the mom behind the camera and not in front of it, I suppose.

  4. People tweet as their characters? How odd… o_O

    About the face, I even feel embarrassed to post on your blog since I don’t use my face as an avatar. But being concerned about how you look is not the only reason why people don’t use a photo of themselves. I’m just paranoiac with the internet and I think you expose yourself too much when you put your picture.

    One day I think I’ll put my picture, but for now I feel more confortable without it.

  5. I just changed from a generic gravatar to one with my picture about a month ago. And, I finally posted pictures of myself on my blog for the first time (been blogging for 3+ years). I don’t really know why I hadn’t before. But, you’re right, I do like seeing people’s faces. The internet can be a cold, impersonal place, but if you see a picture of the person “talking” to you, it really adds a human element to it.

    I haven’t changed my twitter avatar yet, though. I’m just really attached to it!

  6. Great tips! In addition to tweets about my book and every day life, I try to mix in some humor, as well. I want to try to get a chuckle out of people b/c my psychological thriller is kind of dark. I’m afraid people will think I’m weird, if not a serial killer. So I lighten it up to keep the detectives away. It seems to be working so far, but my head is on a swivel just in case.

  7. So true about the faces. I know I am much more comfortable chatting with people who give me a face. I always keep in mind that it might not be their real face, but the fact that they chose that face tells me something. Thanks for another great post.

  8. I didn’t know there were people tweeting as their characters, thats a wow! I do know people with multiple accounts and I don’t know how they can keep up. I actually enjoy the interaction and conversation on twitter and I can hardly keep up with all the messages in my own account. I don’t know that it would even ocurr to me to even try to handle more than that. About the picture, it is true, as part of that interaction and converation it is good to connect with a face. Great post!

  9. Tweeting from the perspective of characters made me think of one of Queen Pet Peeves: when people write birth announcements or Christmas letters from the perspective of their babies.

    I agree about the faces. Those photos allow us to recognize the person, so you don’t look at the Twitter handle.

    I’ve been told, however, that my avatar freaks some people out. I’m strangely okay with that.

    • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter on April 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm
    • Reply

    To cut this post down to something you could Tweet:

    Be yourself, Use a Distinctive Image.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to do. Just curious – does anyone recognize my coat? It should be recognizable, and if you recognize it, you should know what it means 🙂


  10. The history prof in my is thinking of Oliver Cromwell who told the artist to paint him “warts and all.” He wanted to be shown as he really was or else, he said, he wouldn’t pay for or accept the commissioned work. We might not always be able to tell when someone is being fake, but we can almost always tell when someone is being real.

    • Tamara LeBlanc on April 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply

    Boy, I’ve been out of the loop for weeks now. A long vacation at the beach gave me a vicious case of sloth, and not only have I neglected my favorite blogs (this being one of them) but I’ve also neglected my novel.
    Yes, shame on me, but I’m back. I dusted the sand off my toes and the cob web from my head and linked on to Warrior Writers right away.
    Twitter Tuesday:) What a nice way to get back into the swing of things!
    I agree whole heartedly with the self image vs avatar tip. I tend to feel much more comfortable following or friending a smiling face with something to say rather than a cartoon or even a colorful geometric pattern.
    It doesn’t matter if a person is 20 yrs old or 100, gorgeous or homely, thin or fat. Genuine warmth in their expression, a huge smile, or even a goofy grin is the only thing that matters to me.

    Glad to be back! I’ll have to click on your archives over the last few weeks to catch up. Looking forward to learning more.
    Have a great day!

  11. I totally unfollow people that do this…lol

  12. Still wading around in the shallow end of the twitter pool (mostly due to poor tech abilities), I love having this advice every tuesday on how to best use twitter. I was actually just wondering about this topic too. I’ve really just been tweeting about my blog posts or other blogs/tweeps, but you’re right, it’s a place for people to get to know me too. Good advice once again!

  13. Tweeting using character’s names seem to be exhausting. I’m too lazy to do that.

    • Gene Lempp on April 20, 2011 at 7:40 am
    • Reply

    Great post Kristen! Day five on Twitter but I’m learning the ropes far faster thanks to all the great advice here on your site and in your book. I have a face now too, goodbye snowflake, lol. Hope everything is well in your world.

  14. Quote: “This is social marketing, not traditional marketing.” Greatly put :). But I’m not going to tweet what I ate for lunch 😀

    Thank you for the post 🙂

    • Alice Gould Butts on April 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    • Reply

    None yet, but my husband, Charlie Butts, the writer, and I, an artist, were thrilled with your book WE ARE NOT ALONE, so thank you!!! He learned of you from the L.A. WRITE STUFF conference. A former journalist and weekly newspaper publisher, he’s written his first novel and main interest is in YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD. His first novel is based on true stories of teenage heros and sheros in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They took on the Societ tanks and were victorious until crushed seven days later after demolishing the Stalin statue, etc. His other personal stories were from Civil Rights days in USA where college age youths also took a lead role in changing societal wrongs. Your book will get us started on his networking with young readers and favorite authors. The Cleveland, Ohio writers network is already wonderful, and we have global friendships, but so far, my Facebook experience hasn’t enticed him to explore social networking as much as your book!

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