Twitter is like an ocean. It’s full of sharks that will eat you and strong currents that will suck you away from all hope of rescue. Unfortunately, if you’re a writer, you’re currently standing on the deck of the sinking Titanic, and you either need to jump into the Twitter ocean or risk going down with the ship.
More and more agents and editors want to know about your platform, and platform no longer means what it used to. Now one of the key things they want to know is what kind of social media presence you have. In part, that means Twitter.
So how do you survive, especially if no one ever taught you how to swim? Over the next three days at Girls With Pens, I’ll give you a Twitter survival guide (including how to build a following and how to avoid wasting time on Twitter).
Building a following on Twitter will always take time, but I hope these lessons will make it much easier for you than it was for me. (Sadly, I made many of the mistakes I’ll be warning against, and it stunted my Twitter growth.)
Today, we want to avoid becoming shark bait.
An Alternative Title For This Post Could Have Been “4 Things to Avoid So You Don’t Get Deleted From People’s Follow List.”
Spamming is when you take up the whole screen because you’ve posted 5 tweets in the span of a minute. It’s like someone who monopolizes a conversation. Or someone who drinks the only fresh water left rather than sharing it. Give other people a chance to be heard.
If you have something special going on—like a contest—I understand that you need to tweet it regularly. But if you’re simply tweeting the same old post every single day, multiple times a day, for a week (enough so I notice) and you can’t even bother to change the 140 characters you’ve written about it, you get a strike. You’re like a person who never comes up with any new ideas on how to get rescued. Re-tweeting old blog posts is great, but spread them out and add new content.
(3) Being Boring
If you’re using twitter to socialize with friends and family, tweet whatever you want. If you’re using it as part of your social media platform, please, please, don’t tweet every day about your meals. Unless you’re eating something strange like haggis and you’re going to tell me what it tastes like, I don’t care.
It’s fine to include tidbits about your life, but chose interesting ones. I don’t care if you’re baking a pie. I do care if you bake a pie for the first time and are going to give me funny tips on avoiding pie disasters. See the difference? Like all social media, Twitter is not about you. It’s about what you can give to others.
A boring person is like someone who whines that they’re cold and hungry and scared. If you’re stranded in the ocean, everyone is cold and hungry and scared. Don’t get on their nerves as well.
(4) Never Tweeting
If you get a Twitter account, you need to tweet at least once a day. Multiple times a day is better. To avoid moving from frequent tweeting into spamming, Michael Hyatt recommends keeping your daily tweets to under 13. (Remember this count does not include direct messages which are only seen by the person you send them to.)
All of these mistakes will set you back and make it more difficult for you to build a following even after you correct them. My biggest Twitter sin was “never tweeting.” I’ve had a Twitter account for a few months, but it’s only been in the last month that I’ve bothered to use it, and now I’m making friends.
(If you’d like to join me on Twitter, my username is MarcyKennedy. Easy right? Always try to use your name if you can.)
If you’re already on Twitter, what other things do your tweeps do that annoy you? If you’re not convinced about trying Twitter, check out our Top 5 Reasons to Join Twitter.