Yesterday, I talked about 4 things to avoid so you don’t get fed to the Twitter sharks (aka what to avoid to keep people from deleting you from their “follow” list). Today I’m moving on to what to do so that people actually read and enjoy your tweets.
Thank People for Following You
Twitter has a message button where you can send a 140 character private message to any of your followers. If someone pulled you out of the frigid water and into their lifeboat, wouldn’t you at least say thank you? I’m excited when someone new reaches out to me, and I want them to know it.
A word of caution here–don’t automate it. Take the few seconds to write a personal message. It means a lot more.
One of my pet peeves about Twitter is people who don’t follow back. I think it’s terribly impolite. If you follow me, I’ll return the favor and follow you unless you post rude or lewd content, all your content is like email spam, you’re writing in a language I can’t read, or you post every five minutes on what you’re doing (I’m eating breakfast, now I’m washing my dishes, I’m hopping in the shower . . .)
I think it’s important to give people a chance. I’ve already “met” some wonderful people because of it.
If someone makes an interesting comment or posts a great link, retweet it. Even better, if there’s room in the 140 character limit, add a little bit about why you love it. Here’s an example:
Original: What kind of writer are you? http://tinyurl.com/3dkaw2a
When you re-tweet someone else’s tweet, give them credit by putting RT and @theirusername. So, for example, if you were to re-tweet something I said, you’d write RT @MarcyKennedy.
Reply to People
If someone asks you a direct question or makes a comment, answer them or comment back.
If someone re-tweets one of your tweets, thank them. For example, “@MarcyKennedy Thanks for the re-tweet.” Simple as that. It’s the golden rule translated into cyber-space: Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you.
Post Twitter-Only Content
Sometimes Twitter can get overwhelmed with links. And links are great, but linking to outside sources isn’t the only thing Twitter is there for.
Try to also post tweets that are self-contained. An inspirational quote you found that relates to your area of expertise—for example, if you’re writing a gardening book, post a tweet about how gardens are good for the soul—or a really cool fact can break the monotony. If you’ve cultivated an audience with similar interests, they should find these interesting.
Try asking questions as well. Sometimes you might not get answers, but sometimes you might, and it’s a lot of fun to get some input into something you’ve been wondering. Some writers even ask for title suggestions.
Link to Quality Content
Don’t link to something just because it’s new. Make sure every link is really worth people following or pretty soon they’ll start to ignore your links and you.
By now, this is probably sounding like it involves a lot of work and time. That’s why tomorrow I’ll give you some handy tips to make life in the Twitter ocean a lot easier. So the current doesn’t carry you away.
And if you’re ready to take the Twitter plunge, follow me, and I’d be thrilled to be your first follower in return. If you’re already on Twitter, I’d love to “meet” you.