On checking my Twitter feed yesterday, I found a new mention. A follower had tweeted @KikiTerrell with a number of other Tweeps, accompanied by the hashtag #FF.
I was floored.
I’m the first to admit that I’m no Twitter expert, I’m not a social media guru by any means, but I thought I’d begun to get the hang of tweeting, and I am definitely loving the connection it allows me to make with readers, like-minded authors and all manner of virtual friends. So what the hell was #FF? I figured it was a good thing, I just wasn’t quite sure what it meant! I looked it up and discovered it meant ‘FollowFriday’ and the significance of it was that the follower was recommending to her followers that they follow my account, and those of the others she’d mentioned. Apparently, it’s a Twitter convention.
We all recognise how important social media is to the author platform, but what this experience emphasized for me is how essential it is for writers to be au courant with the language and etiquette of the social media we choose to use. It’s kinda like deciding to start a new life in a new country where you don’t speak the language and haven’t bothered to try to learn it. Sure, you’ll get better as you go along, but there might be some very painful and inconvenient snafus until you learn the lingo.
So today I wanted to share some links with resources about Twitter, including how to use and interpret hashtags. Go here for an interesting discussion on why people may not follow you on Twitter, and here for a good book with specific advice for writers on Twitter.
And here are my top-three dos and don’ts for authors on Twitter as follows:
1. DON’T spam your followers with plugs for your book – the hard-sell in any incarnation is one of the biggest turn-offs I know. DO, however, mention release dates, appearances, promotions and awards -your fans and followers will want to know. Like many things, how much you mention about your book is a matter of judgment, and you should be careful not to cross the line into shameless spammer. A link to your Amazon page and/or website in your profile is standard.
2. DON’T just retweet what other people have written, or content from tribemates on Triberr. While these are perfectly legitimate sources of Twitter content, you should only retweet and share content which is consistent with the conversation you’re trying to have with your followers – be consistent! DO engage with (and retweet content from) your followers in addition to your own thoughts, experiences and observations. In order to share Brand You with the world, you need to let us know what you’re really like – not just what it says on the book blurb!
3. DON’T share too much personal information on Twitter. This may seem inconsistent with point 2, but it’s not. As a follower, I want to know what you were thinking when you wrote the chapter I can’t put down, I may even want to know what you’re wearing to your book launch but I shouldn’t want to be provided with a pic of the street you live on or your children. Again,a matter of judgment but by all means DO be forthcoming with your heart – not your address.
Photo credit: Matt Hamm / Foter / CC BY-NC