Twitter is a valuable tool for any writer. From bestselling authors to those of us just trying to write something—anything—that people will enjoy as much as we do. And Twitter isn’t very hard to figure out, just takes a few months or years…Actually, I’m not sure I’ll ever really know entirely what I’m doing with Twitter. Mostly, I just take a shot in the dark and try it again if it works. The one thing that I’ve noticed, though, is that tweeting good content often, is the best way to engage with others and will get you the most exposure.

But finding good content can be hard. All that searching and reading and having to decide if it’s worth retweeting. It just takes so much effort. Right?

Wrong.

If I’m focused I can plan out a whole day’s worth of tweets in just two quick sit downs (I use Buffer, which only allows me to store 10 tweets at a time). How do I do this?

Tweeting good content is mostly about staying informed and trying to predict what your audience would want to know. Now, chances are you are no more a mind-reader than I am. So, how do you predict what your followers are going to want to read? Simple. Just pass on what you find interesting, chances are they will find it interesting too. After all, they most likely followed you because you share some similar interests. Now that that part is out of the way, we can talk about how to find good content. Or at least, what I’ve learned  about finding good content.

Half the work will be done for you if you follow the right people. If you follow people that are posting good content that interests you, it’s easy to find stuff you want to pass on to your followers. When trying to build your Twitter list look for these kinds of people:

  • Authors like you– Look for others that are in a similar spot in their writing journey. They are the most likely to post information that is applicable to you. They also love to interact with others like them. They will be the first to congratulate you when you make your word count. And the first to encourage you when your book is driving you up a wall. Or slamming you into the wall.
  • Authors that inspire you (or your friends)- I didn’t start following people like Rick Riordan (@CampHalfBLood), Ally Carter (@OfficiallyAlly) or Lauren DeStefano (@LaurenDeStefano) because I dreamed of becoming all buddy-buddy with them. I followed them because I loved their writing…Okay, mostly I followed them for news about their upcoming books, but I have learned so much from following them and other published authors. I’ve learned about book tours and copy editing and keeping going even when you want to burn your manuscript, so I now follow as many of my favorite authors as I can.
  • Publishing houses/agents/editors- These are good to follow so you can stay up-to-date with the publishing industry. They also happen to post a lot of advice about writing and publishing. So follow them. Especially if you’ll be submitting your book to them.
  • Social media experts– Let’s face it, we’ve entered a world where managing your Twitter and Facebook and blog are just as crucial as writing that book. Following social media accounts (good ones) are a good way to learn and keep abreast of what’s going on. After all, the more you know…

Another good source of info for me are the blogs that I subscribe to (Most of them are located in my blogroll to the right). I apply the same criteria to choosing my blogs. All I have to do is log into my email and I have all kinds of interesting posts at my fingertips. Plus, just like with retweeting, it’s nice to support others that you admire.

If neither of those are working for me—or if I feel like I’m lacking variety on that day—I will do a hashtag search. There are all kinds of people that you never even knew about posting stuff that might just tickle you. Plus, including posts with hashtags makes it easier for others to find and follow you. Some that I have used include:

  • #amwriting
  • #writetip/#writetips
  • #writer
  • #writing
  • #author

Finally, even though you want to be passing along the content of others., there is one big reason that people (real people at least) decide to follow you: They like you. Something you said resonated with them. So don’t forget to be yourself. After you’ve got all kinds of fun stuff to pass along, put in a few personal tweets. Twitter is a great place for accountability. Ask people to hold you responsible for goals. Post updates about where you are. Are you sitting down to write for a few hours? Post your word count, people will celebrate with you…or berate you if you didn’t make your goal. Twitter can also be a great place to ask questions and offer any insight that you might have.

Finally, I couldn’t talk about Twitter without mentioning how I make it happen.

The main problem that you may discover if that you don’t have the time to sit on Twitter all day long and space your tweets out evenly. Nor do you want to flood the Twitter stream with everything that you’ve found to share. Here comes the importance of scheduling your tweets using an app like Buffer or TweetDeck or HootSuite. They all have their pros and cons and it doesn’t much matter which you use. It just depends on what your preferences are.

Now I can’t claim to be any kind of Twitter expert. Heck, I can’t claim to be an expert at much of anything (except running a Chick-Fil-A drive-thru). But this is what I have learned so far, so I wanted to share it with you. Please chime in with your own advice.

And if you’re interested in following me my handle is: @TheGladElf.

Advertisements