Twitter Myths Uncovered: Useful Tips for Networking

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Drawing by ShawnCampbell
I'm not sure if the following are really MYTHS, but they are points that I've discussed with students in my social networking classes from time to time. It seems that until you start using Twitter, it is a foreign mass of confusion. But let's get right down to it. I'll list the MYTH, explain it, and then add a couple tips that will help you use Twitter to network or promote. Here we go:

1. When I send out my tweet, every one of my followers sees it. So, they are ignoring me when they don't visit my blog, buy my book, come to my event, or so on. This is a definite myth. When you tweet, it goes out into the Twitter-verse in "real time" (or at the time you scheduled it to go out). Everyone who is on Twitter at that moment that is also following you will MOST LIKELY see your tweet, although if they are using third party tools like Tweetdeck and are following thousands of people, your tweet might get lost in the shuffle. So, just because you sent out a tweet announcing your book release party, this doesn't mean even half of your followers saw it. If they weren't on Twitter at the time (or shortly after) OR they don't look specifically on your Twitter profile to see what you are tweeting every day, they are going to miss it.

TIPS: If you have a big announcement, then you should tweet about it IN DIFFERENT WAYS several different times throughout the day or even in  a week's time. Don't send the same tweet five times in one day. But if you want to announce a big contest or the next book in a series, then plan a few different ways to tweet this, being fresh and original, the week you want to announce it. Don't always tweet at the same time of day either.

2. I have to get on Twitter and read all the tweets from the people I am following that I missed when I was signed off. It takes me forever. This is your preference, really; but honestly, you don't have to read every tweet that went out from people you are following since the last time you were on Twitter. That would be so time consuming and not even useful. If you are following one or two people very closely--maybe an agent you are planning to submit to--you can always check his or her Twitter profile and read all the tweets sent out since the last time you logged on. But you don't have to do this for every single person you follow. It's not that important.

TIPS: I always recommend to my social networking students to start using a third-party Twitter tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite once they are following between 50 and 100 people. These tools help you organize the people you are following into groups. For example, I have columns set up in Tweetdeck for friends, writing friends, children's writers, famous people, moms, and so on. When I log on to Twitter, I can see easily what these different groups of people have been writing about recently and join in on the conversation. If someone wrote something particularly interesting, I can click on his profile to see the tweets I missed and gather more information.

3. If someone follows me, I have to follow them back. This is the biggest myth out there. Do not follow Tweeters JUST because they follow you. You follow people on Twitter because they have something in common with you or you find them interesting. For example, with WOW!'s Twitter account, I follow any writer who mentions us or interacts with us on Twitter in some way. I also follow Tweeters whose name I recognize from taking a class with us, writing an article, buying an ad, or so on. We get a lot of marketers and contest-crazy folks who follow us on Twitter--I don't usually follow these people back because they follow anyone with an account just to build their numbers. Twitter is not about numbers--it's supposed to be about relationships and sharing information.

TIPS: Go through your followers list once or twice a week if possible. Read the short description each person wrote about themselves. If the person shares common interests or lives in your same city or so on, follow her. If you don't think the person seems real or has anything to share with you, don't follow her. Also in turn, don't expect every person you follow to follow you. You should interact with other Tweeters--reply to their tweets, retweet their links--in order to get noticed and get more followers.

Margo helps writers who are new to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in her beginning social networking class, which starts on September 17, 2012. Do you have a Facebook account but don't know how to use it to market yourself? Have you never opened a Twitter account? Is your LinkedIn profile only 25 percent complete? If you answered yes to any of these questions and you want to learn more, then sign up for the class. Margo is offering FOR THIS SESSION ONLY a free 30-minute phone consultation for no extra charge. To sign up, go to the WOW! classroom page. 


Harriet Garner said...

Thank you. This is the most practical, straight-forward blog I have ever read. I love @TweetSmarter too.

John's World said...

Great Post!!

Other than posting on twitter,I tend to spend time maintaining the people I follow. If I feel they have changed (and people do) or their post don't relay to me I'll drop them. I suspect (by in large) that's how people would view my account when they are following me.


Margo Dill said...

@Harriet Thanks for the compliment. We are glad it helped. :)

@John: I totally agree. People change as their situation changes. I used to tweet about my dog--now after my daughter was born and in the NICU--sometimes my tweets are about that. I REALLY think you can't get too concerned about the numbers game or you'll go crazy. :)

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