Articles tagged "twitter"

Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!

Now that you’ve filled in your bio, personalized your page with a photo of yourself, uploaded a background, and have followed others or found followers of your own, what’s left to do?

Well as I mentioned in last week’s post (Tackling Twitter, Part 1), it’s important you maintain the relationships you’re building. This includes updating your own account on a regular basis, of course, as well as replying, retweeting and familiarizing yourself with the # sign, a.k.a. the hashtag.

What does that mean, though? Here’s a rundown:

Retweeting: It’s essentially a forward without commentary or, in dialogue form, “Hey, look at this interesting article / funny thought / smart observation I found.” Often I’ll pass along interesting pieces from The New York Times’ Twitter feed, blog posts from writers I follow, or even a 140-character sum up of how someone else is feeling because it’s how I feel that day, too.

Replying with the original tweet: I follow a bunch of writers who dish out some really good advice so often I’ll include their original tweet with my reply thanking them for the tip. This way other Tweeps I know can find the initial blog post / thought easily. So how do you reply like this, and what does it look like? Reply as you normally would, copy the original post after their username, put a “RT” before their @name, and then add your commentary before that. Here’s an example:

  • Original tweet from author @CathCrowley: The days of empty pages. Blog Post # 4 http://bit.ly/zPKvWC
  • My reply: Great advice for #writers who, like me, sometimes find it hard to start / keep going! RT @CathCrowley The days of empty pages. Blog post # 4 http://bit.ly/zPKvWC

Replying without the original tweet: Replying with the tweet usually indicates that the “conversation” has more of a broad appeal, but not all convos do. Recently I wondered if the Westminster judges accidentally picked a skunk instead of a dog as this year’s winner, which then kicked off a chat with a follower about her dog. Since our talk was more for us, and not for the general benefit of others, she didn’t include my tweet when she replied and so on and so forth. It went like this:

  • Original tweet: Does anyone else think that the #Westminster judges picked a long-haired skunk instead of a dog as the winner?
  • Reply tweet from a follower: I can’t judge #Westminster, I own a pup who bares similar Pepe Le Pew resemblance.
  • My reply: Your dog is AWWW-dorable and has normal dog hair/fur, not a mane, as yesterday’s winner does!

The #hashtag: This one is tricky, and it took me some time to get used to. It’s helpful to think of using the # sign to:

  • Become part of a larger conversation: Type #HungerGames into the twitter search bar, and you’re likely to find thousands of people talking about the books or the movies. Jump in on the conversation by writing your own thought about the #HungerGames and you never know who else you may connect to. Great twitter “trends” (what popular hashtag phrases are known as) for writers include: #amwriting; #writetips; #yalit; #yawednesday. There are tons of others though, so keep an eye out for what pertains to you.
  • Organize your tweets for followers: By tagging all of your posts as say #TheBakersDaughterTour, which I saw a fellow Tweep once do, her followers could easily find all of her tweets pertaining to her tour dates. It’s important the “trend” you’re creating be specific. Otherwise if you’re tweeting about the #Giants on game day a search will end up revealing all associated tweets, whether from you or not, and a follower will most likely just be overwhelmed.
  • Indicate a last observation: This is a particularly weird one and honestly pretty unimportant. Basically, though, sometimes people make a declaration on top of their initial observation. Wait, what are you talking about? It’s confusing so here are examples that are often supposed to be funny, with varying degrees of success:
  1. How is this day not over yet? #longestfridayever
  2. I promise never to wear bright green skinny jeans #noiwont
  3. I hate when I lost access to free articles on the NYT website #timesfail

I know it’s a lot to grasp, but deciding when to reply, retweet or use the # sign  becomes surprisingly instinctive after a while. Also if you fear you’ve not done it “right” there’s the nifty delete button, which lets you try again.

Above all else though, the #1 rule is to have fun, so get to it, Tweeps!

Other questions, tips or tricks for twitter?

 

Tackling Twitter, Part 1

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

It’s hard for some writers to express a thought in 140 characters, but in today’s world of Pinterest, Facebook, and blogging it’s necessary. As The New York Times recently noted, “With the digital age comes new conceptions of authorship.” This is especially true for authors who don’t have the marketing muscle of a publishing house at their disposal.

Not everyone has been quick to jump into the “Twittersphere.” Explains author Lucas Klauss, “I was — like a lot of writers, I imagine — initially pretty suspicious of Twitter and its supposed benefits. I thought it would end up being just a big time-suck. And sometimes it is! But I’ve been happily surprised at how fun it can be.”

He used the social media platform to promote his book trailer (more on these at a later date). “By far most of the views I got were from Twitter — people retweeting it and saying they thought it was funny. And it connected me to other authors I hadn’t yet met.”

Wanting to be on Twitter and actually getting the mojo to join and keep on top of it are very different. It can also be intimidating and, take it from me, just plain weird at first.

Don’t let it be.

Remember how you tackled the blank page and completed a book? Well, trust me, Twitter has nothing on that. However before you start crying from the Twitterverse’s rooftops, remember the following:

Define your online persona: Being on Twitter means others will come to “know” you so think about which part(s) of yourself you want to put out there. What interests and hobbies will you promote? Your writing and reading, sure, but maybe you also love old Nintendo games, tulips, or your Subaru? Whatever it is take note and once you join, seek out similar folks with whom you’ll want to have a dialog.

Contribute to the conversation: Someone you follow is looking for a book recommendation? Answer him or her. Another person posts a link to a blog post you loved? Say so. The point of Twitter is not to tirelessly promote your own work but build your own community of online “tweeps” who will answer your questions and hopefully support you

Stay committed: The most popular people on Twitter tend to update their feeds often so plan on tweeting at least twice a day. If you’re worried about making such a big commitment, strategize. Keep a running log of future tweets as far out as you can handle. This can help reduce the pressure to always be by your phone or computer

Cross-pollinate: I’m not normally a big fan of corporate buzz words, but in this case it makes sense. Basically, you want to make sure that all of your various social media platforms are interconnected, meaning that your Twitter profile points to your blog and vice versa. This helps people become aware of your entire body of work. Thankfully, this linking process isn’t usually very difficult!

Be patient: Building followers takes time. It’s unlikely you’ll acquire 5,000 followers overnight but that’s okay. You want quality — as in people with similar interests who you can have a dialog with — over quantity.

Check out next week’s column for tips on using the hashtag (see below), the difference between replying and retweeting, as well as a whole host of general do’s and don’ts!

(Click here for Tackling Twitter, Part 2: Replying, Retweeting & Using the Hashtag, Oh My!)

Mother's Day Twitter Giveaway!

We love books. And we love moms. So what better way to combine our two loves than with a Mother’s Day themed book giveaway?
Today through Thursday, we’re giving away one book a day to a lucky Twitter follower who gives the best answer to our tweeted question about Mom. The daily winner will be announced at 8pm EST each day and will be chosen from the tweeted answers of that particular day.
We’re also giving away a Grand Prize on Friday (5/7/10) — a year’s supply of books (that’s 12 free books!). The winner for the Grand Prize will be chosen RANDOMLY from all the tweeted answers of the entire week. The Grand Prize winner will be announced at 8pm EST on Friday.
To take part in our book giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/Luludotcom
Answer each daily question about your Mom
Use the hashtag #LuluMom in your answer
RT our question to your followers for some hilarious twitter dialogue
Remember, there’s no limit on daily tweets. Your chances of winning the Grand Prize increase with each tweeted answer so tweet as much as you can! Be funny and clever – it increases your chances of winning the daily prize and helps us understand why your Mom thinks you are so special.
See? Following us on Twitter really does have its perks!

Mom

We love books. And we love moms. So what better way to combine our two loves than with a Mother’s Day themed book giveaway?

Today through Thursday, we’re giving away one book a day (up to $20 value) to a lucky Twitter follower who gives the best answer to our tweeted question about Mom. The daily winner will be announced at 8pm EST each evening and will be chosen from the tweeted answers of that particular day.

We’re also giving away a Grand Prize on Friday (5/7/10) — a year’s supply of books (that’s 12 free books – a value of $240!). The winner for the Grand Prize will be chosen RANDOMLY from all the tweeted answers of the entire week and will be announced at 8pm EST on Friday.

To take part in our book giveaway, here’s what you need to do:

  • Answer each daily question about your Mom
  • Use the hashtag #LuluMom in your answer
  • RT our question to your followers for some hilarious twitter dialogue

Remember, there’s no limit on daily tweets. Your chances of winning the Grand Prize increase with each tweeted answer so tweet as much as you can! Be funny and clever – it increases your chances of winning the daily prize and helps us understand why your Mom thinks you are so special.

See? Following us on Twitter really does have its perks!

What's Your Lulu Find?

Picture 1

To celebrate our newly expanded open marketplace, we’re giving away a book a day to one lucky follower! From April 16 -21, follow Lulu on Twitter and tweet us your favorite Lulu find (make sure to use #LuluFind in your tweet). You could be the lucky daily winner of a $20 coupon for your favorite Lulu find!

Twitter Etiquette

twitterEver since the world sat glued to the TV waiting for Oprah to send her first Tweet, I have seen more and more people join Twitter and get frustrated because they “don’t see the point” of it. There is much more to using Twitter than just letting people know what you had for lunch or that your cat threw up again. Smart authors can use the service to gain a valuable audience that can turn into readers. Wil Wheaton used Twitter and his blog to increase his network and when his book, Sunken Treasure, was released it rocketed to the top of the Lulu Top 100 Sellers Chart.

As with anything, gaining Twitter followers does not happen overnight. I initially wrote about how to use Twitter last year to find an audience, but with more and more people using the service, having your voice heard can be difficult. These simple tips should help you gain followers and stay followed by those who can turn into readers of your Lulu.com content.

Censor Yourself: Before you post anything, think if you’d actually like to read the Tweet if it came from someone you were following.

ReTweet: I often ReTweet links or posts that I find useful, interesting or humorous. I find that people whose Tweets I have Retweeted often Retweet my Tweets (say that 3x fast). This allows my message to reach an even larger audience.

Don’t Spam: An alarming trend is happening, many people are simply sending out the same message to every celebrity using Twitter over and over. These messages are not read by the celebrity and often cause the sender to be unfollowed or blocked.

These simple tips can help you build an audience and establish relationships using Twitter and ultimately help you sell more of your Lulu.com content.

Follow Lulu here.
Follow me here.
Sign-up for Twitter here.

Read more about using Social Networking here.

Lulu Author Interview: Samata Angel

Samata AngelI am a huge advocate for social networking. My love of Twitter has kind of become a running joke around the office. Everything we do, I try to work in a way to utilize Twitter. In fact, our partner WeRead has implemented Twitter into the site and is allowing users to easily send out what they are reading. We are working on a few things at Lulu.com as well to help authors utilize all the social networking tools available (more on that later).

One issue with gaining converts to the power of social networking is showing the value. Many people who are unfamiliar with the medium only see the noise and not the benefits. I have found a number of my LuluBlog author interviews via social networking. In fact, Lulu author Bob McDonald conducted an interview with me via Twitter. Samata Angel found me via my LinkedIn profile and asked me some questions about Lulu.com and how she could effectively market her books. That simple message turned into this interview. The real trick to marketing your business, and yourself, via social networking is creating a conversation. None of the people who I have profiled or helped promote their content have sent impersonal messages. They all started a conversation with me. For now, here is my post on using Twitter to gain an audience and we’ll have more social networking how-to posts coming up on the blog and on Lulu.com.

Samata Angel has used Lulu to promote her fashion career. So far, she has created two books using Lulu.com and was kind enough to do an interview with me via email.

Tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in Cambridge and moved to London to study my undergraduate degree in Economics, Finance and Management. Whist in London I just used the opportunity to get more involved in the fashion scene as I always loved being creative and wanted to see where it may take me, so I got involved in fashion shows backstage, assisted other designers and went to lots of networking parties. After university I worked in a range of fashion industry roles including Head of PR for a Chelsea 3 floor boutique and as Head of Marketing for a Japanese clothing label and it was after all of these experiences that I decided to register my company, Samata’s Muse. Since that I have just worked hard and been given the some great opportunities, with Samata’s Muse counting the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Dawn Richards as clients and having been featured in LOOK, PRIDE and Fashion Capital to name a few!

Lulu Author Interview: Marty Wombacher

marty wombacherLulu.com is a pretty amazing website. We get tons of books, photobooks and other awesome content published through the site each day. When the site was smaller, I could pretty much see all of the new books that people had published each day. Now it is much harder to do and I end up missing out on discovering some really cool books.

I am a huge fan of the social networking tool Twitter and have added all of the Lulu authors I can find who use the tool. (Follow me here and Lulu here.) I happened to be following Marty Wombacher who, as it turns out, is kinda semi-famous. He founded the magazine Fishwrap and also has written a number of books.

Gain an Audience Using Twitter

One key to selling your book, photo book or calendar is finding an audience who is interested in your topic. Website forums have been a good way to speak to people who share your same interests, but finding the right websites to post on can take quite a bit of time and effort.

In the past year, another great way to find and communicate with people who share your interests has emerged: Twitter. This web-based communication tool allows you to have conversations with numerous people whether they share your interests or are simply interesting in their own right. If you’re shy, you don’t have to actively engage people in conversation; you can follow people that interest you and sit back and watch the conversations unfold.