Express Yourself… On Twitter!

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By: Wendy Young

So you’re on Twitter.

If you’re like me, you barely get a greeting out in 140 characters, much less a coherent thought. The limits can be daunting, and that’s not all – how do you get yourself heard (and repeated) in all that noise?

Let’s look at a few simple steps that help take a conversation and turn it into a Tweet.

You start with an idea:

My editor friend, Suzi Quinnones, wrote a great review of my novel, The Great Debut, and she posted it on her blog at http://www.herblog.com/review-of-the-greatest-debut.htm

Right off, you think ‘whoa, that’s too long’ but let’s focus on a few other things first and you will see length take care of itself.

The first problem is that this is in the first person voice. The point of Twitter is to share and be shared and if I see this tweet I’m not likely to Re-Tweet it. Suzy is not my friend, after all.

Let’s generalize the thought:

Editor Suzi Quinnones wrote a great review of The Great Debut and she posted it on her blog at http://www.herblog.com/review-of-the-greatest-debut.htm

That’s better, but we’re not done yet. The address takes up a TON of space. Twitter will shorten it a little and a program like Tweetdeck or SocialOomph or Hootsuite will do it fully but for the purposes instruction, we’ll use the url shortening website ow.ly: http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url.

Editor Suzi Quinnones wrote a great review of The Great Debut and she posted it on her blog at http://ow.ly/7lAjc

We’ve got this nice and short, only 115 characters, but we’re not done yet. Short is a requirement of Twitter, but just sticking to that limit doesn’t help you use Twitter properly. Remember that we want people to read and share the tweet so you need to get it noticed too.

One way to do this is by using the @ symbol to get someone’s attention or to draw attention to yourself.

Editor Suzi Quinnones wrote a great review of The Great Debut and she posted it on her blog at http://ow.ly/7lAjc via @jclarkewrites

If you’re sharing with a private group and asking people to Tweet about you, you’ve included yourself and when anyone reads it they will have a link to your profile. Additionally, you can use the @ to get the notice of someone you really want to have read this tweet but be careful with that. If you do it too often you’re spamming and you’ll either be tuned out, unfollowed, or even blocked.

Hash Tags are another great way to punch up a tweet.

Editor Suzi Quinnones wrote a great review of The Great Debut and she posted it on her blog at http://ow.ly/7lAjc via @jclarkewrites #review #amreading #christian #romance

People can click those extra, like #amreading, and see who else is using the same Hash Tag. That gives you another way to get noticed, even by people who are not following you. There are MANY Hash Tags in use and you can even make up your own.

You’ve got a basic post thee but it’s bland (and now I’ve made it over 30 characters too long). Take your statements to the next level and make them engaging and eye-catching to the reader.

An editor just gave THE GREAT DEBUT 5 stars! http://ow.ly/7lAjc #review #amreading #christian #romance via @jclarkewrites

Now we’ve covered the bases – it’s only 123 characters, it’s written so anyone can ‘say it’ and not feel out of place, the url is short, your twitter name is linked, it’s hash-tagged, and you’ve ‘buzzed’ it up. You’re ready to get noticed!

I hope this introductory course to writing great Tweets has been helpful. Twitter is an amazing tool for connecting with both readers and writers, building your platform, and building your fan base. It pays to be tweet-savvy and make it work for you!

Wendy L. Young has been writing for more than twenty years – everything from poetry to scripts and non-fiction. She now focuses on writing mystery/suspense stories with a heart-pounding dose of thrills. Her first mystery novel, Come the Shadows, is out now and the sequel, Red Sky Warning, will be published November 29th, 2011.

Connect with her online on Twitter, her blog, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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7 Comments

  1. As a Twitter-newbie, and still on the fence of whether I’m a fan, I appreciate this article greatly. I’ll put your ideas to work this week.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. You’re welcome, Tracy! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Great breakdown, Wendy! And a reminder to ‘tweeters’ not to START with the @ symbol, as that means you’re tweeting TO that one person. Anyone who isn’t following both of you won’t even see it! Which is fine for a thank you, but not so great if you’re looking for retweetability! (Like that word? I just made it up!)

    Reply
  4. Retweetability is an excellent word 🙂

    Reply
  5. Wendy, this is helpful, but I still have questions about the @ and hash tags. You said If you’re sharing with a private group and asking people to Tweet about you, you’ve included yourself and when anyone reads it they will have a link to your profile. What private group? Where do you connect with a private group? In the example you gave, is that just somebody you know who you think would be willing to retweet your post?

    And the hash tags. You said you can create your own. Is using one all you need to do to create your own?

    Thanks.

    Becky

    Reply
  6. Rebecca, since I just found this in the G&F inbox and Wendy’s off promoting her new book (YAY, WENDY! Danger comes home RED SKY WARNING from @wendyyoung #mystery http://amzn.to/v0yE9Y #kindle http://bit.ly/tgw8vo #nook #ian1 #newrelease)… I’ll answer.

    What Wendy’s talking about is being in a group like Grace&Faith where Wendy might post a tweet for her book on our board, but I might be the one to tweet it, or maybe it goes out through G&F. So if I have a whole bunch of tweets about random books, it’s hard to know who wrote it and if I want to retweet that info.

    She’s saying that if you put @wendyyoung in it, then I KNOW whose book it is, and since I like Wendy, I will be more apt to retweet.

    Does that make sense?

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much Staci – you nailed it 🙂

    About the hashtags – you can definitely create you’re own. People do it frequently to be funny
    #iknowwhatyoumean

    Or to try to group tweets

    #redskywarning

    Or to try coordinate an event

    #vote2012

    etc

    Hashtags are great, but #be #careful #you #don’t #overuse #them =)

    Reply

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