Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rahelle Matherne Shares Twitter Don'ts

These tips originally appeared on the filedbyauthor blog (http://filedbyblog.com) and were written by Rachelle Matherne, owner of Five by Five PR (http://www.fivebyfivepr.com). I've been an avid Twitterer (or tweeter) as they say. It's easy and great PR! Hope you'll join both Rachell3 and me there! And thank you Rachelle, for sharing this with my readers!

How NOT To Use Twitter To Market Your Books

For those authors still unfamiliar with Twitter, it is a microblogging platform. Twitter members send out messages called “tweets”using 140 characters or less — like a telegraph. People who want to “follow” you can read your tweets in a variety of ways, either online or through their cell phones, to keep up on what you’re doing or thinking.

I use Twitter for both personal enjoyment and as another facet of publicizing my PR business. In the few months I’ve been using it, I’ve maintained a mental list of annoying things other users do when promoting their businesses through Twitter. They’re not just aggravating; they’re surefire ways to inspire people to stop following your tweets.

Here’s my Top Five Twitter Marketing Mistakes:

1. DON’T write about the mundane banalities of your life. Unless they’re stalking you, most people don’t care what you had for breakfast or that you’re standing in line at the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled. That is, of course, unless those mundane tasks somehow relate to your book. A cookbook author’s followers will want to read about meal preparation, grocery shopping,
and anything else food-related.

2. DON’T regularly participate in two-way conversation. It’s not a Walkie-Talkie. Don’t fill up your tweets with back-and-forth replies between you and one other member of the Twitter-verse. No one but the ultra voyeuristic will want to peek into the chitchat between you and your best friend about which fingernail polish coordinates with your new sweater. Move that dialogue to a private instant messaging (IM) service. However…

3. DON’T ignore your followers. Social networking is about, well, socializing. Take the time to actually read what your followersare writing. Even more so, take the time to respond. You don’t need to read everything, but you do need to make an attempt at genuine interaction. At the very least, respond to replies you receive. It goes against netiquette not to.

4. DON’T tweet when you have nothing to say. I can’t tell you how many newbies I’ve seen send tweets that literally read, “I don’t know what to write.” Then, please, step away from the keyboard. Better yet, do some investigation and see how other authors and publishers are using Twitter in their online publicity campaigns. I’ve compiled a list of various Twitter resources, including a couple that will help you connect with other Twitter users based on keyword searches.

5. DON’T tweet incessantly. Anything more than 3 or 4 tweets per day is probably a good way to lose followers, especially if they’re receiving your updates via their cell phones. If you can’t stay within those limits, you can stretch those tweets out more fully as blog posts.

What are some of your pet peeves about Twitter? What has worked for you and what hasn’t when using Twitter to stay in touch with your readers and colleagues?

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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