Oh, Twitter. The land of abbreviations, mentions, RTs, bit.ly and #FF. Don’t have a clue what those are? Perhaps you should and here’s why:
I joined Twitter on April 26, 2009, and started the account as a way to continue branding myself as a writer, choosing @yaheweha (mountain woman in the Stoney language) as my Twitter name. It was part of an overall branding program, which involved a website overhaul and new business cards, that would better communicate my focus as a writer. It worked. One of the main reasons it did the trick for me is that it gave me an easy way to connect with people after meeting them at conferences and events. People were also able to find out more about my interests based on what I was tweeting about. If you’re looking to get your name out there more, Twitter is an easy way to do it.
This is one area that people often overlook. On Twitter you can use search terms and #hashtags to follow certain topics of conversation. You can also throw a question out to your Twitter community if you’re researching a particular subject for an article. This might not give you the “official source” you need, but it may point you in the right direction. By the way, many of your “official sources” – professionals, celebrities, business representatives, brands – are on Twitter, too. I once wrote a blog post on how to stay warm on outdoor winter adventures. I put a question out on Twitter asking for tips and in just 45 minutes I received over 20 responses. I used these responses to build the post.
Twitter lets you stay connected to industry partners like never before. Nothing can replace the face-to-face contact that conferences and meetings provide, but as more and more people use Twitter to spread their news, tips and tricks, latest blogs post and publications, you can keep tabs on a regular basis. As a writer, I am able to keep certain magazines on my radar and stay up-to-date with their latest articles and issues so that I know what kind of content they may or may not be looking for. I can also comment on their posts and mention them when I post a link to an article I’ve written for them. It’s a win-win situation, all around.
Like me, many writers spend the day working at home at their desk, sometimes not even realizing they haven’t opened the blinds until about 4pm. Solitude is necessary for focus and writing, but makes for a rather boring social life during the day. Twitter lets you be a part of real and meaningful conversations (that’s right, real and meaningful) and helps break up the monotony of the day. I’ve made actual friends on Twitter prior to meeting them in person at local Tweet-Ups (a get together with other local Twitter users). I’ve also gotten to know new connections much better than I otherwise would have.
As I mentioned in Tip #1, your Twitter account can be part of your overall marketing campaign (website, Facebook, etc). Using aggregators like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Sprout Social, you can import all of your accounts into one program and manage them all from there. Here’s where you’ll be so thankful you started a Twitter account. Imagine you are just about to publish a new book. Publishers these days love writers that can assist with marketing their books. Now imagine that you have over 1,000 followers on Twitter that you can lean on to help you spread the word. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years being on Twitter, it’s that people actually care about you and want to see you succeed.
By starting (and using!) a Twitter account, you are tapping into opportunities to maintain relationships, create new connections and set yourself up for success in the future.
© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.