Writer, Brand Thyself: Twitter Tip Sheet & Facebook Intro

By now you probably know whether you like Twitter, or it’s just not for you. I love Twitter – too much sometimes, but I can’t imagine not being there now. Here are my top Twitter tips, for quick reference (in no particular order):

– Use the name you plan to publish under.
– Keep your account unlocked, just censor yourself
– Fill out your bio and a blog or web site link
– Find other writers using hash tags for writers: #amwriting #writegoal #writechat #askagent #askauthor
– Introduce yourself with a note of congratulations or encouragement
– Spend a little time there every day
– Don’t try to catch up – just jump in, and then jump out.
– Follow everyone who you find interesting…don’t limit your following list
– Use Twitterfeed to automatically announce your blog posts to your list
– Build genuine relationships with people – don’t just use it as a promo tool
– Avoid politics/religious discussions, and if you just can’t, avoid slurs/name-calling (stay professional)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but these are the main things I do/have done to build my personal Twitter community, and I think they can be useful for anyone who wants to get involved.

If you don’t have the time to put in daily on Twitter, but you’re ready to branch out from your blog, consider the “in between” solution – Facebook. It moves slower than Twitter – you can update your FB status once a day, or every few days, or once a week. You can set privacy settings so that only people who “friend” you on FB can see your status updates – and that’s expected and encouraged, so it doesn’t appear “exclusive” as it would on Twitter. You can set up separate accounts for personal/writing if you want, or simply display your status updates to certain groups of people (the others in your friend list won’t see targeted status updates). You can maintain a personal account for friends and set up a separate “fan page” for your public persona if you’d prefer. It’s a much more full-featured platform than Twitter, and normally people who don’t like Twitter for whatever reason seem to get along with FB just fine.

Signing up for a Facebook account is just like signing up anywhere else. Your assignment for this week, should you choose to accept it, is to create a personal account at Facebook, and then add me as a friend. You can either search for me by name in the search box in the top right corner of your facebook page, or go to my facebook page – there should be an “Add as Friend” button under my name/photo once you’re signed up and logged in.

Are you on Facebook? If not, is there something that’s been holding you back from joining?

Next week: Friend lists, security, and messages.

10 comments on “Writer, Brand Thyself: Twitter Tip Sheet & Facebook Intro

  1. Dan Holloway

    great advice, especially the avoidance of slurs and name-calling. And, I have to say, using the name you’re going to be published under – I seem to have a different username everywhere to the extent even I can’t keep up with them. Goodness knows how anyone else can.

    To hashtags writers use at any time I would add chats and the hashtags they employ, such as #writechat and #litchat or #followreader – where groups of writers and industry people get together and talk about a particular topic at the same time(s) each week. These can be really great places to meet people as well as to learn.

  2. Medeia Sharif

    Great tips. I’ve witnessed some authors misuse Twitter by aggressively promoting, not posting any info or linkage, or keeping a locked account (when their tweets are harmless). And hashtags are a must. One can gain so many followers by using them.

  3. Dolly

    Great tips. And censour yourself is the definite truth. Sometimes issues do come which rile me up, and were I in real life, I would probably snap a response or two, but I restrain myself. I don’t know those people, so if I don’t like what they are saying, I can ignore it.

    I like both Twitter and Facebook, though I do spend more time on Facebook. Probably because on Twitter, I rarely have things to say, so unless there are things there to retweet, I don’t hang about much.

  4. Jamie D.

    Hi Dan…I did notice you go by many names.

    Thanks for the additional hashtags – great suggestions!

  5. Jamie D.

    Seems like it should all be common sense, doesn’t it?

  6. Jamie D.

    I find it both easier and harder to be diplomatic online – easier because the delete key is easy to use, and harder because I’m not looking people in the eye (making it easier to just toss off remarks when maybe I shouldn’t sometimes). For the most part though, I do try to say silent on a lot of issues – it’s just not worth the repercussions in most cases.

    I “lurk” on Twitter quite often, just watching everyone else chit chat. Facebook doesn’t move as fast, so I read the news feed, make a few comments, and I’m off again. So I guess I’m kind of the opposite. LOL

  7. Erica

    Great post! You know I love the Twitters. Facebook I’ve been on personally for a couple years, I’ve only recently began adding writer friends. I’m seeing the value though of both.

    Great stuff here ;o) Thank you!

  8. Carol

    I keep saying I’m going to get with the Twitter program, but then I keep getting distracted. Maybe this weekend. 😉

    I had Facebook a couple of years ago. For me the bad points outweighed the good and I eventually deleted my account.

  9. Jamie D.

    I’d be interested in what you considered the “bad points” with Facebook, Carol. Hubby has a friend who just couldn’t handle the “pressure” of all the people who wanted to be friends with him…and I’m always wondering if that has something to do with other people’s dislike of it.

  10. Jamie D.

    You’re welcome, Erica. It took me awhile to expand my little communities, but I’m far more comfortable with it now than I used to be. I think because I stopped having any expectation of privacy, and conduct myself accordingly. That helps a lot, because I’m not worried about people seeing something they shouldn’t anymore, for the most part.