Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Expand Your Reach With Twitter

I hear it a lot from other writers. They say, "I understand Facebook but I don't get Twitter. Why should I fool with it?" There are many good reasons.

1. There are over 100 million people on Twitter and more people join every day. I've got a free Ebook about Twitter called Mastering Twitter in 10 Minutes or Less. If you are starting a Twitter account or revising an older account, I would encourage you to use free tools to set up the appearance of your account. For example, add a background using twitrounds. In a few clicks your site can look attractive, branded and professional. Also add your photo and some information about you in the profile settings section.

2. You can brand yourself as an expert in your topic and connect people to your information--if you handle twitter wisely. No one cares that you are eating tacos or mowing your grass. One key is controlling your message. Are you on message with each tweet?

If you think about my twitter, I only talk about writing, publishing, internet marketing and new resources for those purposes. I link to new things I've read or discovered. My tweets are focused--and you can do likewise to attract an audience. Also I encourage you to read this excellent article from Jeff Herring called Three Little Known Twitter Tips.

If you look at my twitter account, I have over 21,000 followers. How did that happen? It did not happen overnight but I've been on twitter for a long time. You gradually increase your followers--if you work at it. I work at constantly increasing my followers.

I turn on the email notifications in my profile. It is in the notices section of Twitter's settings. If someone begins to follow me, I get an email about it. Now you may be thinking that's a lot of email--and it is--but I have several reasons why I review it. Yes it takes a few seconds but I check out each follower to see if I want to be connected to that person. Some people are tweeting in a foreign language (not English). If they are tweeting in another language, then I block them and remove them from my twitter stream. Next I glance at their recent tweets, their photo and their profile. Some people are cursing or promoting something dark and adult-oriented. I block those people as well. In this sense, my followers are "qualified" or the type of people that I want to relate to and reach.

In addition, I send each follower a direct message which lands in their email box that says: "Thanks for following me, ______ (and I insert their name in the blank)! As my gift, please download a free Ebook at: http://www.straighttalkeditor.com" I add their name into this message so they know it came from a real person--not a machine. I offer them a quality gift--if they give me their first name and email address. Through this simple process, every day I'm adding people to my mailing list.

Also you would be surprised at the people I'm able to dialogue with through the little 140 character messages. I'm paying attention to Twitter and it continues to grow and expand.

Finally my tweets are automatically put on Facebook and LinkedIN. If you are not doing this, then look around for the application to add your tweets into these other social networks. You have to make a one-time action to turn on this application and get it working, then of course also you check it from time to time.

I don't want to overwhelm you with the material in this entry. Hopefully you can see that Twitter is a valuable tool for any author in their work to build a brand and a platform. In my next entry, I'm going to show you how to find more followers. Stay tuned.

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