Social Media for Authors Part 2

I would say I have learned quite a bit about Twitter, almost enough to not have even scratched the surface yet. I have met some pretty neat people along the way which is perhaps the best thing. I have mentioned in other posts how years ago I was so turned off by my experience on Twitter I logged out for years. There really are some great, genuine people out there, fortunately I have met a few of them and they have enriched my life. That is good stuff and yes I find that inspiring. So I figured it's time to update the social media file and talk about...



Tagging people in a Twitter post. 
Let me start with a clarification. Some of these clever people have been tagging me in straight up nonsense posts, the current version of buy followers or like my Facebook page. These are unsolicited and from people I don't even know. I am not talking about this.


Bring a friend's attention to something.
I have a couple of friends I met on Twitter. Initially I would tag them when I was sending out a tweet in order to be sure they saw it. I thought of it as bringing their attention to something for a specific reason. Kind of like "Hey Tee take a look at this!" The other thing I could be certain of is, if I tagged them, they would most often retweet it. I still can and they know if they tag me in anything I will retweet as well. So what right? So a lot. I began to notice a difference between tweets I tagged people in and ones I did not. Even the ones which were not even retweeted. If you have been using Twitter for awhile I would suggest looking at your analytics. If you are just getting started, visit it as soon as you get a feel for what is going on. I will caution you here it is a bottomless pit. Be careful. My friends know I live by my stats but I find it is an effective tool to see what works and what doesn't. I am interested in getting my blog in front of as many eyes as I can for myself and guest authors. Knowing this is my aim, I want to maximize the tweets I use to promote it.


Increase your exposure.
Back to the analytics. One of the key terms measured is impressions. Essentially how many people saw the tweet. Let me break it down. I have 1000 followers and send a tweet one time. Of these 1000 followers maybe a handful actually see the tweet. Lets say my impressions were 20. Twenty people saw the tweet. This is perhaps a stupidly generous number and likely would not be this high. In general, the numbers would be higher on many messages which were tagged with a friend. I can not explain exactly why and it is far from a rule but a noticeable trend. By the time they actually retweet the message, they have increased the potential of my tweet being seen at least by their followers as well. Of course it's not that simple but it helps demonstrate what I am talking about. A better extreme example, let's say M Lemont with his 150000 followers just retweeted my tweet. There is a pretty good chance that really added to my impressions. You can see how a retweet can increase the exposure. The right retweet can make things go pretty crazy. I was looking through my stats one day and one of my tweets had a huge number next to it. I had to look. An actor who may or may not have to do with a famous zombie show tweeted one of my blog posts and it received a ridiculous amount of impressions. Kind of fun when that happens. Kind of fun are you kidding me? I was thrilled. Also, this was a post maybe two months old at the time, read on to see why this matters.



Encourages others to follow.
Back to business. OK so we are talking about tagging friends. The other thing I find on this subject is this, if one of my friends tags me and someone else in a tweet, I instinctively follow the other person. We might even have a conversation but at a minimum I have followed. I can say I have followed many hundred people based on them being part of a tweet. The status of them following back is a whole other subject. I still don't understand anyone trying to do anything on Twitter and not having a very liberal follow back policy. Just doesn't make any sense. Good or bad it's what I do and I cannot be the only one. So I would say, if your friend tags you in a tweet be grateful, they are exposing you to their whole network. Thank you. Obviously this is not the same as the people who tag you in a promotion or something like that, I am talking about your friends. 


Conversation Starter.
Here is another reason to tag someone in a tweet. Let's say my friend, (I am saying friend here intentionally and not in the Facebook sense), has met someone they want me to meet, she tags us both and next thing we know we are all having a conversation and singing Beatles songs together. That is good stuff and we must have had something in common or she would not have put us together in the same room with a record player right? 


Make sure I see it.
I personally prefer my friends to tag me in a tweet for more than one reason. The main one is this - I will most likely see it. If one of my friends has a new post I want to know about it so I can read it. The chance of a close acquaintance's tweet coming up in my feed at the exact moment I am looking at it is nearly impossible. Do the math, it is pretty unlikely. Yes, you can set up lists, watch lists and all kinds of things to try to achieve this. If that works for you more power to you, maybe you can teach me some day. It doesn't really work for me. 



Recycling.
The next thing I feel a need to share is this. Recycling. I think it was some time in August, Sheri did a guest post on self publishing. It took off like gangbusters and was read by thousands of people. I send it out every once in awhile now and guess what? People still read it. It is still relevant and even though thousands of people read it in August, many millions did not. It is fresh to them. Another author even republished it last week on his blog to do with his publishing journey. This is an article several months old. So what? I have heard so many people say they don't want to tweet or share too much. Balderdash. Of course you have to do what is right for you and what you have time for but I tweet continuously and have not found the point of too much so far. We have made quite an effort to collect a body of good stuff to read and it is not a one time use thing. That relevant post you wrote may still have legs. Ask another friend, Michele, about her Cinderella guest post here. I was starting to feel guilty about continuing to post it, but guess what? Every time it goes out people are reading it and commenting and making Michele blush like a little girl all over again. The story is still inspiring people, why throw it away?  I promise to retire it when its legs fall off but there is no end in sight. If it is good material it doesn't have a shelf life as far as I am concerned, and the statistics back my opinion. This does bring up my final reason for now of why to tag someone in a tweet.



Keep everyone involved.
I host a decent share of guest authors. This is a great opportunity for everyone involved and some incredibly good things have occurred as a byproduct of these posts. When I publish a guest post and tweet it for example, the author will have no idea I am tweeting it right? Unless they are camped out on my feed. I intentionally tag the author on some of the tweets to include them in the aftermath. As people are making comments or retweets, the original author is involved and can see what is going on and comment or interact as it unfolds. This is especially vital on a guest post, I love the feedback but I didn't actually write the post. I look at this as my desire to interact with people and I love it when someone gives me feedback on something I wrote. Even better? When an actual conversation starts and who knows where that can lead... many good places.


Bottom Note.
Since I am updating the Twitter file - I am still getting deluged with these idiotic DMs upon follow soliciting me for something. I still have not followed a link to someone's Facebook page. I am all for the "don't know until you ask" principal but why are people doing this? Maybe I will be enlightened to find out it really does work and I have been missing out on bolstering my Facebook likes for all this time... in the meantime I have a feature on my Twitter which has been made irrelevant. Direct Messages. 


34 comments :

Julia Schnetke said...

Excellent Blog! I just "discovered" you & love your blogs: honest, well written, informative & entertaining. I agree with all your points-tagging, retweeting, following & the dreaded DMs

Gordon A. Wilson said...

1000 thank yous for taking the time to comment

s. sig said...

This was very interesting and insightful. I am a voracious re-tweeter of good content and have had Twitter warn me twice about re-tweeting. My take, if they worry about spam, it's up to them to protect us. Tagging is an excellent way to meet new, interesting people. I believe , that's the point of Twitter. My DM box is now useless, as well. I always enjoy your writing.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I appreciate your input. What was the retweet warning? I have never heard of that. Unfortunately my blog doesnt correlate comments to a Twitter identity- what is your handle?

Anna Scott said...

Thank you so much for your article. It is always great to learn more about this side of our craft. Who ever said that being an author was just about writing??? :)

peregra said...

Great read! As someone who's new(ish) to Twitter, blogging, and actively writing, this was helpful. I was wondering if DMs would become much of a bother, and it seems they will. I also found your follow policy interesting and encouraging. I follow back anyone who is involved in writing, editing, publishing, etc., but I think they do the same unfollow trick previously mentioned.

Glad to have found your blog!

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Writing to me is about 1% writing and a lot of trying to figure out the rest. Absolutely use unfollowers or something once in awhile to clean out the non follow backers, they are doing you no good. Thanks to both of you for adding to the discussion.

Nash Black said...

Like you I backed away from Twitter after I joined in 2009. Have been back for bit over a year and keep searching for followers who actually have something to say other than "buy my book." When they do and I see it I will RT.
Thanks for good information. Blats for the white font on black background. I'm using a 17" screen.
Tag @pennhand and I'll send it around to the social media sites I frequent.
Nash (Irene)Black

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Im totally there with you, buy my book, buy my book without anything else to say. What a turn off. I saw the Pennhand earlier tonight, Kentucky? Thanks for commenting and letting me know who you are. I would like to be able to change that functionality for certain.

patrick kavanagh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patrick kavanagh said...

I see I have much to learn. Thank you for your article, I will be reading it again.

AW.Beardsley Writer said...

A great blog post! Thank you for sharing. I learned so much!

Al said...

Thanks!

To be clear, tagging someone means putting their twitter handle somewhere in the post (except at the start). Right?

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Al, you are correct. Thanks to all of you for your support. Come back often!

tomhocknell said...

Thanks for the advice. I wrote a blog on how to avoid Platitudes and Cliches in writing -

https://tomhocknell.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/blogging-blagging-and-buddhism/

But using Twitter properly can always be improved upon. thanks again

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Tom, thanks for the feedback, read the post not sure I see the platitude connection but I enjoyed the frankness and what you did have to say.

C.T. Luna said...

Hi Gordon, Found your tweet on this subject today, and you do a much, much better job of explaining what helps grow your followership than I did on my little blog the other day! I'll be RTing this one. Thanks!! Cynthia (http://www.livingincyn.com/2015/12/3-things-i-did-to-double-my-twitter-followers-in-90-days/)

Neven Carr said...

Thanks Gordon, another great post. Informative and useful as usual. I am now your latest subscriber!
Warm regards,
Neven Carr

Candace Larson said...

Thank you for helping me to understand why tagging is important and how to use it properly 👊🏻

dave smith said...

Great idea as well as replying with @ names! Thx!

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I thank you all for taking the time to not only read but to join the discussion. Ive been noticing something lately where a whole mess of people are being tagged on one post, not sure exactly what the point of that one is yet.

rangewriter said...

Great post, Gordon. Here's a question for you. Why do so many people "like" or "heart" Twitter posts rather than RTing? It's always nice to get a little pat on the bag with the heart. But, unless I misunderstand, a heart does nothing for stats or visibility, right? To me, a heart without a RT means, "nice, but not worth passing along." What are your thoughts?

brittanyslair said...

I wanted to respond to rangewriter's question, as someone who typically "likes" and "hearts" rather than retweets.

I hate retweets. I don't hate the way I use them (obviously), but I hate the way others do. As someone who genuinely wants to peruse the tweets of those they follow, it's disheartening to see five of the same retweets multiplied by the hundreds.

I understand it's meant to help in promoting one another's business, but at some point it becomes noise, not unlike spam. I don't pay attention to it in my feed. I frequently disable most Retweets as soon as I friend someone (based on how many of their tweets are RTs or unique).

That isn't to say I don't retweet. I do, when I genuinely want to share something - a book I've read, an author interview I enjoyed, articles on writing, etc. But I only do so if I've taken the time to check it out.

In my mind, retweets are meant for products/links/information I've actually ingested (at least partially) and that I feel some kinship to. Likes are just that - I like it, but I'm not necessarily invested in it. It's not an insult; I just don't have time to become invested in everyone's everything, with so many RTs on my feed.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

Brittanyslair put down a pretty good response here rangewriter. Although Im not sure what the hate is about, much of the retweeting I see is automated. I do retweet something of interest, something one of my friends is promoting or something like that. I do use the like occasionally but its more in a conversation possibly for me. Oft I have not the time to make a formal reply but I dont want to pass either. I will hit the like. If it is something I really like I will find a way to share it rather than "just" retweeting. So my answer, you can see by my stats Im a sparce like button user.

lindaryanart said...

I'm fairly new at this, just really got started up last Spring, but - Brittanyslair, I think RT's are more about sharing things you found interesting or funny or meaningful. Or spreading word about someone you've come to think of as a friend. Not about spam. Sharing.

I think it's one of the most interesting things about Twitter - that, and the ability to follow or find people interested in the same things you are that you would never meet in a non-digital platform.

The people who use RTs as spam, or post spam (and I agree, Gordon A. Wilson, those annoying folk with auto-DM's trying to get you to look at their FB or website or how you can buy 10,000 followers are totally spamming) don't get what I at least find charming about Twittering. At it's best, it's so not a buy-this thing.

Connection and sharing. Do I want to see what you do if I find your posts intriguing enough to take time out of my schedule to check it out? Yeah! Do I want to know if someone who's been posting interesting/informative stuff is relaunching a book (insert smiley face here for Gordon)? Yeah. As long as they've already shared enough so that I appreciate them. And they aren't Toyota, trying to sell me a new car. They are people.

Thanks for your posts, Gordon, carry on!

brittanyslair said...

lindaryanart - I completely agree. That's what RT SHOULD be about. I was simply stating that it was common to be used to spam, by retweeting everything on one's feed with the unwritten agreement that those you retweet will do the same for you. It makes for a huge sludge pile of nonsense.

Gordon A. Wilson said...

interesting also, the diversity of what people are doing and why. RT as an example can be helpful in building a twitter "following" but it can be a nuisance at the same time. If I am retweeting, its something I have legitimately looked at. If I am sharing something, I have read it. Thats just me and my time to do any of it seems to be shrinking down.

Thanks for the contributions- conversations like this are the biggest reward in the blog!

Unknown said...

Great post! I think everyone hates the DM's and the "Buy followers" spam. I report them and block the account. Maybe you can clarify this: Do the tweets of a follower show up in my feed if I don't follow back? If so, I think it's important to weed these spam suckers out, LOL. Thanks again for the info.

Julianne said...

This was another great post! I agree about DMs after following someone: they don't achieve their goal I feel. My inbox just gets flooded and they feel like advertisements most of the time. There must be better ways of getting people over to our other social media sites (perhaps another blog post for later?).

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I think they (DMS) do just the opposite of whatever they intend unless they intend for me to ignore them, then of course they achieve the goal, but what is the point of that?

Chichi said...

Hi Gordon,
I enjoyed reading this post and I agree with your suggestions for tagging and your liberal follow-back policy.I find Twitter is a great way to connect with interesting people. I think auto DMs should be banned.

Chichi said...

Hi Gordon,
I enjoyed reading this post and I agree with your suggestions for tagging and your liberal follow-back policy.I find Twitter is a great way to connect with interesting people. I think auto DMs should be banned.

wordrefiner said...

Greetings Gordon, thanks for the informative blog. I have a lot to learn, I was not aware of the analytics before your blog. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have been active on twitter for a little over a year. After a slow start and many mistakes, I am averaging 100 new net followers every week. I have several levels of "thanks for following" tweets, the lowest is reserved for those "buy followers". I never expect them to stay long, but one of them might be an author and that is my focus as a proofreader and reviewer. I ignore about half of the DMs, and Facebook requests.
Thanks again, Mark wordrefiner.com

Gordon A. Wilson said...

I appreciate the comments and usually they lead to more articles. Keep on talking!