by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
I’ve gotten a good number of questions lately via email and Twitter about my platform on Twitter. I came up with a Twitter policy last year (which sounds funny to say, but it became necessary—I’d get well-meaning messages from folks asking me to tweet their book releases), but I haven’t posted anything about it for a while. I thought today that I’d dust it off and give it another run: How did you start tweeting links and why? I was reading a lot of writing links and it seemed like it would be helpful to pass on ones that I thought were especially good. That snowballed until I had followers that were very interested in a variety of writing-related tweets. These were writers in different stages of their writing career—some just starting out, some veterans. So I started searching for good, solid posts—even if they were on topics that didn’t directly apply to what I’m writing. It’s a platform for me, too, and provides a very indirect way of marketing and getting my name out there—and being indirect is really the only way I feel comfortable with promo. How do you find the links? I don’t get them from my Twitter feed—I actually subscribe directly to the writing blogs’ RSS feed and read them in my Google Reader. How many blogs do you subscribe to and how do you browse them? According to my Google Reader, I subscribe to 2318 blogs. I add to this number every single day. I have my Google Reader set on “list” view and I scan through them quickly—usually looking for writing craft-related posts or publishing news. I don't tweet promo posts or contests or giveaways. But if you write a wonderful post with interesting content for writers and you happen to have a giveaway or contest at the bottom of the page…that’s fine, of course! How long does it take you to find posts, read them, and tweet them in a day? It usually takes a little over an hour each day. Are you on Twitter all day? Actually, no—I usually just check in with Twitter a few times a day. If I have more free time, I check in more frequently. How do you schedule tweets? I use an application called “Social Oomph” to schedule my tweets. The idea is to spread them out through the day so that they’re (hopefully) not overwhelming and are reaching people in other time zones. Why aren’t you following me back? I follow legitimate users back, although sometimes I get a little behind with updating my list. If I’m not following you, then I think you’re a spammer or else you’ve just started following me. If you’re not a spammer, just send me an email at elizabethspanncraig(at)gmail(dot)com. What’s the best way to contact you? I check my DMs on Twitter at least once a day, but you can also email me at elizabethspanncraig(at)gmail(dot)com. I have a great writing blog—how can I bring my blog to your attention? I’m always looking for new writing blogs to add to my Google Reader. Just send me a DM or an email with your link and I’ll subscribe to the RSS feed.
How do you pick which posts to run? I’m usually looking for craft-related, industry-related, social media, or posts on how to effectively promote. I love posts that are easily skimmed, have great content, and can be helpful to a lot of writers.
Can you tweet my book review? I don’t tweet reviews, sorry.
(From PR firms, who do like to contact me): What is your marketing strategy behind these tweets? Does it seem to be working? There wasn’t a whole lot of marketing thought that went into this, which is why I’m probably getting so many DMs from PR people! I’m focusing on the tweeting mainly as a service to other writers, but I am gaining a nice platform in the process. It seemed to work out really well with pre-orders for my last book.
Do you read your tweet stream? Honestly, I find my tweet stream totally overwhelming. If I try to read or follow all those incoming tweets then it makes me feel like I have ADHD. :) I follow over 10,000 and I can blink and find 20 updates.
What if I wrote a great blog post and you didn’t notice it—can I bring it to your attention? Sure—feel free to DM me with it. I can’t promise to run it, but I promise to take a look…and I’ll make sure I subscribe to your feed.
If I wrote a great post a few days ago and tweeted you about it and it hasn’t run, will it ever run? Sometimes I schedule tweets way out—sometimes a week or more…so it might still run.
Do you @ all of the blog post authors whose links you tweet? I’m trying. Some of them I do know by heart, if they frequently have good material. Sometimes the post’s author isn’t on Twitter and sometimes I just can’t find their handle, if they are on Twitter. If your “Follow Me on Twitter” is very visible to the top of your blog page, then you’re a lot more likely to be @ed.
Do you ever chat on Twitter? I don’t ever @ anyone in conversation…but I do have DM conversations with people. I’m just trying to keep my Twitter profile page completely link-related so make it an easier resource for folks to access.
What types of posts are most likely to be tweeted by you? Which are most popular and most likely to be retweeted by others? Craft posts and clever humorous posts are the top favorites of my followers. List posts are appreciated, too. Anything that’s helpful about social media, or organizing our writing life helps, too.
Is there a way to make my blog posts more likely to be tweeted by you or by others? Definitely. I’d recommend a post title that is clear as to the post content, an RSS feed button, and avoiding partial RSS feeds (I usually don’t have time to click through to find out if the content is worth tweeting). I’d also recommend a non-rambling post, concise content, and something that’s easy-t0-scan (bullet points and bold type helps.)
Some days your links seem better than others. How do you do quality control? Sometimes, despite the large number of blogs I subscribe to, there’s a lack of content out there. Holidays play into that, too. And...sometimes I'm busy and I have less time to hunt through my Reader.
Do you do #FF and #WW? Why not? I used to, but with the number of followers and FFs and WWs I get now, I’m just not able to return the favor without sending out an entire page of spam. I really appreciate the ones I get from followers, though!
Is there a place where I can locate these links or search them? All of my links are searchable through the Writer's Knowledge Base search engine. Designed by Mike Fleming, the database ensures that great content and resources for writers can be pulled up on an as-needed basis (which means writers don't have to bookmark everything!) The Writer's Knowledge Base is free and has over 13,000 links to search. And now...a disclaimer (I know--so corporate-sounding...) Occasionally I'll tweet links that I think show an interesting point of view on, or controversial approach to, writing or the publishing industry. This doesn't necessarily mean that I agree or disagree with the post's author--just that I think the discussion is interesting and believe that others would, too. I want to supply writers with different ideas and different opinions on different topics and letting them disseminate the information for themselves. Now it’s your turn. :) Are you on Twitter or Facebook? What makes you decide to share or retweet a writing post?