H is for #Hashtag: A Basic Guide to Twitter for Writers

 

  1. Engage. Twitter is all about conversation. It’s a place to interact with your community, your readers, and your followers. Play, chat, teach, learn, update, inspire – remember to focus on the ‘social’ aspect of ‘social media’.
  2. Be Yourself. Show your personality – be interesting, positive, and genuine. Don’t give out any of your personal information (stay safe online!), but do think about revealing a little bit of ‘who’ you are. Make your Twitter feed sound like there is a real person behind it.
  3. Be consistent. Keep a regular schedule. Be reliable. Identify when your most popular/successful times for sharing are, and build your schedule around these moments.
  4. Vary your message/content. Use a variety of different formats for your status updates: text only updates, photographs, videos, links, blog posts, retweets, etc. Share your writing tips, your writing goals, your favourite quotes, articles you have read, your pet photos, books you are currently reading, your latest blog posts, etc. Keep it interesting – don’t only post adverts for your latest book. Be original, creative, and keep your feed fresh through a range of content and styles.
  5. Share. Share your updates from other platforms – you can often set this up automatically from different social media sites. Share your latest blog posts and other writing/news updates, share your Goodreads reading progress, etc. Share your news, your inspirations, your achievements, project deadlines, feedback, tips, competitions, useful videos, and so on. Try to keep the focus on how you can help your readers.
  6. Repeat your tweets. Re-share older (popular) blog posts, updates, messages, etc. Not everybody is online at the same time as everyone else, and it’s likely that some of your followers will have missed your content the first time you posted it. Try to vary the times that you post, and remember to re-share your more successful content.
  7. Track keywords. See what people are saying. Become a part of the conversation.
  8. Grow your audience. Follow back. The more interesting your feed is, the more people you will reach. Remember to return the favour if somebody follows you. Comment on other peoples’ posts and status updates – join in the conversation.
  9. Use hashtags (#). Be a search result. Hashtags are useful for filtering content to topics and different categories. It’s useful to post your writing updates with tags such as #amwriting, so that anybody searching on those tags will find you. Find other people who are writing by searching on specific tags. Hashtags are also really useful for seeing particular topics and news events that are trending (very popular).
  10. Share useful resources. Remember to focus on how you can help your reader, and offer useful resources, tips, guides, and insights. If you read a really useful writing guide on a website, tweet it! Not only does it help your reader, it is good for your own Twitter feed, and also helps the site/author that first posted the guide. Always include a link back to (or, name of) the original author. Share anything you come across that is useful, or helpful to your writing in some way. Web pages, blog posts, news articles, YouTube videos, audio recordings, etc – share them with your followers via Twitter.

You might like to also have a look at these useful guides on using Twitter:

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12 thoughts on “H is for #Hashtag: A Basic Guide to Twitter for Writers

  1. I’ve never really gotten the hang of Twitter, although I do like playing hashtag games. It just seems like a lot of noise, everyone tweeting “Buy my (fill in the blank).” There’s so much scheduled tweeting and very little engagement. It’s social media with Tourette Syndrome. Everyone blurting out whatever’s on their mind, little to no filters. Perhaps I haven’t found the right “tribe” to tweet with?

    1. I do know what you mean, I find that it really depends on the people that you follow. I’ve seen some really good Twitter engagements, and some really not so good. It’s become much more corporate than it used to be, lots of companies trying to sell their products. Facebook is going the same way. I will unfollow anyone that only posts adverts, or any content that I don’t want to see. I much prefer the personal, informed discussions to the scheduled sales pitch.

      I think that’s why it is important to have a sense of ‘self’ behind a Twitter feed, it needs to feel like there is a real person there otherwise people become numb to your message and start to turn away.

      It took me a while to learn my way around Twitter, but I think I’m getting the hang of it! It’s definitely a useful resource for writers, and there are little pockets of genuine brilliance.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

    1. I didn’t really understand hashtags when I first started with Twitter, but they’ve made such a difference to the way I use it now. I agree – they’re great for finding others with similar interests and making connections! Thanks for your comment! Good luck with your writing! 🙂

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