Micro-Blogging on Twitter
There's a hot new trend going on right now and it's called micro-blogging. So what's a micro-blog? And moreover, what's Twitter? Twitter is a micro-blogger platform that allows users to create entries that are only 140 characters in length. These entries are referred to as "tweets." Originally designed to keep friends and family up to date on what you're doing, Twitter can also be a great place to share your latest book project, promotional ideas as well as interacting with fellow tweets (folks who twitter) and writers. And yes, you can have a blog and a Twitter page. I have both but I feed my blog into my Twitter site so that my Twitter page gets updated each time I add new content to my blog. There's an easy application to add your blog feed to Twitter, it takes just minutes to do. Head on over to: Twitterfeed, http://twitterfeed.com/.
To sign up for a Twitter account just go to www.twitter.com and complete their short sign up form. Remember to brand yourself! This is important. Once you create a Twitter account you can't go back and change your name so find something that works for you. Maybe it's fictionwriter or businesswriter or whatever you want. My Twitter page is bookgal, www.twitter.com/bookgal, which is a fun play on words for what I do (and what I love). Once you have a Twitter account you can immediately start tweeting. The service is completely free and you can also keep up with other people's tweets by "following" them. Their micro-blog entries will show up on your Twitter home page so you can easily keep track of them. You can also be notified by phone when they add a tweet. You can twitter from anywhere, even your phone. I've been known to twitter from my blackberry.
Why on Earth Would You Want to Twitter?
When Twitter first started, people were a little perplexed. I mean why on earth would you want to blog in 140 characters? Well, since the site emerged in 2006, it's grown enormously in popularity. With Twitter pages from sites like CNN and every one of the political candidates, the site's popularity can't be overstated. Nor can its applications for the future. Also, even if you don't have a ton of people following your tweets, keep in mind that Twitter search sites are popping up everywhere. This means that if you tweet using keywords that matter to your reader/market, you could be found and followed! For one such search site check out: http://summize.com/. Also, if you're trying to gauge the popularity of a certain word or phrase and how often it's being used or referred to, you can head on over to Tweet Volume and find out: http://www.tweetvolume.com/. Just plug in your search term or terms and up will pop a list of results!
Most Well-Known Twitter Users
· Many organizations (such as the Los Angeles Fire Department) have embraced the technology and put it to use in situations such as the October 2007 California wildfires.
· Higher education is also using the technology to relay important information to students in a more timely manner. The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering is one such example.
· Several U.S. presidential campaigns use Twitter as a publicity mechanism: Ron Paul, John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton all have Twitter pages.
· Media outlets such as CNN have also started using Twitter to break news.
· Editor-at-Large of Star magazine, Julia Allison, maintains a Twitter account.
How to Use Twitter Effectively
If you've pondered using Twitter but aren't sure how to use it effectively, here are some quick tips to give you some great twittering ideas:
· Teach stuff - teach a little mini-lesson on Twitter. Delve into your area of expertise or just talk about book publishing and how to get published.
· Showcase your book - don't do this in a "my book is so fabulous" kind of way but offer to give advice (like I mention in Teach Stuff) or share with your Twitter followers how the promotion of the book is going.
· Use Twitter as a news source: you can easily announce news both from your world (as long as it relates to your topic) and from the world of your expertise. So for example I've done tweets on book industry stuff, breaking news, etc.
· Widen your network - follow other Twitter folk, this will not only give you some ideas for your own "tweets" but it's a great way to network with other writers or professionals.
· Keep the buzz going when you're on the move - it's hard to keep blogging when you're on the road (trust me, I know this first hand) - so when I travel, I tweet. I share what I'm doing, what's happening in my world and try to offer insight and advice.
· Market yourself - remember that while Twitter may seem like a fun little tool, it's also a great way to market yourself. Just like the ideas we mention above, there are a hundred+ more things you can do.
Golden Rules of Twitter:
Here are a few rules to live by when tweeting:
· Be Original, useful and helpful.
· Every Tweet counts (don't tell people you're washing your cat), don't just tweet on useless stuff or you'll lose followers.
· Ask questions: you've got a network (or you want one) now use it! Ask questions, take surveys, get your followers involved in your message and marketing!
· It's not all about you (again, back to the cat) people want to know useful stuff, I know, it's getting repetitive but there's a reason: it's important.
· Promote your Twitter account in your email signature line and on your blog.
· Network: don't expect your followers to grow if you're not following other people. Network, search for others in your area and follow them.
· Personal is ok. Even though I said not to post useless information it's still not a bad idea to (from time to time) post a personal Tweet or two. Provide value and twitter-followers will beat a path to your door.
· Keep Twittering, followers will come if you keep updating your Twitter account.
Not sure what to Twitter About? Check out these creative Twitter sites!
More on Twitter
Twitter, the little micro-blogging site that has seen an enormous growth lately. Traffic to the site has nearly doubled in the last two months, seeing 1.2 million unique visitors per month. If you're not on Twitter you might want to consider it. Twittering or micro-blogging (as it's commonly referred to) is getting bigger each day as applications for this form of promotion continue to grow. Don't believe me? http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/20...-in-two-months.
Fun Twitter Stuff
If you're still confused about what Twitter is, check out this easy-to-understand YouTube video: Twitter in Plain English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o
Ready for more fun Twitter applications?
TwitterMail: http://twittermail.com/ - supplies you with a personal email address. If you send an email to that address it will be posted to Twitter.
Is Twitter a popularity contest? Yes, without a doubt. Find out how you rank in the grand scheme of Twitter fame: Twitter Quotient http://web.forret.com/tools/twitter-tq.asp. Find out if you're a Twitter hero or BIG zero.
Addicted to Twitter? You're not the only one. Check out the most popular micro-blogs on Twitter: http://www.twitterholic.com/.
Ready to update Twitter from your phone? Check out Twitter Fone: http://www.twitterfone.com/
Wanna write now and Tweet later? You can do that with Tweetlater.com, http://www.tweetlater.com/, store up your tweets for delivery at a later date!
Ready to follow some other Twitters but not sure who you should be following? Head on over to Who Should I Follow, http://www.whoshouldifollow.com/, plug in your Twitter user name and it'll pop up results appropriate to your Tweets.
Ready to make some quick cash? Twitter me this, http://www.twittermethis.com/, is a site that will ask a random question, if you're the first one to answer you win $5. Just enough for a latte. Not bad. I haven't won anything yet but I'm still hopeful.
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
Check Out These Social Networking Sites
* http://www.MiGente.com - for the Latino community - 5.4 million users per month
* http://www.Snooth.com - social shopping site for wine lovers - 200,000 users per month
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i.* http://www.Asmallworld.net - an invitation only network for global jetsetters - 160,000 users per month
Assignment: Find 5 – 10 web sites where you can socialize