Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Best Way to Use Twitter
Hi everyone. I hope you’re all finished with shopping and are now in the relaxing stages of the Christmas season. But, if you’re anything like me, NOT. I found myself taking deep breaths today, and realized that I will soon be suffering from PTSD from this season. Once again I have tested the elasticity of my budget and found its breaking point.  Oh well. It is, what it is.
During the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to dedicate myself to my social network as often as I’d like, and thus I have fallen behind in some areas. For one, checking my DMs on Twitter. So, this morning I’ve invested time in doing just this. Herein lies my problem (and I know I am not the only one who suffers this - check out Editor Su's blog for her opinion on the subject!).
My DMs are full of people saying hi and then leading me to their social network, be it FB, website, blog, book link, Amazon link, etc. Now, I ask you, why would I visit these sites, or even buy a book from someone who is a complete and utter stranger to me? Have we met? Have we even said two words that were personal beyond hello?
Look, I’m a writer. I worked hard on my books. I want to sell my books. This is all true, same as you. But I think what’s important to remember when building a social network is that it is first, and foremost, SOCIAL. This means that in order for it to work, we must be social with one another. This doesn’t mean ramming our links down someone’s throat. It means getting to know people. These are our contacts. These are the people that are going to help make or break us.
Here are a few suggestions on doing this, for those of us recluse writers who suck at being social:
·         Say hello … and mean it.
·         Ask what they are working.
·         Is your new contact a writer, reader, publisher, agent? Wouldn’t it be good to find out?
·         Have they written a book? Did they go the traditional route in publishing, or are they self-published?
·         Are you working on a book that requires research? Ask your fellow tweeters if there is anyone out there than can assist. You’ll be surprised at who comes back!
·         Show an interest your fellow writers’ concerns. Maybe you can help, or steer them to someone who can. This is priceless, and will come back to you tenfold.
I recently helped someone – a stranger to me – who returned the favor by providing me a contact at a publishing company who is now reviewing my book for publication. How much better can it get? Even if the publisher should end up declining, what a great opportunity I was given simply by extending my hand to someone else.
The same goes for all your platforms. Take the time to utilize them in the way they were intended. I think you will be pleased with the end results.
I hope this sheds some light, or at least creates a spark for you to further investigate the best uses of Twitter. It can be an effective tool, if used properly.
All my best.
Dee Ann