Friend and editor Alison Williams shared some twitter tips which I’m re-posting for the benefit of our new readers.
The mistake I made when I set up my Twitter account was my choice of twitter username/handle. I wanted to use my actual name. I have a really common name, so Alison Williams wasn’t available, and neither were any variations using numbers that weren’t far too complicated to use. So I decided to use a capital ‘i’ in place of one of the ‘L’s in Williams. Sorted.
Problems arose when I was tagged in a tweet. People assumed that my twitter username was @AlisonWilliams (with two lls). It wasn’t. So I didn’t see a tweet and therefore couldn’t retweet it. This meant I lost out on sharing that tweet with people. An editing client tweeted how pleased she was with the work I did for her – she asked me a few days later why I hadn’t retweeted. I lost out on some free advertising there.
I realised that I needed to change my username to something that, first of all, people could spell correctly, and secondly that would lead people to me on Twitter. So I decided to change my username to @AlisonW_Editor
My name is now spelt correctly. It also means that anyone looking for an editor on Twitter is more likely to find me.
Changing your username is really simple to do. Just go to your Twitter profile, use the drop down menu to select ‘settings’, and change the username listed in the username field. Click ‘save changes’ and you’re done. It doesn’t affect anything on your account; you keep all your followers, and all your past tweets, favourites and lists are still there. Or click on your picture icon, select ‘profile’, then edit ‘profile’ and you should see a box to change below the option to change your picture.
If you use WordPress. Make sure Twitter is correctly connected to your WordPress account. This way, when followers use the Twitter share button on your post, you will get notified on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to do:
Go to WP Admin
On the left hand side under ‘Settings’ you’ll see ‘sharing’ – click this
Scroll down until you see: ‘Twitter username to include in tweets when people share using the Twitter button’
In the box alongside this enter your new Twitter username. (No need to add the @)
And you’re ready to go.
Extra Tip: Make your Twitter Handle is as close to your “Author” name (or Business Name) as possible so fans can easily follow you.
This week on Wednesday Wing we are looking at Hashtags from a different view.
Please welcome back our fountain of Twitter Knowledge @TerryTyler4
Hashtags: How to use them—and how not to
I’ve been using Twitter for so long that I sometimes forget that not everyone understands the purposes of hashtags—it’s easy to forget that every day new people arrive at the site and wonder what the hell they are, too—just like I did!
No, they’re not just random, and neither are they a magic secret that everyone knows about except you (which is what I thought at first….). They have seven basic uses, as far as I can see, which I will outline here:
Expanding the reach of your tweets
I’ve talked before about the blog share hashtags such as #SundayBlogShare and #TuesdayBookBlog. It’s not all about blogs, though; there’s also #FolkloreThursday, #MusicMonday, #MondayMotivation #FridayReads, #WordlessWednesday and so many more, which can be used for blog posts and other stuff, too. The idea is that you retweet others on the hashtag (just click on it, go to ‘Accounts’ and click on ‘Tweets’, and you see them all), and they retweet you, thus ever widening everyone’s Twitter ‘reach’. If you’re not using these, you should be!
Attracting those with interest in a certain topic
Say you’ve written a book that’s set in Cornwall, or you have a business that’s set there, or you’re posting a photograph that you took. If you hashtag #Cornwall in your tweet, it will be seen by anyone who puts #Cornwall in the search. Many cities, towns and counties have their special hour on Twitter, too; if you put, for instance, #NorthantsHour into the search, you will find the account for that hashtag, and, thus, find out when it is (Thursday 8-9 pm, actually, I just looked!). Then you can tweet during that time with the hashtag—and, as before, retweet others for maximum effect. These are used mostly for business advertising and events, but not exclusively.
For writers or tweets about writing and books, if you add #amwriting, #writers, #writetip, #amreading or #writerslifestyle to your tweet, you will get lots more retweets, as some people who used automated apps to run their accounts will set them to RT certain hashtags. I’m sure there are others, for writers and indeed for other subjects; it’s just a matter of doing a bit of research
Finding like-minded people to follow
You might want to up your following and don’t know how. Okay, say you’re interested in jazz. Put #jazz in the search, click on ‘Accounts’, and you’ll find everyone else who’s into it. If you add it to your tweets, this will gain new followers too, because others who put #jazz into the search will find YOU!
Some people do live Twitter chats or promotions, and decide on a hashtag for that particular event. #RosieAmberParty for instance (that’s not real, by the way, I just made it up!). Say a live chat lasts for two hours and you want to take part, you just put the hashtag on your tweet and it will appear in the stream with all the other participants, so you and they can talk to each other. The recent #BloggersBash was similar, to let people know the news about the event in London, and the blog award results.
Similarly, some people tweet about a particular TV/Radio programme, while it’s on: #TheArchers or #The Apprentice, for instance. Most popular programmes have their own hashtag, often started by the production company. Or about a news item: #Brexit, #VoteLeave, #VoteRemain, etc, or something current, like #Wimbledon or #WorldCup2014, #GayPride or whatever. Fans of a certain programme, celebrity or group (you will, no doubt, have seen many about teeny bopper crooners One Direction…) make various hashtags so like-minded Twitterers can join in.
Hashtag as description: indicating the subject matter of a book, film etc
If you’re tweeting about a book, it’s general practice to add the genre/location/subject, etc of the book so that people who might be interested in it will click the link: #YA #Fantasy #Steampunk #VictorianMurderMystery #Romance #Chicago #DomesticViolence, etc etc, or anthing that will tell people what the book is about. This is SO worth doing. I recently discovered a new favourite author (Ann Swinfen), simply because she’d put #17thCentury #The Fens on a tweet for one of her books. She’s since gained several sales and some wonderful reviews from me; this also illustrates the power of the retweet: I had never heard of her, but her tweet was RTd by someone I knew. Musicians might add #rock or #country—you get the general idea!
Hashtag games: I love them. You will have seen such things as #MakeAFilmSmaller or #FoodFilms. Many of them are all about clever plays on words; just click on the hashtag and you’ll see what’s going on. Another good way of finding people who would normally be outside your Twitter circle. Great fun, too!
Lots of people use hashtags for humorous asides. For instance, you might be tweeting something about your day:
‘Can’t get myself going today…. #StayingInBed’.
Or ‘When’s it going to stop raining? #FlamingJune’.
Or ‘Did anyone seeMichael McIntyre on #JonathanRoss last night? #WhatAnIdiot’.
This isn’t an ‘official’ use of the hashtag and there are no rules to it, it’s just something people do!
And finally—How NOT to use them
Hashtagging random words
‘My guest #post on how to make the #perfect cupcakes!‘
Pointless, and looks silly. If anything, hashtag the word #cupcakes.
Writing the title of your book as a hashtag
Unless stacks of people are likely to be tweeting or searching for information about it, there’s little point. If you want it to stand out, you’re better off typing it in capital letters.
Using too many
‘New #blog post: #Authors #Writers #HowTo increase your #blog traffic
Yes, it will hit all those hashtags and it’s clear what it’s about, but it looks as if it’s trying to cover all bases, and as if it’s a bit hard sell, rather than an interesting article you might want to look at.
Adding the hashtag when your tweet is nothing to do with its subject
For instance, tweeting about a jewellery product you’re trying to sell and adding the hashtag #TuesdayBookBlog. Or a tweet about your horror book with #MondayMotivation. People do this to try to attract more views, but it just makes them look idiotic/desperate/a bit cheeky. It’s known as hashtag abuse, and will probably get you blocked by the hashtag administrator (if there is one), or even reported to Twitter for spam.
This is when people use a hashtag like #SundayBlogShare and tweet every single blog post they’ve ever written, all at once. Will be more likely to get you blocked by people than have them read your posts.
I think I’ve covered every eventuality here! Using hashtags the right way can make so much difference to your Twitterly life; I hope it’s helped.
Here we pass on Tips and advice to the Book Community
Today Terry Tyler is bringing us Part 1 in a series of #TwitterTips follow Terry @TerryTyler4
Part 1: Getting more followers
Rosie @rosieamber1 asked me to write a few short guest posts about how to get the most out of Twitter, so I’m starting with the basics—getting followers.
Much of Twitter’s effectivity is down to how many eyes see your tweets—so whether you’re promoting your book or your blog, growing your business or just hoping to entertain people/get your voice heard, it makes sense to give that number a boost now and again.
At the time of writing I have 72.3K followers, with very little effort – and no, I didn’t buy them! Don’t ever be tempted to do that, as those for sale are not real profiles, but spam accounts. Yes, a proportion of my followers are accounts trying to get me to buy followers, or porn stuff, people who don’t speak English or general spamming, but I do get followed by many real and interesting people every day.
I’ve found that once you get to around 10K followers, and if you are active on the site (using it most days, retweeting others), your following grows automatically, because you appear on the ‘Who To Follow’ lists.
Here’s how to expand your following:
Follow others. Sounds obvious, but many don’t bother. Pro-active following will make you appear on ‘Who To Follow’ lists, too.
How to find the right people? Enter the subjects that interest you into ‘Search Twitter’ at the top right hand side of the screen. For instance, you might choose ‘bookworm’, ‘book bloggers’, ‘history’, ‘reading’ ‘traveller’, etc. Then click on ‘People’. This will give you a list of all the people with that word mentioned in their bio.
You can also put hashtags into the search, for instance #bookblogger #author #SciFiWriter #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview, etc, and seek out People in the same way.
Just following 10 or 20 accounts every time you log on will soon get it all moving.
When you RT people on hashtag days such as #TuesdayBookBlog or #MondayBlogs, follow them, too, and follow anyone who RTs you. This helps to expand your reach out of your usual circles.
You’ve seen #FF, the Follow Friday hashtag? Use it! Click on any user names mentioned—any mentioned by others will be active Twitter users who interact, retweet and post interesting stuff.
Click on your ‘followers’ every day, and follow back anyone who looks useful/interesting. Don’t follow back spam or pointless profiles, or you’ll end up getting followed by more and more of them; it’s best to block them.
That should get it all moving! I started trying to grow mine about three years ago, just before I started a free promotion for a book; I was determined that as many people should see it as possible, so made it my aim to get to 10K followers. Just out of interest, I’d like to mention that my proofreading sister, @ProofreadJulia, has developed her whole successful business entirely through Twitter, from my original tuition about the site. Of course she is very good at what she does, and has a good business sense, but this just goes to show how powerful Twitter can be if used to its full potential.