Twitter can be a great networking tool, but many authors wonder about the most effective ways to use it. Here are some common questions:
How often should I tweet?
It's best to post several tweets a day, but it is hard to say what is the optimum frequency. Personally, I would like to post 5 to 10 times a day. Some people post several times an hour and repeat the same posts frequently, but that takes a lot of time and it may annoy your followers. And it's not a good idea to post unless you have something interesting to say.
As each new tweet appears at the top of people's home page, it pushes the earlier ones down a notch. Most people probably don't read beyond the first page when they log onto Twitter. If you make several posts at once, they will all be bunched together on your follower's screen. But if that person doesn't happen to be on Twitter at that time, they might not see any of your tweets if they have already been pushed beyond the first page. If you make several posts spaced out during the day, it's more likely that one or more of them will be seen.
You can save time by using a scheduling service such as HootSuite (the service I use) or SocialOomph (formerly TweetLater) to pre-schedule your posts on Twitter and other social networks. HootSuite is free but you can pay a modest monthly fee to be able to upload pre-scheduled tweets in a spreadsheet.
What can authors tweet about?
Most of your tweets should be about sharing and interacting with others, but it’s fine to make occasional promotional posts. Here are 7 ideas for tweeting:
2. Re-tweet good posts by other people, but don't go overboard—most of your tweets should be original. Include "RT" and the original tweeter's name in your post to indicate that you're re-tweeting someone else's post.
3. Invite people to subscribe to your ezine or blog, and offer an incentive.
4. Announce your live and virtual events, such as book tours and teleseminars.
5. Ask for advice or ask questions that encourage responses.
6. Introduce other authors or experts in your field who are also on Twitter.
7. Post an inspirational quote or message.
For more information on using Twitter most effectively for book promotion, see Twitter Guide for Authors.
Your turn: What do you tweet about? What is the most effective ways for authors to use Twitter? Please share in the comments section below.