We talked last week about how it can be really important for introverts to learn to master skills they aren’t comfortable with before deciding certain activities aren’t for them; how competence can make you far more comfortable with an activity, which in turn might surprise you by actually being something you like.
So today’s post is for those of you out there who haven’t yet tried Twitter or who have given up on it or who are just plain flummoxed by it. Yes, I think one can have a perfectly fine marketing/promotional strategy without it, but as with most things, it’s best to fully understand and be comfortable with a tool before deciding not to use it.
Twelve Tips for Twitterphobes
1. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of a broadcast medium, don’t use it that way. Use it as a way to connect with other readers and writers on subjects that are of interest to you.
2. Do NOT pay attention to follower numbers. Remember, you're not using it as a tool just yet. You're simply exploring it as an option and getting comfortable with it.
3. Pick some role models of big, successful Tweeters you admire and study their strategy. Some of mine are Mitali Perkins, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Meg Cabot (I love that as successful and ‘big’ as she is, she follows everyone back.) It’s just such an inclusive strategy.
4. Try to talk a buddy or critique partner or two into doing it with you. That way you will have someone to have a conversation with.
5. Practice in private. Before going official, practice making small random observations and wry, ironic quips about life and jotting them down. And they don’t really even have to be ironic. Entertaining or relatable also work. I know it’s a big joke how everyone doesn’t need to know about what you had for breakfast, but honestly, sometimes those posts—wittily expressed or touching on the human condition in general—generate the biggest amount of conversation.
6. Find friendly people to follow. They don’t necessarily have to be people who follow you back, but people who at least respond to @theirname replies are good. It's easy to get one's feelings hurt to keep trying to connect with someone and have them ignore you, so just realize they're on Twitter for different reasons than you and move on to friendlier people with similar goals.
7. Just play with it for five minutes each day (it doesn’t have to be more than that initially) to scan the tweets of the people you follow. See if you can find just one thing that’s interesting enough to retweet.
8. To get started, you can ease into it by simply giving a shout out to a book you’ve recently read and enjoyed. If the author is on Twitter, you can say Just finished The Second Duchess by @elizabethloupas and loved it. (Which is mostly true, btw, only I haven't quite finished it yet. DO love it, though!)
9. If you read blogs or news sites or anything on the web, try linking to just one article you think others might find of interest. (To save characters, you can link using bitly or owly.)
10. One of the things that kept hanging me up was if we all follow each other, and we all retweet the same tweet that we find interesting, there’s a lot of overlap, but that’s just the way it works, so I had to let go of that repeating ourselves thing.
11. Not sure who to follow? Pick a peer or acquaintance and check out their follower list. Or pick an author you admire and see who they follow. There are also tons of lists out there that you can peruse. there are also Twitter directories where you can list yourself and your interests, as well as see who else shares your interest. Organizations such as SCBWI or Publisher's Weekly or Zen Moments are also fun and informative to follow.
12. Also? If you have a couple of separate interests, say in addition to being a writer, your day job is as a teacher, and look for people from both groups to follow and connect with, for that is the strength of Twitter: it’s ability to connect and tap into previous un-connected groups of people.
And that’s it. I can’t promise you fame, fortune, and unlimited book sales, but I can safely say if you give yourself two months, you will find that you are much more comfortable with it—and then you can make an informed decision if it is really for you.
Anyone else out there have some good tips for Twitterphobes?