Thursday, September 24, 2015

Twitter 101 by Dora Hiers

Dora Hiers
Last month, I shared WhatHappened to All My Peoples?, and a friend suggested that I offer a brief introduction to Twitter. While I definitely don’t claim to be a Twitter expert, my experience might help someone find value in the social media site that I use most, even over Facebook and Pinterest. Twitter doesn't absorb much time and has the potential to be far reaching.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Keep it short. Twitter embraces brevity with tweets limited to 140 characters or less. Less, if you'd like people to share your posts or retweet (RT). 

Sharing = happy Tweeters. To share, just click RT (the two arrows that form a square). You have the option of just RT'ing or adding your thoughts with Quote Tweet. Generally, if someone RT’s something of mine, I pay it forward and RT something of theirs versus replying with a" thanks.” A favorite (star) means someone likes your tweet or they're saving it to read later.

RT = Retweet
Star = Favorite

Make every character count. So that you're not wasting valuable real estate, you can shorten links by using tools like bitly or Programs like Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets, but the original tweet needs to be even shorter than 140 characters or you'll get an error message.

Include visuals. Just like with every other social media site, pictures play a big role here as well. 

Hashtags rule. Much like Instagram, hashtags are popular on Twitter. I joke around that I think in #hashtags. See? lol. A hashtag is just a conversation, topic or phrase such as #amwriting or #amediting. Google to find hashtags, check to see what’s trending, or jump right in with something fun and unique!

Be strategic for maximum return on investment. Include names/tags and hashtags. For example, for a workshop at a local library, I tagged the library system who then retweeted along with a reader’s group. That day 61k+ tweeters saw my name and profile. Not a bad return for the one minute it took to compose the tweet, right?

Follow = friends. Twitter users follow other tweeters, rather than friend them. Following someone doesn't obligate them to follow you back. Twitter also prompts you with suggestions of who to follow. You might want to click on a profile first and check their tweets. Do you want to follow someone who tweets the daily max of 2400? (I can’t even imagine!) Do you want to follow someone whose only interaction is through Facebook or whose tweets are all “buy my product?” 

Be aware of spammers. Potential spammers include eggheads (no profile picture) and tweets by someone with no followers. If you get a message like “somebody’s spreading nasty rumors about you,” don’t open the link.

Lists save time. As your Twitter account grows, lists are helpful to manage the people you follow, and lists can be public or private. Some ideas for lists might include friends, family, news, celebrities, etc. If you pull those special people into a list, you will always catch their updates.

Sound off. Did I miss a topic you’d like to see covered?
Did this post give you the courage to give Twitter a try?

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Deputy City Manager Burk Harmon has always been the strong one for his family, but recently those responsibilities have dwindled. When Lacie Heatherton, Assistant Director for Parks and Recreation, ropes him into a city-sponsored trip to the mountains with fifty seniors, Burk has two things on his mind: considering a possible promotion and wooing Lacie past friendship and into a future. Lacie has emotional scars and a thirteen-year-old daughter to remind her that men can be cruel and unforgiving. Can Burk convince Lacie to relax her "no dating" policy or will he surrender his dreams of family and love?

Dora Hiers is a multi-published author of Heart Racing, God-Gracing romances. She’s a member of RWA and her local chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. Connect with her on Seriously Write, Fiction Faith & Foodies, TwitterFacebook or Pinterest.