Twitter for Beginners: From Hashtags to Followers


entirely different post, and if you want me to do it, I will. 

To build your brand, you need to platform. I know that this is the word from which every writer runs screaming and hissing under the porch. Get over it. There’s nothing wrong with name recognition. Your potential publishers certainly don’t think so. The more of a “household name” you become, the more money you’ll make for them.

What to Tweet

Platforming is hard work, it involves a lot of shameless self-promotion. You will occasionally feel that you've sold your soul to the devil. You will occasionally feel a little bit like you’re prostituting your sweet little blog. But strap those big girl pants on and do it anyways.

Tweet every single blog post. Post your post on BlogHer or SheWrites and then tweet the link to that, including tags and hashtags to expand your little tweet’s readership.

How did I get discovered by HuffPost Live!? It wasn’t because I post every day or participated in countless NaBloPoMo’s. It wasn’t because I’m funny or because people like to read about my hostile uterus. (Though, let’s be honest – they totally do.)

HuffPost Live! found me because I tweet the shit out of them every. single. day.

Whenever I tweet a blog post, I tag the following people – ALWAYS:

Why? Because the BlogHer people are blogging goddesses. Plus, I like them. And I'm going to BlogHer this summer, so I may as well make friends now. Right? Right.

I also tweet to:

If it’s really funny, I tweet at @cracked , @jezebel , and any other funny people I think of. I tweet at CNN, The New York Times, and any of my friends who might be interested. Why? Refer backwards to the conversation about tagging.  It's the way to ensure that those sites see my posts.

Is it a lot like whoring? Sure. But let’s look at The Bloggess. She has a vast Twitter Empire full of tweeting minions. But she worked hard to build it. Not only did she post her blogs to Twitter, but she also posted about funny things in her life and pop culture. She tweeted at people. She started the Ball of Twine Photo Challenge which has blown up, thanks in no small part to Wil Wheaton. (Damn you, Nathan Filion for taking yourself so seriously.) And now, all she has to do is tweet what she had for breakfast and at least 25% of her followers will retweet it. (And that's a conservative estimate.) It’s the easiest thing in the world. 

This brings me to another etiquette point – unless you have a vast Twitter empire, if someone retweets you (RT in Twitter-speak), THANK THEM. Reply to their retweet. It shows that you’re gracious and grateful and they will be more likely to retweet you in the future, expanding that network just a little bit further. What’s more, if you want to be super awesome, you should retweet one of their tweets. You’ll endear yourself to them even more. 

Etiquette is important and people remember it. Bloggers are more likely to comment on blogs where the blogger comments back, and more importantly, where that blogger returns the favor. Same goes for following. We don’t need to be whorish about it – just be polite and do it. The same goes for Twitter. People are more likely to retweet you if you pay it forward. Manners matter, my friends, even when virtually employed.

So what are the highlights?

1.#########! Hashtag! If you can’t find one that’s trending that jives with you, make one up. I hashtag everything (or I do when I remember. This is a lesson for me too, friends.) For example:

You can use hashtags to be funny, ironic, or catch people’s attention. Some of the funniest tweets I’ve read have been made so funny by the hashtags.

2.TAG PEOPLE. Don’t be shy!


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