Friday, June 14, 2013

Let's Not Be Twits on Twitter! #TBSU

Three friends recently and separately have mentioned that they don't get the point of Twitter, or that they aren't sure how to make the most of it. I've ended up emailing my approach to tweeting to them, and they've tried it and liked it. So here's the Handy Dandy Carole Remy Twitter Plan! Tested and approved by three (count 'em three!) non-empirical, non-scientist friends!

Warning, this takes a bit of time. I don't use any paid services, only TweetDeck to schedule tweets. I love doing it all myself! The people I meet are awesome and often turn into friends over time.

To Get New Followers

We all want Twitter friends who follow back, and who Retweet us every once in awhile. The best way to find them is to Retweet and follow them yourself first! BTW, 'retweet' looks strange, even with unlimited characters, so I'll switch to RT.

  • Go to 'Home' on your Twitter tab and start browsing. Or go to the profile of someone you know and find people who have RTed them. 
  • When you see someone interesting, click on the person until you get to their Profile page.
  • Check that they have recent tweets, and that they RT other people, not just send out tons of self-promotion.
  • Find something you want to RT of theirs, preferably one of their direct tweets and not just something they retweeted.
  • RT it and follow them. 
  • Send them a message (not a DM) that you just RTed and followed them. Add a personal note if you can. "I love your blog," if it's true. "Cute Dog!" if there's a dog! I always add, 'Nice to meet you!'
  • You now have about a 90% chance that they will follow you back. 
It does take awhile, but it's worth it. If I do this for 30 minutes a day, I can pick up 10-15 new followers, and they stick! They are real people, because I picked them carefully in the first place! Also, I try to find people from all over the world, and not only writers.

Click here to follow me, if you want. I'll follow back!
Woohoo! Have fun! I actually love doing this! I've met so many people who feel real to me, even if we only communicate on Twitter.

You Have Followers! What Now?

Now you get busy RTing. I have various Lists on Twitter. The Go To List for me is Frequent RTers! These are the 100 or so people who RT me consistently, and they get the royal treatment. At least once a day, I run down the list and RT everything that looks interesting. Yes, I do RT advertising of authors' books, but sparingly. I try to RT something from at least half of the people on the list every day. This part is pretty quick, maybe 20 minutes.

I'm also part of The Blog Scratchers Union, a group of bloggers who support each other. At least once a day, I search #TBSU on Twitter, and RT most of the tweets. You are welcome to join the group! Seumas Gallacher started it, and gives a full explanation here on his blog.

What to Tweet?

I have a simple rule for this. Tweet what you like to read.

  • I like quotes, so I look for fun quotes in Bartlett's and I tweet them. 
  • I appreciate when people give me a heads up for an interesting post they wrote awhile ago, that maybe I didn't catch at the time, so I tweet the posts from my archives that have enduring interest.
  • I appreciate hearing about free books on Kindle, so I RT and tweet those notices, though I try to check out the Amazon page first to make sure the book is a good read.

  • I LOVE it when someone spontaneously tweets one of my blog posts, so I try to find and tweet a few new blog posts every day.

  • When someone writes a post I really enjoy, it goes onto the list along with my own archives, for rotational tweeting.
  • Here's my sneaky way of slipping in a bit of advertising. When I send out an archive that relates to one of my books, I tack on the Amazon link. That's it. NO direct, "Buy this amazing book!" Just a little link added to something of general interest.

Organize It All Efficiently

All this could be a ton of work, so it pays to be super-organized. I keep a Google Drive document of "Tweets to Use Again" open all the time on my desktop. If I see something to put in rotation, boom, it gets copied into the document immediately. The document generally has 100-200 available tweets, including quotes, my archives, and other people's archives.

On to Tweetdeck... I schedule one tweet per hour, 24/7. Sometimes I don't schedule for a few hours or a day, and that's fine too. I just go to the Drive file of available tweets and copy and paste whatever strikes my fancy, an hour at a time, changing the wording just a bit each time. After I use a tweet, I highlight the background so I won't use it again too soon. If a tweet hasn't appealed to me for awhile, I bump it out of the rotation.

That's it. It's really pretty easy, and doesn't take more than a few minutes a day to schedule something for once an hour. Then I relax and only tweet stuff occasionally that appeals to me in the moment, usually something interesting that I've read or an RT from someone else.

Say Thank You!

This is the part that still bogs me down! I often get 20 or so new followers to thank every day, and another 40 or 50 RTs and mentions. Whew! I make lists, but haven't figured out a way to do that except by hand. I batch up the actual thank you tweets, but hand check each person's profile before I add their name. Sometimes I need to follow someone who has RTed me, or someone who has followed me first. Unfortunately, I can't remember all the names, so I always check!

My latest innovation is to print up an A to Z page with lines, to add @names of RTers and mentioners in alpha order. My hope is that I can keep track and thank people once or twice a week, and won't need to make a new list every day! Today with #FollowFriday is the first try for this. I'll let you know how it works.

If you have ideas about how to thank people personally, that don't involve being tied to the keyboard 24/7 or handing over control of following and unfollowing to a third party, PLEASE let me know!

Plea for Help!

That's the end of the Twitter post, folks! And the end of my limited social media tips, such as they are... Now, I'm asking for your help! I do NOT understand Goodreads—HELP! I kind of like Google+, but clearly haven't gotten the hang of using it—HELP!

My Facebook fan page, sigh...—HELP! There's a new Like-My-FB-Page button you can click on this page, right below the Skelat badge on the top right. Or, better yet,

Maybe if we all stick together, we can get the hang of this social media thing! What's your favorite medium? Have you written a blog post about it? Feel free to share links to your social-media-tips posts in the comments. Whew! And thank you again, both for reading this blog so faithfully, and for helping me figure out what the heck to do with the other media!

Check out these related posts:

Three excellent blogs, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU


  1. Thanks for sharing this; what a lot of good ideas. I got the hang of Twitter basics by following a book called something like 'Your 5 Days Twitter Action Plan' and that got me going but I've been slightly floundering around since. You've made some really useful suggestions especially about how to organise yourself. Thanks very much. Best wishes, Cathy

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy!

      I get overwhelmed sometimes by the sheer numbers of all the social media things to keep track of. I hope the suggestions help you. Let me know how they work out. BTW I tried the "Thanks" notation page and it helped. Yeah!


    2. Hmmm, mixing IDs... That's not the right author photo for this blog, Google!

      I just went to your blog, Cathy, and I love it! I joined and hope that one day you'll be inclined to review one of my novels. If you ever want a free review copy, let me know.


    3. Thanks for stopping by my blog Carole. I'll take a look and let you know meanwhile back to the social media. I've been looking at Tweetdeck as you suggested but it's too complicated for me. I've just tried Twuffer for scheduling a few tweets for early morning when I'm asleep so if that works ok thanks for the idea. Your plan for getting more followers is really helpful and works well so once again thanks very much.

    4. Hi Cathy,

      Tweetdeck baffles me too. I just open it and go straight to 'scheduling,' and shut my eyes to the rest of the columns. I'll take a look at Twuffer. I'm glad the suggestions are helpful.


  2. These are great Twitter tips! I can add a couple of tips for some of the other sites for you:

    1)On Google+ it automatically sets your posts to "private" (which only gets seen by your friends), but if you set it to "public" other people can see the posts and they can get picked up in topic searches. Also, I've discovered that posting to my own feed is way less effective than posting to group feeds.

    2) On Pinterest, add your blog link (or Amazon page) in the description for every one of your original pins. Well over half of the social media traffic I get now comes from Pinterest!

    1. Thanks so much, Nathalie! These are great tips! There's so much to keep track of. It really helps when we put our heads together.

      Did you see I made your muffins again? I posted a photo and link to your recipe on my FB page. I LOVE these muffins!



  3. This is a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! I hope this information will come in handy. To get new follower we can use different directory like

    1. Thanks Nuxeo. I'll check out twiends. I'm glad the suggestions were helpful.