Sure, you can write. But more importantly, can you tweet?
A seemingly natural fit for authors, the social media platform acts as a conduit for fluid writing. Perhaps an intimidating platform for longform enthusiasts, its terse character limitations embrace the art of carefully crafted, minimalistic prose already mastered by writers. So why are 41 percent of us are still holding out? And, of the 59 percent on Twitter, how many of us actually know what we’re doing?
Great American authors mastered composition so clear, precise and compelling, today’s measures of success would commend them with the coveted “industry expert” status—complete with off-the-charts followers and retweetable one-liners. As a literary genius, remember, you were practically born for this. Whether you’re a blogger, journalist, author or poet, Twitter can help you expand your voice as a writer to help brand yourself in the digital sphere.
Give words a break
For starters, do away with words and focus on image. Your profile photos are like a book cover and, despite knowing better, audiences will ultimately judge. Twitter’s recent Facebook-style revamp, featuring a larger header image and profile photo, targets image-centric viewership. To gain awareness, followers and have your words read by the masses, your profile image should be just that—a picture of your profile. Not a logo, a picture of your kid or any other artistic rendering. You are your brand, and your photo should indicate the face behind the talent.
The header image is where you can have a little fun. For example, if you’re a travel writer, an envy-inducing panoramic shot gets the point across. If pets are your niche, unleash pics of your pooch across the header. Whatever you choose, keep it uniform across all social media to expand your brand throughout all platforms.
Giving you a generous 160 characters to best describe yourself, the bio is imperative to gaining followers. Because your bio is searchable within the platform, you’ll need to consider keywords that are representative of both your brand and your audience. Use hashtags on keywords to help searchability, add Twitter handles to other accounts where appropriate. Also, be sure to include a link to your website, Facebook page, blog or YouTube channel.
In good company
Ever wish you could pick the brains of renowned authors? Be part of a round-table discussion of wits and intellects? Twitter is kind of like that. But it all depends on who you choose to follow. When selecting brands, personalities and businesses, imagine lining up a dream dinner party guest list. Follow people who will bring interest, authority and creative prowess to the table. This group will not only provide you with insightful material to learn from but also help optimize your following by producing engaging content you’re happy to share, comment on and retweet. A good place to start is to search for hashtags on topics that interest you.
Twitter posts allow mere seconds to capture an audience’s attention, and brevity is key. This is your chance to forge your inner Hemingway. Don’t waste time with adverb-ridden posts. Instead, think of posts in terms of headlines and capture your readers’ attention in short words that make a big enough statement to warrant a retweet. To increase virality use hashtags, images and video. For added visibility, take advantage of Twitter’s recent adaptation of Twitter Cards, which enable you to attach images, videos and media experiences to tweets. This drives traffic to your website, enabling you to track the success of each post and gain further insight on your viewership.
Entice a loyal following using your voice. Not sure what your voice is? Consider getting a little Dorothy Parker-esque. Her notably pithy satire filled with what would-be tweetable one-liners demonstrated her understanding that meaningful writing was less about force and more about natural style. Brand yourself with uniquely crafted posts that are true reflections of natural self-expression. To help, Twitter now automatically highlights the tweets that generate the most social love by using a larger font. With a little trial, error and help from Twitter, you’ll gain deeper insight to what your audience wants, and expects, from you.