Monday, March 10, 2014

How Twitter Can Be Your New Social Media BFF

Puffy Blue Bird
By Laurie Epps

Social media can be intimidating enough for those of us who didn't grow up with computers, and it was a leap for us to want to be on Facebook. Now that we're acquainted with Facebook, we're going to get familiar with it's younger sibling, Twitter.

Here to guide us through the ropes is social media expert, Edie Melson, with her fabulous book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers

What trips a lot of us up is the 140 character max for a "Tweet." But if you can learn creative ways of working within this requirement, Twitter packs a social media punch that has attracted more attention to my blog than any other medium. When combined with Facebook, the power duo will reach 95% of your viewers. Now that's something to sing about!
Blue Bird in a Flowering Tree

Here's some of the top reasons to use Twitter:

  • It's a great marketing tool.
  • Due to it's nature, you're not hogging your readers time.
  • Once you get used to it, Twitter is one of the easiest tools to use.
  • Twitter helps boost your visibility on the web, and increases the viewership of your blog by 50-60%.
  • Twitter operates in 140 character bursts, which makes them easy to share or reproduce.
  • Personal Note*: They say you've got 140 characters, but really you've got 120, if you want your readers to be able to re-tweet.

If you haven't got a Twitter account, you should get one. It's very easy to get started with Twitter. Just go to and click get started--join. Follow the prompted directions to set up your Twitter account. (More detailed info is in Edie's book.) The entire process without the creative backgrounds, etc takes under four minutes.

Blue Bird compliments of Warbler Calls
Settings are very important on Twitter:

  • Enter your full name-- only spammers and newbie's don't. Remember that you want to be found.
  • Make sure the time zone field is set correctly.
  • Enter your location, again, you want to be found.
  • Don't click on protect update's, this negates the whole purpose of Twitter.
  • Make sure you upload a photo. (If you don't have a photo people won't want to follow you.)
    • Just click on the photo/picture tab, select a photo, and upload it.
  • Then you'll be able to customize the overall theme of your Twitter page. There's tons of templates, this can be fun, but a caution is that it can become a time sucker. Your page is ready after that.
  • You'll be guided through prompts after that to import contacts from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc and it's up to you, but know that many of your friends will be irritated and regard it as spam.
  • Edie recommends that you look for twenty or so people you know, and go from there.
  • A little Twitter etiquette: it's common courtesy that if someone follows you on Twitter, that you follow them back. Also, by putting #teamfollowback as part of your tagline, it does attract followers.
Edie spends the rest of the chapter teaching us how to write an effective tweet, but as for me, I say to just have fun! But if you're doing this under protest, and want great results right away, refer to pages 75-76.

Connect activity: Spend some time on Twitter, sign up for it if you don't have it, and start tweaking your Twitter account while it's fresh in your mind. I love to play with the different templates and photo backgrounds. To visit my page, click on this link: I'll follow you back within ten days.

Can't get enough social media? Check out Edie's Social Media Mondays column. I read it every week.

Join us next week where we'll give Twitter placement in the Marketing Triad.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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