Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Twitter For New Authors 1: You're Doing It Wrong

Twitta, tweeps, tweeple, and all of the goofy little-girl names people have for the single most effective promotional platform in existence irk me.  I hate cutesy phrases, much the same way I feel like ice water is being poured down my back when someone calls Target "Tar-jay."  It was funny the first time.  I call it Twitter.  What you call it is strictly up to you and has little to do with the main thrust of this post.

So, Twitter.  You're doing it wrong.

Not all of you, certainly, but a good majority of upstart authors and technologically challenged older folks are screwing up the system for the rest of us.  Have no fear.  El Presidente is here.

I've said before that the most important tool to use Twitter effectively is Tweetadder, but if you didn't believe me then, you won't believe me now.  That being said, I'm not going to get into any of the things that are covered by using software (Such as: Gaining new followers, who to follow, unfollowing, auto-tweeting, etc.).  Stop being so cheap and drop the $50 to get the Pro Tools.  End of Rant.

The first mistake I see people make is that they do not understand what their Twitter feed looks like.  Every message YOU send appears on your profile, and none of the incoming ones do.

Why is this muy importante, El Presidente? 

Well, if you send every new person who follows you a "Thanks for Following" message along with an ad for your amazing book, your twitter profile and feed is going to look like this:

"Thanks for following me @ApiarySociety.  Be sure to check out my amazing awesome special new book by clicking this link."
"Thanks for following me @LaliberteLaurie.  Be sure to check out my amazing awesome special new book by clicking this link."
"Thanks for following me" etc etc etc.

Now, all of the people who are following you are seeing that as well.  If the only thing people ever see from you are the same message thanking new followers with a promotional ad for your book, you might as well change your profile picture to the default egg and start spamming them for free iPads.

Think of it this way:

Social networking is much the same as real life.  If you and I showed up at the same party and the first thing you did was walk up to me and say, "Hi, I'm Jill and I would love for you to buy some of my Mary Kay cosmetic products" then you and I will not be spending much time together.
....unless Jill is wearing just the right outfit and in possession of the right anatomical advantages....mmmm....Jill....


As you acquire more and more followers, (I have over 11,000 followers and follow over 11,000 as well.) you would do best to do what I do: Ignore the bastards!  Ignore them.  Don't bother them.  Don't sell them anything.  Don't call out their name and thank them and jump up and down like a fruitcake with #WW's and #FF's and whatever the hell else people do.  Ignore them.

Until you have a reason not to.

I routinely go into the Twitter feed of people I follow and look for interesting things they have going on.  Now, with 11k people you can imagine I see some pretty bizarre things.  Do I take the high road and ignore them?  No I do not.  I make fun of them CONSTANTLY.

I used to be like you.  I used to be different.  It all changed for me on September 11th, 2011.

There is a girl from Australia who was one of my first hardcore Twitter fans.  She emailed me constantly, sent me dirty pictures, the whole nine yards.  She retweeted everything I said and constantly told new people to jump on board the @ApiarySociety train.

I stayed professional.  Never turn down a fan.  Always be neutral.

On 9/11, I posted something about the terrorists who attacked us and stole all those thousands of lives from us.  How much I hated them.  How I wished to God I could destroy every single scum-sucking one of them.

She responded: What's the big deal about 9/11?  Thousands of ANIMALS get slaughtered every week!!!!! 

And I just snapped.

I mean, I went Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.  It wasn't pretty.  I dropped the F-bomb like I was flying over Berlin in the 40's.  And after that, I deleted her and blocked her and realized I'd totally lost my carefully guarded professional persona on Twitter.

Thank God.  It was time to stop being a wussy and start being real.

Being real has worked for every single successful modern communicator we know of, from Lenny Bruce to Howard Stern to Ronald Reagan.  If you say what you mean, and what is in your heart, and you are passionate and not afraid of the consequences, people will respect you.

If they respect you, they will follow you.  End of lesson.  I'll be back soon.



  1. Excellent post. Enjoyed the Snoop reference. It's a good point about not spamming everyone with your book. And I do get a little self-conscious about keeping my twitter stream interesting in case anyone is actually looking at it and not latching on to some other piece of info when they decide to follow me.

  2. Oh I thought all those #ffs was people being polite. Yikes I better get in there and start telling some folks off. Good to know.

  3. If that's what you took away from this, it clearly wasn't meant for you.