Top 10 Tips for Using TwitterIt’s easy and free to create a Twitter Account but how to take advantage of this great tool still eludes many.

Twitter Cheat Sheet for Authors

Basic Terminology:

TWEET – Any message 140 characters long sent out to everybody. Unless you send a direct message (DM), everything on Twitter is viewable to the public.

DM – Direct Message. These messages are private and only between people who DM each other.

RT – Retweet. Twitter has created a re-tweeting tool that makes it easier, but the standard convention is to put a RT, cite the source of the message, and then retweet.

Example, if I wrote: “I write, but not always right.” You would RT @unrulyguides “I write, but not always right.”

The goal is to encourage others to retweet your message thus expanding your reach.

# – Hashtag. These are used in front of a word or set of letters to allow easy communication on a specific topic. For example, if you tweet about dogs with other canine lovers, you could use the hashtag #dogtalk. This becomes a clickable link in your message and when clicked will display all the tweets using that hashtag.

#FF – Follow Friday. It’s a nice way to show support of other tweeters. On Friday.

10 Tips to Optimize Your Use of Twitter:

1. Use Your Real Name, If Possible

Make it easy for people who know you to find you on Twitter.

2. Add a Profile Picture

This should be a picture of you. People connect better with other people, not cartoons, book covers, logos, etc.

3. Link to Your Website

Hopefully you have a blog or website you can link to. If you don’t, create one now.

4. Write Your Bio

Make it memorable. Make it relevant to who you are. You don’t have to be funny or cute, but if you can, and still be relevant, then do it.

5. Tweet Regularly

This is the biggest obstacle for authors. But it is key to promotion. It doesn’t matter if you only have two followers and one is your mom, you still need to tweet daily, to be effective.

If you don’t have something to write, then RT something funny or useful. Another way is to connect your blog to your twitter account, then every “post” you write is automatically “tweeted” on Twitter.

6. Tweet Relevant Information

Don’t tweet every moment of your life, such as “I am eating a hamburger” or “I should have ate a salad.” These tweets are not interesting or relevant. However, if you were eating a hamburger with Johnny Depp sitting at the next table, then by all means, tweet. “I just ate the best hamburger sitting next to Johnny Depp. Now I am ready to write my romance novel.”

7. Link and Don’t Link

It’s good to link to other places and share your discoveries; however, if all you do is link, people may think you are just trying to sell to them and won’t give much regard to your posts.

8. Have a Personality

This is easy. Be yourself. You don’t have to be overly, funny or smart. Twitter is all about connecting with people – so be a person.

9. Follow Those Worth Following

Some people are all into the quantity. But I recommend looking for quality. Just because you are being followed by someone you do not have to return the follow. Only follow people that are relevant and beneficial to you or your audience.

10. Communicate with Others

Twitter is all about communication. If people talk to you or RT your message, then talk back and/or thank them. (SECRET: People like to feel involved and acknowledged. I like it, you like it, everybody likes it.)

Set up your free Twitter Account.

By Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott (c) 2012