Twitter has quickly become one of the most effective social media networks for writers. Even literary giants such as Stephen King and Margaret Atwood use Twitter to interact with fellow writers, fans, and publishing industry insiders. But as easy as it is to positively connect with all your Twitter followers, it’s just as easy to send a major faux pas flying across thousands of Twitter feeds in an instant.
Here Are Eight Of The Biggest Mistakes Writers Commit On Twitter—And How To Avoid Them!
- Submitting to agents and editors through tweets – Literary agencies and journals have submission guidelines and pages for a reason. Agents and editors are on Twitter to interact with fans, readers, and the writers they represent or publish, not to solicit queries and submissions. They consider it unprofessional for writers to pitch their works to them on social media networks, and it shows them that the writer has not done his or her research.
- Being inconsistent – Not using the same hashtag for a certain topic can cause confusion for your followers. We understand that in the flurry of tweets and trending topics, you might get caught up in the conversation; however, a little organization goes a long way. Keeping your hashtags and topics consistent ensures that people who follow you won’t miss anything important that you have to say.
- Neglecting @ mentions – Use the @ mention feature to direct your tweet at specific users so that they can spot your tweet and answer you right away. And don’t forget to reply to the tweets that mention you too!
- Tweeting infrequently – Maintaining an online presence reminds your followers that you’re there, you’re willing to engage, and you have interesting things to say. We don’t suggest that you glue yourself to your Twitter feed 24/7—but you should consider carving out some time in your weekly routine to check in online. You can even schedule your tweets for the entire week in advance using tools like Hootsuite to organize your Twitter feed. And if you don’t have the time or inclination to regularly tweet and engage with your audience, check out our Virtual Assistant program to see how we can do it for you!
- Cluttering up tweets with irrelevant hashtags – Using too many hashtags, especially hashtags that don’t have a solid connection to your tweet, can annoy followers. It takes up character spaces you could be using for your actual tweet, and spams the hashtag that doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re saying.
- Oversharing – Some writers air out their issues over social media, especially on Twitter, where they know they can get a reaction as soon as they publish their tweet. But oversharing is a turnoff for followers and potential readers! And flooding your followers’ Twitter feed with pushy sales pitches screaming Buy My Book! will cause them to quickly unfollow you.
- Networking, but not socializing – This goes back to what we just said about over-promoting: Twitter is for establishing connections and announcing exciting news, but don’t forget that you have to be social on social media! Strike up thoughtful conversations, jump into trending topics, and get to know people – don’t just cozy up to Twitter users you think can boost you and your writing.
- Treating Twitter like other social media networks – Twitter is not interchangeable with Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or other social media sites. Take the time to learn how best to utilize what makes Twitter unique from the other sites. Twitter is a great means to post a concise thought, a witty observation, or an engaging prompt. It’s good to remember that Twitter is for easy conversation, not lengthy anecdotes, works of fiction, or professional opportunities.
QUESTION: What other mistakes have you discovered that writers make on Twitter?
While number 1 is true most of the time, there are some special events where it is fine to pitch agents (within certain rules), such as #PitMad, #PitchMAS, #PitchWars, and others.
Thanks for your comment, Aaron! It’s true, there are certain events that allow you to pitch to agents using social media. But except for during those special instances, you should not pitch to agents over social media.