1) 140 characters is too much. Sure, a tweet is 140 characters in length. But if you want to be retweeted, then you need to keep your tweets under 125 characters. Why? When someone hits the retweet button, “RT @YourName” will automatically be added to your tweet. On average, this will eat up 15 characters – more if you’ve got a long Twitter handle. Mine is 13 characters – @RigaHayworth. Add three more characters for the RT and the space, and this means I shouldn’t tweet more than 124 characters. So check your Twitter handle’s word count and add 3 characters. Subtract the total from 140 to find your optimal tweet length.
2) Link shorteners, please! Links can get long and ugly. Save some space for content and make your tweets more readable by using a link shortener such as bit.ly. Tip: Links positioned about a quarter to a third of the way through a tweet tend to get the most click-throughs.
3) Please retweet? If you want something, ask. Weirdly, statistics show that adding the words “please retweet” actually does increase the odds of being retweeted. “Plz RT” works too, but isn’t quite as effective.
4) Be smart about hashtags. Hashtags are used to make your tweets more searchable. So if you write a paranormal romance, you might, for example use #paranormal, #romance, #lovestory, #ghost, #haunted, #Kindle, #eBook, etc. towards the end of your tweets, or placing hashtags before key words in the body of your tweets. For example: A Midsummer Night's Dream? http://amzn.to/KvAqft The Alchemical Detective will be #free for the #Kindle 6/21! #eBook
If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, head on over to hashtags.org for ideas.
5) Build relationships with other writers. The real leverage from Twitter comes through meeting people on line, building positive relationships and supporting each other. If you’re unsure how to do this, a good way to start is by retweeting and commenting on others' tweets, and thanking them when they do the same for you.
However, a quick, “Thanks for the RT” doesn’t exactly build relationships. If someone retweets or mentions you, take the extra two minutes to check out their Twitter profile, see what they write, and comment on it in your thank you to them. E.g.: @RigaHayworth Thanks for the RT! I love the cover of your #eBook, The Alchemical Detective http://amzn.to/KvAqft #Spooky! If someone did that for me, I’d definitely take the time to check them out, and try to promote them in turn. Wouldn’t you?
6) Keep it positive. Don’t, don’t, don’t rant or complain online. You may be totally justified, the other person might be an irrational jerk. But nine times out of ten, snarky tweets will just make you look like someone to avoid. Like grandma said, if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. Or: Never tweet in anger.
7) It’s about your readers – not you. A constant stream of ads for your book is… spam. So try to provide content that’s of interest to your readers. Tweet about other writers in your genre, great quotes from authors you admire, and articles you’ve read that have inspired your paranormal writing. Writing about fairies? Tweet about your research into the world of the fae. (And in case you’re wondering, this explains the recent spate of fairy tweets you may have seen on @ParaYourNormal – I’ve got stacks of fairy reference material on my desk).
Kirsten Weiss is the Twitter Coordinator for @ParaYourNormal, and the author of two paranormal mysteries available on the Kindle: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, and The Alchemical Detective. She is also hard at work on the third book in the Riga Hayworth series, The Shamanic Detective, due Halloween 2012. Follow her on Twitter @RigaHayworth, check out her paranormal world boards on Pinterest, or read her paranormal author blog at: kirstenweiss.com