Welcome back to another week in the Social Media and Sex Writing series as part of Erotic Promo Tips for sex bloggers and erotic authors. Whew! That’s a mouthful. (Hehe, that’s what she said.)
Last week, the topic was Facebook, and unfortunately, a lot of people have similar experiences to mine with advertising and trying to self-promote. That doesn’t make it a bad platform for connecting with readers, but not everyone can throw money at it and consider themselves done.
This week, let’s discuss Twitter. A lot of people are on it, but many don’t know what to do with it.
Complete Your Profile
I didn’t mention this in the Facebook piece (although it’s definitely a good idea there, too) but in Twitter, your first introduction with a potential new follower is your profile. Here are a couple of basics to keep in mind:
- Talk about yourself – give people an idea of who you are, what you do, and what they can expect from you
- Share a link if you have one – pick the one you most want visits to
- Don’t forget an image – both profile and cover
Why is this important? Well, I’ll give it to you from my perspective, and you do with that what you want. As a sex blogger, kinkster, and erotic author, on any given day, I can be followed by a reader, a fellow blogger or author, a kinkster, a bot, or some random person who didn’t read my profile before following me. I’m not getting dozens of follows a day, but it’s enough that I’ve had to learn how to be selective in who I follow back.
Note: Some people automatically follow back whether through tools or just because that’s what they do. That’s not my preference, but you do you. There’s no rule that says you can’t.
When I’m glancing at new followers, I’m trying to determine how we might be connected or why we should connect. Plus, I’m trying not to follow spammers (typically, the buy 10 million followers for $10 people) – even though not following them certainly doesn’t stop them from mentioning you in spammy tweets. But if you have nothing in your profile, how do I know who you are? I don’t. And I might assume you’re a bot because you haven’t told me the first thing about you. Incomplete profiles can lower your chances of being followed or make it hard for the people you want to follow you to know who you are and what you do.
Stay Organized with Lists
Lists have a bit of power on Twitter. Other users can see your lists, unless you set them to private, and follow the list or find other people to follow. If anyone uses my lists for that, cool. But that’s not why I created them.
I needed a way to keep up with different segments of the people I follow. I didn’t want my friends’ tweets to get lost in the constant spinning of new tweets hitting my feed. Plus, I wanted to be able to keep up with groups of people I’m interested in:
- Authors (Sometimes I include bloggers because I really mean “Writers” when I say “Authors”)
- Adult businesses
- Fellow kinksters
My list of lists is longer than that, and they all serve a specific function. I can see certain segments of people at a glance. I’m able to interact with, retweet, and find new content to read that is interesting to me based on the people in those lists.
The value of the list is different for everyone. For me, it keeps me organized and helps me catch tweets I might otherwise miss. For the people on them, it potentially gives them a bit of visibility when anyone else checks out my list. And for those who are looking for new authors or other kinksters or just a new sex business to follow, my list is a resource.
You Can’t Advertise but You Shouldn’t Spam Either
As people who peddle sex, we’re not able to use Twitter business services for advertising. They’re just now allowing sexual health ads (like condoms) so can you imagine some of the smut we write being approved? Twitter is actually pretty clear in their terms and conditions for advertising.
What’s the policy?
Twitter prohibits the promotion of adult or sexual products and services globally. Read more.
Okay, so you can’t buy an ad, but as long as you’re not violating other parts of Twitter’s Terms of Service or being blocked or reported by people you’re annoying, you can tweet out just about anything you want. Which means, in a way, you can still advertise, but only to your audience and your follower’s audience, if they retweet you.
The cool thing about Twitter – which is also the frustrating thing – is that you can repeat your message (tweet) multiple times. Unless you’re famous, one single tweet probably isn’t going to get much notice. Twitter feeds move too fast once you start following several hundred people for you to see everything at a glance. So if you’ve got a really good post on your website or a new book release, tweet about it a few times over the course of a day, a week, and a month. Go for it.
But don’t spam!
Don’t randomly mention people you don’t know in your tweet just to get in front of their audience. If we’re not connected, and I’m not following you, I will block and report that behavior in a heartbeat.
Don’t repeat the same damn tweet over and over again. If you follow me, and I check you out – to make sure you’re legit – I shouldn’t see the same tweet, even with multiple variations, over and over again. Share other people’s content (Triberr is your friend!). Tweet your thoughts. Hell, tweet lines from your books or blog posts. But don’t flood the feed with the same message.
Ask for retweets. Your message is much more powerful when it’s tweeted by other people. Feel free to include a RT pls or please RT in your tweet. Remember, you’ve only got 140 characters so use them wisely.
Hashtags, Direct Messages, and Following “Tools”
I have definite opinions on what to do on Twitter and what not to do, but since we’re all different, and my opinions don’t directly relate back to getting more eyes on your blogs or books, I’ll just give you the basics of what I think and you can do with it as you please:
No more than three hashtags in a tweet is the “rule” for Twitter. No, it’s not an official rule (nobody will take away your tweeting privileges for it), but anything more than three, and you might be labeled a spammer. Your tweet should have content that tells people something. A tweet of nothing but hashtags doesn’t do that.
Receiving auto direct messages – the ones that are sent out by tools like Crowdfire, when I follow someone are a pet peeve of mine. The fact that I got the message isn’t so bad. I can ignore that. But the messages are most often completely impersonal OR they’re spammy. We just met, I followed you because you followed me first (that’s how I roll), and you’re encouraging me to buy your book, follow you on Facebook, or visit your site. STRANGER-DANGER! You’ve almost guaranteed I (and many others like me) won’t be doing what you asked. We may even unfollow (although I rarely do that). Note: Sometimes the messages I get are a pleasant, “Hey thanks for following me! I hope we can connect.” I still don’t respond but I’m not annoyed either.
Tools that autofollow, automessage, and automate your interactions on Twitter are not my favorite thing. I get followed by people who, if they would read my profile, wouldn’t come near me on Twitter. They’re straight vanilla, business people who may not want to be associated with anything NSFW, and they’ve just followed a vocal (and kinky) sex writer. Why is this a problem? Because I run the risk of getting reported by them as inappropriate or for some other reason when I show up in their feed. It’s not my fault they followed me – maybe I tweeted something with a specific hashtag – but I might be the one to pay the price. Automation has some definite uses, but if you’re not careful or paying attention, it can have a serious downside.
Like I’ve said before, if what you’re doing on Twitter is completely different than what I’ve laid out here – and you’re selling books and growing the number of visitors to your website – keep doing what you’re doing. But if Twitter has been a mystery or a total disaster, take what you consider helpful from here and try applying it. If it works, great. If not, no worries. There’s no grade at the end of this, you know. Do the best you can, and, when in doubt, leave Twitter alone until you feel ready to tackle it (if ever).