Sara Sheridan, self-confessed Twitter evangelist, offers practical tips for building your brand on Twitter.
It’s amazing how many writers shy away from social media when really it’s an ideal forum for communication. I’ve picked up some great ideas, research tips and even jobs, just in the course of being online. I wrote this article in the Guardian last year about my early experiences. I don’t think those experiences are uncommon. I always recommend people to start slowly and give it a try. Here are three secrets to doing well on Twitter.
1. Remember that Twitter is like being in the pub. You might be tweeting to a friend, but everyone can hear what you’re saying. Be inclusive – just like you would at a party – and don’t spill your secrets.
2. Never fake an interest. In fact, never fake anything. I only follow people who tweet about writing, reading or history. Those are my genuine interests. I only tweet material that really appeals to me and I only talk about what I’m really up to (though, of course, not everything I’m up to…)
3. Play nicely! Twitter is a generous medium – people will recommend you, pass on interesting items you tweet about, help with research or ideas if you ask them to – so take that attitude too. Follow and give people a try, if someone asks for a favour and you can accommodate them, then go ahead. Ask questions about what people are up to. If they have a project, take an interest. What you put out there comes back to you in spades.