People keep talking about what a great marketing tool Twitter is, but some of us – call us the unhip, technologically-challenged generation – can’t help but wonder why. It all just seems like noise to us. Particularly if you’re following a whole bunch of authors who spam your feed with automated “buy my book!!!” tweets. (Of course, nobody here would do that, right?)
On a recent blog tour, I learned about one way to use Twitter that actually allows you to interact with others. It’s called a TwitterView. The term is a mashup of “Twitter interview.” Basically, you get together with another indie author and agree on a date and time to meet on Twitter. One person is designated as the interviewer. At the appointed hour, the interviewer starts tweeting questions, including the interviewee’s Twitter username in each tweet. Then the other person tweets his or her replies. The interviewer needs to include the hashtag #twitterview at the end of each question, and it’s a good idea for the person responding to do it, too.
In my case, the interviewer was the owner of Orangeberry Book Tours, which organized the blog tour I was on. Four authors, all of us on the same tour, were the interview subjects. The questions came maybe twenty minutes to a half-hour apart, and the whole thing lasted about three hours – so we fielded maybe eight or ten questions in all. It was really hard to keep my responses to 140 characters, particularly when I included the hashtag in my answer. Toward the end, I just used the whole 140 characters and hoped anyone who was really interested in seeing all the responses would click on “View conversation.”
You don’t actually have to be there when the TwitterView happens. Because the interviewer includes your username, the questions will show up under your Connect tab, so you can answer them later. But for maximum exposure, it’s probably a good idea to participate in real time.
Of course, other people can see your TwitterView, and even chime in. But they have to know it’s happening. So you will want to promote it ahead of time. Make sure to include the #twitterview hashtag in your promos.
If you’d rather have a less formal gathering, you can set up a TwitterChat instead. Again, you and your fellow indie authors agree on a time and date, and publicize the event ahead of time, but this time with the hashtag #twitterchat. Many people also create a hashtag just for the chat, so that participants can filter their feeds to catch just the tweets in your conversation. How do you do that? The hashtag is a link. When you click on it, Twitter shows you only the tweets that include that hashtag. (I mentioned that I’m part of the unhip, technologically-challenged generation, right? I did not know until just now that hashtags are links. Feel free to laugh and point at me – my daughter just did. Kids these days.) If you do create your own hashtag, be sure to include it in your promo tweets, and tell participants to put it at the end of all their tweets during the chat.
Happy TwitterViewing and TwitterChatting!