The world of freelance writing is changing fast; Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, is a great way to keep up to date with the changes. But beware: if you’re using Twitter, tweet with a plan — otherwise Twitter can be a fun time-sink and much less useful for your career than it should be.
Here are four tips to help you to build your writing success with Twitter.
1. Use Separate Accounts for Business and Personal Tweets
Did you know that you can have as many Twitter accounts as you wish? Make use of this facility. You need to separate purely personal tweets for your family and friends, from business tweets.
On your personal Twitter account, tweet away on your shopping, the music you’re listening to, and the sandwich you just ate. On your business account, make useful contacts, network with other writers, and get writing jobs.
2. Set Goals and Achieve Them
Once you’ve separated business and purely personal, it’s time to set a goal for what you want to achieve. You can set as many goals as you wish, but each goal should have a deadline, and once the deadline has passed, take a few minutes to write a short report on your success, or failure.
A word about “failures”: I’m a big fan of failures, simply because with any goal worth achieving, you’ll FAIL your way to success… there’s no other way to achieve success than by shooting at a goal and missing.
You can set goals for anything, but let’s say you’ve found a Web site or magazine you love, and for which you think you could write. On your business account, tweet using hash tags to enquire about the company (more on hash tags below.)
Usually you’ll get a tweet back within moments, often from someone in the company asking how they can help you. This is much more effective than writing a query email or letter.
3. Use Hash Tags to Attract Attention from Your Target Audience
Hash tags are a way to tag your tweets, so that your tweets can be indexed and found. Tagging is simple, just prefix your topic/ tag with the hash sign: #.
Here are some examples:
You want to tag a tweet about Twitter: #Twitter
You want to tag a tweet about writing: #writing
You want to tag a freelance tweet: #freelance
4. Measure Your Success
It’s easy to waste time on sites like Twitter, for minimal results.
For example, I’ve chatted with several writers who were thrilled that their follower count was increasing day by day. But when I asked: “How’s that helping you?” they didn’t have an answer.
Building a big follower count can be useful if that’s a goal which will serve a purpose for you. Often however, follower counts are only used as a measure because they’re highly visible.
It’s much more useful to measure your success by the goals you’ve achieved — research you’ve found, sources who contacted you, writers with whom you’ve formed a relationship, editors who’ve contacted you… Twitter can help you to achieve your writing goals, as long as you tweet with a plan.