Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TUES TIP Twitter Hashtagging Part Trois: Hashtagging for Good Not Evil @jhansenwrites #WITS #pubtip

Okay, I think I spelled the French for 3 correctly but I don't have a clue how to write 4 in French so this really has to be it! Of course, I could switch to Spanish. Can you say Quattro? Yeah, I think we should move on.

There were just too many hashtags to put into the last 2 weeks' posts, when I wanted to focus on how tweeting and branding through social media usage are tied together. Today's Twitter Series entry is about hashtagging for fun--while still making it work for your business.

Quick Review

In the first entry of the Twitter Series, I went over the 3 basic tools you need learn to be able to function on Twitter:

1. The "@" sign called a "mention" or "reply"
2. The "DM" or Direct Message which you can only do when you follow someone
3. The magical number/pound/hash mark called "hashtagging"

A few posts later, in Mastering Twitterspeak, I discussed hashtagging in the context of having the same conversation as other people on Twitter, rather than using Twitter like a broadcasting platform. The Mastering Twitterspeak post also linked to Mashable's great little list of Twitter terms/acronyms/shorthand which you might want to review now. (GGG)

I've also been talking lately about Branding Your Tweets as a marketing strategy or making sure your brand is not diluted by having too much fun on Twitter. Never forget that your public presence is your brand, whether you intended for it to be or not.

In Part Deux (or Part 2 for you Americans reading this) I went over a handful of writerly hashtags--that is, I gave you the reader entry passes into the Twitter conversations which might most interest an Indie Author. These are conversations where writers are talking to other writers.

To me, that's not marketing so much as networking. Don't get me wrong, networking is very important. This past week, I joined the Novel Publicity Network (we tried to create hashtag #NPN but it seems to be more about Hot Asian Chicks, esp. from Japan, than it is about writerly topics. There are NPN Twitter lists, though. See mine and others') That's not marketing your brand to external customers (people who'll buy your book). That's hobnobbing with your internal customers (people who'll retweet your sales pitches). See my Monday Marketing article on Branding Your Tweets for more about that distinction.

Today, I want to go over some of the Twitter hashtags you can use and exploit to deliver those promo tweets, the ones with links to your book, or your blog or any other links that lead a prospect into your clutches. I mean, offer the customer a means to buy what you're selling. Of course that's what I meant!

Lists of Hashtags That Are Fun AND Useful

Everyone has a list. When I started discussing hashtags, I refrained from offering you links to all of them because OMG we'd be here forever! I can only make these posts so long before I know you stop reading. The list by Jenny Hansen (@jhansenwrites), however, was a good one I "saved" to come back to and today is the day of return. Jenny's blog post has more than just a list of hashtags, so do click through, but here are a couple of hashtags I left off last time that you might be able to use without diluting your branding efforts:

#WITS - Writers In the Storm, Jenny's blog, actually is a tag a lot of readers and writers use to collect each other's tweets without actually "listing" anyone.

#myWANA - Likewise, this tag, taken from Kristen Lamb's book title, We Are Not Alone, where she discusses how Indie Authors can use social media to hobnob with each other and not feel quite so alone in the "us versus them" battle to sell your book to the masses. There are a lot of other discussions being tagged #myWANA so check it out before you figure this one's not for you.

Don't forget to revisit Simon Kewin's list, 40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers, which obviously, I am not going to reproduce en toto here but last time I declined to mention some of particular note. They're included in the "Daily Hashtags" lists below.

Before I move onto the daily list, though, I should note there are a lot of duplicates. The idea of hashtags, obviously, has taken off on Twitter. It was created by the users, for the users, not by Twitter, not by Indie Authors, not by anyone else "in charge" and there's no one setting rules that anyone "has to" abide by. It's a user-driven activity. That means there are a lot of opinions when a hashtag gets shortened as to what it originally meant.

The perfect example is #WW which has been equally used as "Worth Watching" and "Writers Wednesday." Guess who decided on the latter usage? Just because you think a tag means something doesn't make it so. Plug the hashtag into the Twitter search box (on the original web site, not a client app since most of them use some third-party search service and can give misleading results). Check the first two  screens worth of tweets for that tag's results. You'll get the gist of what Twitter users are doing with it--no matter what you may prefer or think it "should" be used for instead. Reality bites sometimes but it rulez.

Daily Hashtags

Pretty much every day of the week, there's another hashtag in use by Indie Authors trying to promo books, whether a specific genre or type of book or just the Kindle platform or the fact the books are free, bargain-priced or some other angle trying to make a book stand out. I know that we writerly types just love to share snippets of our work and get others motivated to want to read more--it's a form of emotional validation for our Inner Artiste--but the extent of the promo'ing on Twitteris, IMO, really out of hand. The spamming done by writerly sales tweeps are really giving Indie Authors a bad name.

If you love to sample your work, however, there's something to help you do it, nearly every day of the week. It's hard to keep them all straight so, as much for myself as for you, here's a list. If you know of more, please add them in the comment thread.

#SampleSunday - This one's been around a while. It used to be a single line or about 120 characters (just the hashtag is 13 characters right there!) and this is the tag that spawned the original Twitter Novel (John Wray's Citizen started back in 2009 and still going! haha)

I said it used to be the one line of a novel per tweet, because #SampleSunday has been taken over by Indie Authors who also blog. The trend these days seems to be tweeting a teaser line, not even remotely trying to make anything in sequence, and then posting a link to your blog or Kindle book page for people to buy it. In other words, Indie Authors are making it far less reader-centered, no longer about sharing or sampling a novel but all about Buy my book! Buy my book! promotions. (sorry but that video is just never gonna get old with me *chuckle*)

Personally, I'm still doing the Twitter Novel style #SampleSunday. I'm tweeting one scene each week, one or two lines at a time, every hour or two, for 12 hours. In the middle or at the end, I'm giving a link to where an interested reader can read more, but I never say Buy my book! Buy my book! on #SampleSunday because I don't feel the spirit of #SampleSunday is to sell so much as sample (with an implied "FREE" before it). There are so many opportunities to sell things on Twitter but that's just me and my marketing choice for myself. You do what feels right for you and your brand.

#MentionMonday - This is pretty much populated by Indie Authors mentioning each other. Since Indie Authors have also taken over the Wednesday activity (see #WW below) I'm not participating in this one much but it is there and active on Mondays.

#MarketingMonday or #MktgMon or #MktgMonday or just #marketing, in use on Mondays. I think this is pretty much self-explanatory. It's a meme that's been around for years, even before Twitter existed so the resultant hashtags are just an extension of the real-world activity to focus on marketing efforts on Mondays. I use the #marketing one on Mondays in conjunction with my weekly Webbiegrrl blog post on the topic. See how the plan all comes together? ^_^

#teaserTuesday -I suppose, with Indie Authors turning #SampleSunday into a promo event, this also will end up being a sales-pitchy trend on Twitter but it's still similar to the Twitter novel activity I described above. Tweeting a teaser, then linking to where you can read more (free). At the moment, I'd say this hashtag is populated about 50/50 with freereads versus the Buy my book! Buy my book! tweeps.

#poetTues - A writer chat hosted each Tuesday by @RobertLeeBrewer. I haven't joined this chat but I was delighted to come across it, as "open mic poetry readings" are definitely not dead...just getting harder and harder to find. Now you can find them on Twitter on Tuesdays--or join them, if you write poetry! (Yes, I'm speaking to you @eightcuts and @yearzerowriters ^_^)

#WW - The much-debated meaning of this one is either #WritersWednesday or #WorthWatching depending on your career choice and mood at the time. I use it as a chance to give @mentions to new followers I've gotten since the weekend. Since I work at the day job on Wednesdays (up at 0400 and home about 1800) I have to schedule these @mentions in advance (usually Tuesday evening) and I have no idea just how the activity shakes out, ratio-wise, writers versus "everyone else" on Twitter. There might even be a third meaning to the tag. I do know it's in high Trending position on Wednesdays. Yeah, there are still Trending tags on Twitter that aren't even used by writerly types at all! Imagine that!  ^_^

#ThrillerThurs - I just found out about this one! Yay! Similar to #SampleSunday (Twitter novel style or Buy my book! Buy my book! style, about 50/50 here too), all of the books are in the thriller/suspense genres. Okay, there are some horror stories too. And of course, I'll be using it (if I can manage to schedule those tweets as well) for my SF Technothriller stuff.

I think if you use this tag and your book is a romance, you probably won't get flamed but you definitely won't get clicks either. This is a predominantly male dominated hashtag. I like it!

#fictionFriday or #fridayFlash - Flash fiction being tweeted in the Twitter novel style (not promo'ing) on a Friday; also associated with the tag #vss (very short story) which can be tweeted any day of the week but does particularly well on Fridays for obvious reasons.

Saturday doesn't seem to have all that many hashtags associated with it (not counting Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Show Hashtag Game) but since it is the Jewish Shabbat and technically, we shouldn't be "working" on the Sabbath, I'm okay withthat.  There are definitely some writerly chats happening on Twitter on Saturdays. Check out this list of 15 Hashtag Chats to see which ones you might like to join.

What's Next...

Next time on the blog will be the Freebie Friday feature and I've got 3 YA offerings from two authors to share with you. Milda Harris (@MildaHarris) has entered two dead bodies and Annie Oldham (@annie_oldham) has entered a fiery YA fantasy (There be dragons here!) Come back Friday to get the free reads.

And the next Tuesday Tip shall be a walk through the features of Hootsuite which I'm going to have to say is the best Twitter tool out there, though it does have its shortcomings, too. I might do a comparison to Tweetdeck the week after next but I'm not liking Tweetdeck (which is really the "new Twitter" in disguise) even enough to give it a trial run. That's pretty bad.

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