ALLi Author Advice Center Manager Debbie Young offers cautionary advice against making five common Twitter mistakes. These errors crop up more often than they should on indie author accounts. Each one makes it less likely that readers will connect with your Twitter account – yet they're all easy to avoid. Read on to spot whether you're guilty of any yourself – and whether you have any more you'd like to add to Debbie's list.
Most indie authors are pretty savvy these days when it comes to social media, but it's still too easy to slip up and make mistakes that repel rather than engage your target audience.
I know I'm not immune from making such errors myself, especially when in a hurry to share a cracking piece of data or a fab photo before dashing on to the next item on my to-do list. But more haste, less speed…
However, I've just spent rather more time than usual in a single Twitter sitting, to compile a Twitter list as part of my ALLi duties. During this long session, five common errors kept jumping out at me. So I thought I'd share them in a post to help others avoid them – and ultimately to help you make the most of your Twitter author account.
But the good news is, they're all easily avoidable.
1 Direct your Twitter links to your own Twitter profile
Make sure these do actually have the right URL behind them, i.e. they take you to YOUR Twitter account (e.g. mine is www.twitter.com/DebbieYoungBN) rather than Twitter's home page (plain old www.Twitter.com). (I can't tell you how many times I've checked those two links in this post to make sure I've got them right!)
2 Don't hide the bird under a bushel
If you're including a link to your Twitter profile on your website, don't make it hard for readers to find. The little bird is instantly recognisable. I confess it's my personal favorite of social media icons. But too often I've searched in vain on a website's home page, only to realise that it's not on there at all, but relegated to the author's “Contacts” page, along with snailmail, Googlemap directions, etc. By all means put it there too, but please, put it on your home page too where people expect to find it! Ideally have it accessible on every page, e.g. in your sidebar, header or footer, so no matter where a reader lands on your site, they'll easily spot it.
3 Blue is the colour – not purple with yellow spots
The colour scheme of the Twitter bird is part of its corporate branding. That's what we (and Twitter) expect to find. Match the colour to your personal author branding and it'll be harder to find. The very pale silver grey Twitter bird I spotted the other day looked a little anemic – I wanted to throw it some birdseed to bring it back to health. (You can download the approved brand images direct from Twitter here.)
4 Think peacock, not hummingbird
Subtle can be good. But if little bird is so small and discreet that it's easy to miss, fewer people will click through to your account. (Peacock photo by @meteorphoto via unsplash.com)
5 Let the Twitter bird fly high!
There seems to be a trend to put social media icons at the foot of the page, and with the simultaneous trend to have long, continuous pages that take a lot of scrolling down to reach the bottom, it is irritating to have to scroll past pages and pages of irrelevant material when all you're looking for is a quick link. I suppose this trend may make people think “It's not at the top/in the sidebar, so it must be at the bottom”. Call me old-fashioned, but it feels a little discourteous when I have to work that hard to find it. It reminds me of the power game bosses play when they make their visitor's chair lower than their own.
Am I being unreasonable? I don't think so. All I want to do is actively connect with the owner of the website via his social media. Isn't that what those icons are there for – to encourage me to do just that? So please, folks, do yourselves and your target audiences a favor. Don't play hard to get! In the end, the easier it is for them to connect, the better it is for you.
(Of course, these errors are not unique Twitter torture forms. Similar slip-ups crop up on other social media too. You have been warned!)
OVER TO YOU What advice would you like to offer to social media users to make it easier to connect? Feel free to add to Debbie's list of common Twitter mistakes via the comments box!
MORE POST TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT
From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive