Some basic points of knowledge before we get started:

  • The “@” symbol: Used to “mention” other Twitter profiles in a public way. Place it in front of a Twitter handle you want to mention (ex: @boytreesky) so as to tag that profile in a tweet. A tweet with @(a profile) will show up on that persons Twitter wall and also land in their “mentions” stream so they are aware of everyone who has pinged them.
  • The “#” symbol: The hashtag or “#” symbol is used to easily track certain elements of a conversation across the Twittersphere. Use #austinscbwi in a tweet for example and it will become a clickable entity on a twitter platform. When clicked, a list of all tweets using that # will appear, allowing you to easily discover other Twitter users focused on that topic as well.
  • Lists – Create lists to categorize people you follow. Lists show only the tweets from the people in the list. This is valuable when you are looking for tweets from
  • DM – Direct Messaging is only allowable when someone follows you or visa-versa
  • RT – Retweets are tweets others have posted that you repost

One Time Deal

Step 1: Download a Twitter app to your smart phone:

  • iPhone: Twitterific
  • Android: Twidroid
  • Note: There are many apps out there for Twitter, and there are others which are arguably as good as the two mentioned above, some would even argue there are better apps out there. These two are proven easy to use and powerful, especially for managing one Twitter account.

Step 2: Register with Twitter managers for your computer.

  • TweetDeck – Good for managing your account on your desktop outside of an internet browser. Downloaded and can appear on your desktop.
  • Hootsuite – Excellent for managing multiple accounts, URL shrinking, adding pics, scheduling tweets, seeing specific tweet streams in easy to navigate columns. Mutliple users using the same account cost extra per month.

Step 3: Create lists in Twitter

  • Organize the types of people you follow into lists like these, not exactly these, but like these:
  • Publishers
  • Writers
  • Editors
  • Critics
  • Agents
  • Bloggers
  • Fans
  • Favorite Authors
  • Niche group that I am passionate about – If you are focused on a particular niche or series of niches, then create lists following folks who are actively talking about and around these niches.


Step 4: Determine Hashtags and keywords

  • Determine popular keywords relevant to you, your passions, writing, children’s literature
  • Look at your lists to find common threads
  • Use to find out what is trending and why
  • Use to discover how popular a certain keyword you would like to use is being implemented on Twitter
  • Search relevant terms to see what people are talking about using these words
  • Google Real Time and the Twitter search ( are key to finding relevant conversations and people
  • Create a word document list of all hashtags you wish to employ
  • Create a separate list of unique hashtags, exclusive to you and the conversations you want to start
  • Assess hashtags weekly, looking for new trends and determining if you need to drop old ones from your list. Some need to remain constant.

Step 5: Set up alerts

  • creates email alerts sent directly to you when anyone mentions any of your keywords, like “YA Historical Fiction” as well as hashtags and @ mentions
  • Create the @ mention and DM columns in Hootsuite
  • Add or subtract from your alerts what proves relevant


Step 6: Develop content (finally)

  • Structure your tweets to go out for the day.
  • 2 – 4 original tweets
  • Include 1 – 3 hashtags in every tweet.
  • 1-2 tweet daily tweets should have a unique hashtag
  • @ mention a 1-3 people in your daily tweets, does not nor should you @ mention in every tweet.
  • RT a 1 – 3 valuable tweets a day. Use keywords and hashtags to discover valuable tweets or look at your lists.
  • Respond to 1 – 2 people who mention you a day with your own (this may not be every day starting out, but it will get there rapidly so limit yourself)

General Content Development Recommendations:

  • You have a unique perspective on life, use this ability to talk about things from your perspective.
  • Create hashtags and join conversations using hashtags you want to be involved with
  • Tweet out blog and website updates
  • Tweet out events and appearances
  • Be sure to shrink URLs using Hootsuite’s URL shrinker or TinyURL or any number of other ones which exist online.
  • Don’t over abuse hashtags

Step 7: Following

  • Follow everyone who you have a relationship with who has a Twitter account.
  • Use the “who to follow” menu option on and user your email contact list to find all your friends, business acquaintances, etc. who have a twitter profile
  • Note: This does not need to be done all at once, but gradually because you are going to have to organize these folks into lists.
  • Actively seek out and follow 2 – 10 really relevant and valuable Twitter users a day, especially popular Twitter users who know you.
  • Add each person you follow to a relevant list
  • You do not have to follow back everyone who follows you or profiles that @ mention you. Look at them briefly, see if they are someone you think you would retweet or have a conversation with and then decide if you will follow them back.
  • Use your lists to help you determine what kind of people you want to actively seek out and follow
  • #FollowFriday and #FF are used on Friday to display a number of twitter followers one thinks others should follow. Look for it.
  • If someone you follow doesn’t follow you back right away or even at all, don’t get upset or unfollow them. This doesn’t mean they don’t like you. You follow someone because they find your interactions and tweets valuable and/or interesting.

Step 8: Networking

  • Employ hashtags to follow conversations you are interested in, follow those people and contribute to these conversations often by including the same hashtag in your own tweet
  • Become aware and involved in Tweet Ups like #yalitchat and #kidlitchat
  • Help create a new network of tweets around a pre-existing and active community like Austin SCBWI. Use th #austinscbwi to talk about YA and Children’s Literature in the Austin area
  • @ mention other authors and illustrators and communities and include the #austinscbwi to get them involved as well. Make sure you are not just spamming them however. Provide something of value to make the hook relevant and intriguing.