Monday, March 26, 2012

Making Twitter Personal

I'm no Twitter expert and have never claimed to be. That being said, I always have plenty of ideas about what works and doesn't work in social networking, primarily because I use it.

A lot of the people I follow on Twitter I follow because I'm a fan. Sure, I follow other industry experts and friends, but I also follow a lot of chefs (in my case). People I admire for their culinary skills. Some of my favorites are those I've gotten to "know" through various food competitions like Top Chef, Food Network or even their cookbooks or blogs. Not too long ago I was leaving Atlanta after a great conference with the Georgia Romance Writers. While waiting at the airport I Tweeted that I was leaving ATL and was bummed I didn't have the chance to visit Flip Burger and I included chef and owner Richard Blais (@RichardBlais) in my Tweet. Just a few short hours later @RichardBlais tweeted back "not as bummed as we are."

Okay, call me a fan geek, food geek, whatever, but I was on cloud 9 all day over this silly tweet. Over the fact that one of my chef heroes tweeted me back and actually seemed bummed that he wasn't able to see me. Does it matter how truly bummed he was? No. Not to a fan. When you admire and respect someone you're excited to be acknowledged by that person. And you should be. Life is too short not to get excited over the little things.

So here's my question to you writers. Are you giving your fans the little thrills that make their days, that give them reason to spend hours, heck days, talking about you? After my Tweet from Richard Blais (which by the way resulted in a number of people asking about this Flip Burger) I went to my personal Facebook to tell my friends and then I told everyone who would listen and now I'm telling all of you. That's buzz and that's the sort of thing that sells a product. It has nothing to do with the Tweets @RichardBlais himself has made, but everything about the "retweeting," so to speak. It's about the connection.

Jessica

19 comments:

Wry Wryter said...

I don’t tweet yet but you, my dear, gave me one of the best thrills of my life when you graciously allowed me to query you when you were closed to queries. Because I am faithfully here each morning I trusted to ask if I could, and you politely allowed me to. By that example I learned the importance of loyalty to followers and readers.
For a few days I rode the high clouds and I thank you for that.

Colin Smith said...

I'm with you on the Richard Blais fandom, Jessica! My wife and I rooted for him the first time he was on Top Chef, and were bummed he lost. Of course, he *had* to win Top Chef All-Stars! :)

I wish I had that kind of fandom where a tweet or a hat tip from me could make someone's day. That would definitely be a perk of the job should I become well-known.

And as much as you may get giddy over a tweet from Richard Blais, imagine how many aspiring authors would have the same reaction if they got a tweet from a respected literary agent! :)

Sarah said...

Well that seals the deal, I'm following you on twitter now! I love twitter because it breaks down some of those barriers, imagined and real. It's so much fun to find a connection with someone you've admired whether you tweet back and forth or not.

Betsy Thompson said...

Twitter is great for finding blogs to follow, which yield important information for complete newbies like me.

One Twitter disappointment, though. Yoko Ono still hasn't followed me back ;)

Kate Brauning said...

I use Twitter to keep updated on publishing industry news and follow my favorite authors and organizations. It's made a huge difference for me as a writer. I'll remember what you said, and when/if I have fans, I'll be sure to follow your advice. I know I love hearing from agents and authors myself.

Jenny Maloney said...

I sooo understand what you mean - Neil Gaiman retweeted one of my links and (after I realized the website wasn't being spammed) I was over the moon! I still get all giggly thinking about it.

And I would've been totally disappointed to not make it to Flip Burger too. Blais is certainly Top Chef All Star!

Brianna Soloski said...

That's so cool. I know I'm thrilled when I get responses to my tweets, too!

Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

Amen. I love it when someone I admire tweets back. I try to tweet back myself. Social media is about making connections. It's not about pushing your own personal agenda and hope someone listens.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I'm new to Twitter but I'll try to give my legions of fans a thrill. Lets see....to date I think I have twelve followers :)

Sharla said...

I had that experience when I was tweeting with a group on what author was our writing inspiration. I said Jennifer Weiner, because after reading her first book, I said I wanted to write just like her. I've followed her since the beginning, since back when she still personally answered emails, and I got one! Well, she was on Twitter when I said that, and she tweeted me back something funny and nice. I almost fell over in my geeky fangirl moment. Then I favorited the Tweet. :-)

Sara said...

So funny! Another chef/Top Chef-geek here :) I was just in NYC and met Top Cheftestant Angelo Sosa while walking down 53rd. He invited me to try the new menu at his restaurant Social Eatz (AMAZING American-Asian fusion food, btw! He somehow made black pepper whipped cream work with sake-soaked strawberries and lemon cake!) and I'm now following him on Twitter.
I completely agree with how thrilling it is to "connect" in the blogosphere.

Martha Ramirez said...

I am soo glad you wrote this! I have connected with so many beautiful people. There are very few out there that take the time out to acknowledge you. For those celebrities and bigtime people who acknowledge me and continue to connect with, I will NEVER EVER forget. There are so many who don't take the time. Even people who are not well know yet. I think it is extremely important to try not to ignore your fans and show appreciation. It really sets the person aside from the rest!

And how cool is that, Jess?! Richard Blais responded and cared enough to interact. WAY COOL!!

Just one word of acknowledgement, even a thanks can make a world of a difference to a fan or even just any person trying to connect.

Excellent post!

Michael Seese said...

I've been following you for months and relish every 140-character nugget of wisdom! (End obvious suck-up.)

ryan field said...

I honestly don't know. I tweet daily, but most of my hits come from facebook, search engines, and other blogs. And I get on average 10,000 hits a week. I know that's very small compared to others who get hits in the six digits. But I just don't see my readership embracing twitter the same way they embrace other social media, like FB and blogs. The smallest percentage of hits I get come from Twitter, and I do the same thing there I do everywhere else.

Blaire Allison said...

Hi! Just wondering what Jessica it is that writes these posts? Jessica Alvarez or Faust? Thank you!

Kate Douglas said...

I'm still not a huge Twitter fan--it's too big a time suck. I do keep in touch with a lot of readers via tweets, but I can verify the importance of social media networking. A few years ago, on a list for science fiction writers (I have and occasionally still do write SF)I made a comment about world building. I rec'd a reply from Anne McCaffrey. Like Jenny Malonie, at first I thought it was someone spamming me, or even playing a joke on me, but I finally wrote a private message back, and that started a three year email friendship I will always treasure. I found out an author I had placed in goddess status was a fan of mine, and she ended up giving me a lovely quote that is on the front of a number of my books. Annie loved a good, sexy story and a hot man, and a few days before her sudden death, I'd sent her my latest erotic s/f along with a card that had a sexy hunk on the front. Her daughter wrote later, after her mother's sudden death last November, that she knew her mom appreciated a good looking guy and had stuck my card in with her when she was buried. That's a connection that never would have happened without a chat group online.

I always reply to my readers on Facebook, even when it's not easy to keep up, because those connections are important, and like Jessica says, that's what gets the buzz going. And Blaire, I believe it's always Jessica Faust who blogs--Jessica Alvarez puts her last name beneath the post when she writes them.

Traci Kenworth said...

What a wonderful way to respond to customers, and to help pass that favor along!!

Love Guru Blaire said...

Kate - Thank you for replying to my question! :)

Blaire Allison
Intuitive Heart Healer
The Love Guru
http://www.loveguru.net

London Crockett said...

Margret Atwood once asked for some tech support on Twitter. I was the first to respond and she thanked me. That tweet went up on Facebook immediately. I still grin at the thought of it, even though it was entirely impersonal. I mean, Margaret Atwood!