Whether you're a professional blogger or you simply have a blog attached to your freelance writer or author website, chances are good you have social media sharing buttons attached to each post. And if not, you should. They're simple tools that allow your readers to easily spread the word about your posts.
Yet I see bloggers make a common mistake when using these sharing plugins. When I visit a blog post I like and I want to share that post on Twitter, I click their Twitter button, and I might see something like this (I'm picking on good friend, Lori Widmer, because she's on vacation and unlikely to yell at me for a few days):
What's the problem here?
Her Twitter handle / username is nowhere to be found. So when I tweet that link using her own plugin, she gets no automatic credit as the post's author. If I want to credit her, I have to manually dig for her username and manually add it to my tweet. That kind of defeats the purpose of using sharing plugins to simplify things for your readers.
The only thing worse than having no Twitter account included is having one that isn't your own. The Share This plugin is notorious for this. Your tweet should not only say it's via @sharethis. It should say it's via @YourUsername (and include the plugin's account only if you want to or it adds value to your followers). Sometimes this is a result of a plugin's default settings. And sometimes themes have the feature built-in, and the default account is that of the theme designer.
Today's Quick Tip?
Make sure your Twitter handle is automatically included when someone clicks your "tweet this" buttons on your blog posts.
How you do this will depend on the plugin or theme you're using, so check your settings. And if your plugin doesn't allow this, then it's not doing you any favors and you should consider switching to one with appropriate features.
Why Does This Matter?
The reason you want your Twitter handle in tweets from your site is simple: it lets others know that the content being shared comes from you. By providing your username in those tweets, you'll increase your number of Twitter mentions because they'll be included whenever someone shares your posts directly from your sharing buttons.
It also means your readers' followers can click your username and easily see your recent tweets, helping you connect with new followers if they like what they see. You don't want to put up barriers by making people dig for this information.
Along similar lines, don't always include your site name or title automatically in tweets. It can make the tweet go over 140 characters, and it makes it more difficult for others to add comments when they share it. This can happen if you have SEO settings that include your site name and / or tagline in every page's meta title (which is totally unnecessary and probably also not doing you any favors).
I love chatting with other writers and bloggers on Twitter, and I share a lot of resources for writers there. If you'd like to connect on Twitter, you can find me here: @Jenn_Mattern.