Frugal and Focused
Tweeting for Retailers

Tweaking Your Tweets and
Other Tips for Integrating Your Social Media

Second in the Survive and Thrive series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books

Twitter has become the Web phenomenon of the decade
even though many say they "don't Get it,"
and even those who think they do "get it"
appear to be missing a lot in terms of using it to market effectively.
It is much more than a tell-all tool! This book will:

1 . Tell you how to set up a Twitter account easily
2.  Tell you how to keep it simple. What you can't ignore at the peril of poor marketing and what you can get away without doing just fine, thank you.
3.   Give you ideas on what you can tweet about--and guidelines for how much personal, how much marketing!
4. Help you get over your fear of marketing (or over being shy about writing tweets) by giving you examples of tweets with critiques (can you believe!) for you to learn from.
5. Help you with tips for keeping the time you spend on tweeting (and other social media) to a minimum.
6. Show you how to harness the power of an entire online campaign, both in terms of reaching your audience and in saving you tons of time.
7. Nope. Not every Twitter app known to Tweetdom! There are some 70,000 of them at last count. Only tried-and-true ones, the ones you need.

Read the Spunk-on-a-Stick blog interview for some Twitter techniques and tips

  •  Order in paperback direct from Amazon if you prefer.                                                         

  • Order for Kindle Reader direct from Amazon.

  • Order an e-book from the publisher.


Twitter is the Web phenomenon of the decade even though many say they "don't Get it," and even those who think they do "get it" appear to be missing a lot in terms of using it to market effectively. It is much more than a tell-all tool! This book will:

1 . Tell you how to set up a Twitter account easily
2.  Tell you how to keep it simple. What you can't ignore at the peril of poor marketing and what you can get away without doing just fine, thank you.
3.   Give you ideas on what you can tweet about--and guidelines for how much personal, how much marketing!

4. Help you get over your fear of marketing (or over being shy about writing tweets) by giving you examples of tweets with critiques (can you believe!) for you to learn from.
5. Help you with tips for keeping the time you spend on tweeting (and other social media) to a minimum.
6. Show you how to harness the power of an entire online campaign, both in terms of reaching your audience and in saving you tons of time.
7. Nope. Not every Twitter app known to Tweetdom! There are some 70,000 of them at last count. Only tried-and-true ones, the ones you need.

Frugal and Focused Tweeting's online book launch powered
by Aggie Villaneuva of Promotion a la Carte.

What People are Saying
Frugal and Focused Tweeting

“Experts say that when business is slow, the last budget one should trim is advertising. Frugal and Focused Tweets lets a retailer have their promotions online and do it very nearly free.”
~ Robert Ricciardi, President of About Face


“In thirty-five years in the industry, there are only a handful of retailers I have observed reach the success level of Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is only one thing you need to learn from her to succeed . . . everything she says!”
~ Randy H. Eller, industry speaker, business consultant, and President Eller Enterprises, LLC


“As a columnist for Home Décor Buyer, Carolyn’s no-nonsense approach to retailing and her easy-to-read writing style made her a coach to thousands of retailers.”
~ Jim Carper, founding editor of Home Décor Buyer


“The use of social media by retailers is tricky business. Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers details practical strategies for retailers to connect with their target audience in a way that delights them, builds relationships, and creates a sense of community with people of like interest. It will help you not only drive new traffic to your site, but it will also help you create a loyal following of repeat clients . . . It’s a treasure trove of information."
~ MaAnna Stephenson, Web site training and designs and author of Blogaid's how-to on using Wordpress


For all who want to successfully compete in the marketplace regardless of the services or products being offered to a consuming public, her books are like a  congenial roadmap with all the shortcuts and detours to your future prosperity.
~ Joyce White, author Sculpting the Heart with Art Therapy


gift shop magazineFrugal and Focused Tweeting
was launched at the National Stationery Show and given as handout to those who attended seminars conducted by Patricia Norins, editor and publisher of Gift Shop magazine. The magazine is also featuring it in the summer issues of Gift Shop along with its sister books, Your Blog, Your Business and A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions.   

What You'll Find In
Frugal and Focused Tweeting



1 - The Basics: What Did You Say Twitter Is?

2 - Your Twitter Goals and Checkup

3 - First-Step Twitter Tools

4 - Build Your List of Followers
ˇ Invite your customers to Tweet with you
ˇ Invite those on your media list
ˇ Plumb other lists for followers
ˇ Accept those who follow you 
ˇ Invite Tweeters who are interested in your products
ˇ Watch the #FollowFriday or #FF entries
ˇ The Find People link
ˇ Tweeters who use Twitter’s Listed feature 
ˇ  Host Twitter chats
ˇ Run a Twitter contest
ˇ Everyone loves Tweets about Tweeting
ˇ Another friend maker is the Retweet function
ˇ Sweeten your Tweets with value
ˇ Build your own Twitter lists
ˇ Let people connect with you at a local level

5 - Other All-Over-The-Place Basics
ˇ The star
ˇ Reply
ˇ Retweet

6 - Do Those Other Twitter Links Affect You?
ˇ How actively do Tweeters Tweet
ˇ Following and followers links
ˇ Your Listed statistic
ˇ Your moniker or username link
ˇ The Direct Message link
ˇ Favorites
ˇ Retweets
ˇ Lists
ˇ Trending Worldwide
ˇ Following
ˇ RSS Feeds

7 - One to the Nth Power: The Exponential Clout of Your Online Efforts
ˇ Tweets are the workhorses
ˇ Favor others online
ˇ Jumping onto others’ blogs
ˇ Drop in on anyone who mentions you
ˇ Your e-mail signature
ˇ Join a Twitter chain
Give a Twitter party



Midwest Review
Frugal and Focused Tweeting


 MBR Bookwatch: June 2010
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575 

Vogel's Bookshelf

Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
9781451546149, $17.95,

Reviewed by Paul  T. Vogel

No 'brick and mortar' business can survive in today's marketplace without including the advances in communications technology represented by the computer, the internet, web sites, the Blackberry, Facebook, blogging, and now -- twittering. That's why Carolyn Howard-Johnson's "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" should be considered mandatory reading for all business managers over the age of 30. And that's because younger generations than that, the phenomena of twittering is already well established and near universally entrenched. Using 'social media' communications technology is vital for successfully competing in the marketplace regardless of the services or products being offered to a consuming public. "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" is a 130-page compendium of invaluable, practical, instruction, tips, and techniques for integrating this new technology into marketing and management, maximizing results for publicity, promotion, advertisements, and sales; customer relations; internal communications, and more, making "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" an invaluable and highly recommended addition for personal, professional, academic, and community library instructional reference collections and supplemental reading lists.


Find other interviews and reviews associated with the online launch for Frugal and Focused Tweeting. The launch was planned by Promotion a la Carte.

Find a fun recipe along with a review at Martha's Kitchen Korner.  

About the Author
Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers

Carolyn Howard-Johnson puts nearly three decades of retail experience plus oodles more in the fields of journalism, public relations, publishing, and marketing into her Survive and Thrive series of books. She consults in the three Ps, publishing, promotion, and publicity, and is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and several award-winning books of fiction and poetry.

Howard-Johnson founded and operated stores ranging from home décor to gifts to antiques and other collectibles. She also owned and operated the souvenir shop at the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. She served on the boards of directors of periodicals like Gift Beat, of the malls where her stores were located, and on the boards of cooperative catalogs her stores utilized. She also served on the California Gift Show board of directors. She has written for assorted industry periodicals including Home Décor Buyer and LA Mart. She puts this world of experience in retailing to work for you with this series of Survive and Thrive books and in private consultations.

Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature. American Business Women’s Association Impact Council also named her Woman of the Year and Pasadena Weekly honored her for literary activism. Her Web site is She blogs at Here she is pictured with Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers.

Frugal and Focused Tweeting


Before We Get Started

My first Survive and Thrive book, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions, was designed to position any independent retailer as the go-to store for the products or services it sells. That book was based on my experience as founder and operator of independent gift shops serving several different clienteles. This book is based on my experience as a Tweeter—from the beginning of Tweetdom—for retailers and my fellow authors.

You’ll notice I capitalize words that have been inspired by Twitter, and there are a bunch. Twitter has infiltrated our entire culture and the caps are meant to remind of us how important Twitter’s influence has become.

I’ve also put some words in bold typeface to cue readers that they can find their definitions in Appendix One of this book. It wouldn’t hurt for readers new to this micro social network called Twitter to peruse that section early on, especially if they are also new to the great world of the Web.

 Tweeting is sometimes thought of as outside the usual business box (don’t you believe it!) because it’s fun and breaks some of the old rules. It follows that a book on Tweeting should attempt to follow suit. Using caps and putting font in bold lets the process feel light and easy. Besides, Twitter is new. Twitter is exciting. Twitter has a life of its own. I can't help myself.

I don’t inundate you with long lists of applications designed by people to help you manage your Tweets. There are, indeed, thousands of such applications. 70,000 at last count. Instead, I give you the one (or the ones) that came highly recommended to me or the one I’ve used with success. And trust me, I look for user-friendly help.

There is no point in cluttering your Twitter life with extraneous stuff until you’re ready. That’s why I put some of the links for you to explore in a chapter called “Do Those Other Links Affect You.” You can Tweet a long time—and do it effectively—without many links you find in the right column of your Twitter homepage. That’s also why I put some of the essential help that applies to most every aspect of Twitter in the Appendix where you can find what you need easily. Twitter was designed to be a simple communication device. I propose to keep it as simple as possible, or at least as simple as you want it to be.

I want my books to be quick studies for retailers who want to focus on specific aspects of their marketing campaigns, in this case Tweeting and integrating Twitter with their other social media. I hope this one boosts your entrepreneurial spirit and provides enough detail to take the fear (or dread!) out of doing what you must to carve your niche among Tweeters interested in stores, shopping, and the retail industry.

Some readers will be old timers. I try to give enough details that newcomers won’t be left scratching their heads and asking, “Well, yeah. But just how do I go about that?” And I believe there are enough new ideas, slants on old techniques (if we can call anything about Twitter old!), and inspiration in this book to make seasoned retailers and even techies sit up and take notice.

To take that one step farther, I'm begging those of you who are veteran Tweeters not to skip the first section of this book because the basics feel familiar. I don’t want you to miss valuable tips. As an example, there is a knack to biographies of any kind, but Twitter bios—like all things Twitter—must be brief. What you say in the few characters you are allotted can encourage people to follow you (much like becoming your friend on Facebook) so they can learn more about your store and how it can benefit them . . . or not. Just because you have written your biography doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a little sprucing up. So read on. Think not in terms of just Tweeting but in terms of focused marketing using Twitter as a tool.

I also want to encourage readers to open a Twitter page so they have a visual as they read this book. A printout of a page—your page once you get started—may help somewhat, but the formatting may not be true.

I try to give my readers the exact placement of Twitter links, too. This is a how-to book, after all, and I want to be kind to beginners. But because Twitter is new and because technology and social networks seem to feel it’s their duty to add new handy knickknacks to their sites and to make them more beautiful, links move around. Without notice! If a link isn’t where I said it would be, keep searching. You’ll probably find it. If you see a new link, click and explore. By that time, you’ll be so Twitterfied, you’ll have no difficulty figuring new things out.


Buzz About Twitter

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers
(Retailers are writers--think of all that blogging and advertising copy!
Writers are retailers--think of all those books we must sell!)

We think of spring as a time when tweeting is in the air. These days it’s a year-round occurrence. Last I checked there were some 70,000 apps for Twitter. But I believe in making it easy. So let’s cut some of the background chirping and go straight for Twitter essentials. Here are some tips from my Sharing with Writers newsletter (Subscribe using the sign-up form at the top of the column on the right.). There are enough tips here to get newbies started and give old-timers some new ideas.

Note: The stars denote an application or tips that I consider essential or use all the time.

Sign up (easily) at

Twitter Tip: To find appropriate people to follow on Twitter account, use It's as important to use Twitter to learn new things as well as to get your message out so try to be inclusive in who you follow.

Twitter Tip:  Wow! Here's a way to make your tweets do double duty, encourage you to keep your tweets focused, and refresh your e-mail signature as often as you tweet.  Use Wise Stamp Signature ( ) to automatically feed your latest tweet into your latest e-mail signature.

Twitter Tip: Evaluate how you're doing on Twitter and how others are doing but do be careful 'cause stats can be misinterpreted. Try .

Twitter Tip: Here’s a great new Twitter aid. It will help you personalize your Twitter backgrounds or wallpaper:

Twitter Tip: You can clean out your nonfollowers from your Twitter account with --but only if you have 700 or fewer. They're working on more. My current favorite for unfollowing is because it’s easy to use—i. e., frugal of time.

*Emergency Tip: One of the major drawbacks to social networks like Facebook and Twitter is that your account can be suspended. After all that work building them! And sometimes through no fault of you own. Here's an article on what to do if it happens to your Twitter account:

Tweet Tip: Regarding HashTags at you know that by using the # (hashtag) sign before a word, you can tag your tweets? This site tracks the most popular hashtags. As an example, I use a hashtag #Tweeps4Writers which indicates that the tweeter I’m recommending is a resource for writers. If you look that hashtag up right now, you’ll find many authors, book marketers, and even some agents I’ve recommended in the past.

*Twitter Tip: -Put your shortened link in your tweet first so that when the tweet gets retweeted, part of the link doesn't get lost.

Tweet Help from author and marketing guru Tony Eldridge: Create an AddThis Button (Social Bookmarking) to your website or blog This one is fun because it's an easy-to-follow video!

Tweet Help: Here's another video from Tony Eldridge on TweetLater and other Tweet Scheduling Tools.

Twitter Tip: To find out who’s following you, go to:

Twitter Tip: Take a poll on Twitter:

Fun Only Twitter Tip:  Have you seen this fun Twitter application?  Wahhhh, I want a computer mat with my followers' faces on it!

 *Twitter Tip: You can assure your tweets get more attention if you research the recent trends on Twitter at, then design a tweet or two accordingly and use hashmarks (#) to tag them.

Twitter Tip: Poets can treat their fans to Haiku on Twitter? It’s a focused way for poets to focus and still connect with followers. Use It also provides reviews, critiques and opportunities for your work to get retweeted by others.

 *Social Network Tip: Check the biography on your social network sites. They say 82% of unsuccessful twitter accounts have no bio. Even if you use Facebook, as an example, for your personal friends only, it is only a courtesy to introduce yourself. You’d do that at a party, right?

*Twitter Tip: To delete people not following you go to: Why would you want to do that? Generally you don't want to follow people who aren't interested in a two-way conversation and you certainly don't want your stats to show you following hundreds of people more than follow you!

*Twitter Tip: If you think your tweet might be worthy of a retweet, keep it to 120 characters. That leaves room for the retweeter’s own @username in it. Your followers are more likely to retweet if they don’t have to work too hard at it.

Twitter Tip: Learn where a tweeter lives by using real-time tweets at It’s valuable for author or retailer events confined to a specific area. Watch it for a minute to find people in your area or to find twitterpals in other places in the world.

 Twitter Idea: Did you know that Twitter is increasingly being used in ways related to search engine research? If not, turn to CNN for just one evening’s news and you’ll get it. How can you turn this into something that will help position you as an expert?

 Tweet Tip: This Twitter tip is for those trying to reach folks in other parts of the world. It’s a twitter translation tool.

 Twitter Retweet Tip: One of the tricks to getting wide exposure on Twitter is to get other people to retweet your tweets. Here are two articles that will tell you how to do it: How to Get Retweeted by @GuyKawasaki: and The Science of Retweets by Dan Zarella:  .My favorite method is to give information that people are likely to want and need. The other is to occasionally ask to be retweeted.

 *Social NetworkTip: Tell your friends and/or followers about the success someone had because of a service you offer or information in your book. An example would be, “Sharing with Writers subscriber ( received a working computer from a fellow subscriber when she was out of work after surgery.”

 TIP: For a really big list of Twitter aids go to John Kremer's Twitter Tools page:

Twitter Tip:. Find who is mentioning you or your book’s title on Twitter by going to Also, .

Twitter Tip: Add you blog to Twitter by using

 Twitter Tip: Don’t add your Tweets to Facebook using RSS feeds if you tweet frequently. Your Facebook pals may get tired of you when ten tweets a day appear on your Facebook page!

Twitter Tip:  List your book in Author Directories in different categories of interest. Use these links: 

For the last two: You can use the lists links or by tweeting Jennifer Tribe ( with your title and expertise.

*Twitter Tip: TweetBeep ( )is a service that alerts you anytime your name, book title, product, or company is mentioned or Tweeted about!

Twitter Tip: Extend the reach of your Twitter efforts at  Put yourself in all relevant categories. It may just be "Authors and Writers" but you may fit other places, too, depending on your area of expertise. Like "Teaching." Or, in my case, "Marketing" and "Publishing." You can categorize yourself in up to ten of them.  

*Twitter Tip: Back up your Twitter account and records with .


Carolyn Howard-Johnson collects Twitter tips for her newsletter. She says, “people keep asking me how Twitter can help sell books and other merchandise. Maybe it can't. But it will brand you if you keep your tweets content laden and on target instead of talking about going to bed and what you ate for breakfast. Great branding leads to sales of all kinds. When I hadn't been tweeting long my Twitter Promo record included: Three blog interviews. Two podcasts. And a new friend who helped me plan my first trip to the New York Stationery Show when I spoke there--frugally! (-: My Twitter address is”


Don't make Tweeting hard. At it's best, it is simple and fun. Take what you need and leave the rest. It can be a great success with only a few Tweets a day, some personal (no need to get too personal, though!) and some razor-sharp marketing, like specials and discounts. The only iron-clad rule is for a Twitter account that is meant to work for you, is that you must stay focused.

 Find at least one tip on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook
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My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating the Planet and the Universe as Never Before

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader and
using Amazon's app, other readers, too.


 "Careers that are not fed die as readily
as any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

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Spirited Woman Interview


You'll love Nancy Mills'  Interviews with Famous Women Writers
(When you check out the link, scroll down to see the one featuring Carolyn!)

My interview with Spirited Woman Nancy Mills included a bit of nostalgia. The way journalism used to be before computers, what it was like to be in New York in Christian Dior's time, how Good Housekeeping magazine used to be. Sign up with Nancy now for the CD or podcast of this interview or to hear her interview with fellow Spirited Woman authors including USA Today's Most Influential winner Jacqueline Mitchard, author of the Deep End of the Ocean and Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward. Scroll for information on my CD.

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Online Universities'

101 Book Blogs
You Need to Read

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter, Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor,
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner: Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Sales Tip

Twitter is so popular that sometimes we get the equivalent of a busy tone when we try to access it. Annoying yes?

Well I have an anecdote for you. Once, I sat on the board of directors with one of the principals of Enesco, makers of the just-growing-famous Precious Moments. The board was trying to resolve the ever-present problem of waiting in line to register at tradeshows--with very little success. This gentlemen who was experiencing similar problems with retailers needing more product than his company could produce,  said: "Sometimes lines can be a very good thing."

Of course he was right. Witness how people are willing to stand in lines overnight for the new edition of the iPhone. Having to wait for something sometimes signals success and, in general, folks want to be part of success!

  Find tips on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this Web site. 

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