Whenever I advise a client about social media, I remind them that it’s supposed to be “social.” Regardless if you’re an author or another type of entrepreneur, I’m willing to bet that your audience does not want to be barraged to buy your product. Selling your wares is not the point of social media; it’s a happy by-product of your efforts on whatever platform you choose. Admittedly, I have found some platforms to be more “social” than others, and this is precisely why I love Twitter. Read on for tips on how to engage and grow your Twitter following.
Imagine Twitter is the elementary school playground. You wouldn’t approach one person to play hopscotch and then another to skip rope while at the same time start a rousing game of dodgeball. In the Twitter playground, you’ll want to make the first move, but you don’t want to do it with too many people all at once.
On the one hand, Twitter followers are highly reciprocal, meaning that most will follow you back. But your chances of getting these follows lessons if you appear too flighty. If you start off and immediately follow hundreds of people, but have nobody following you back, the chances are that paradigm will continue to haunt you. You want to focus on Twitter best practices.
Follow people who are in the same field that you are in. If you’re a writer of romance, follow other romance writers. (I’ll provide more details on how to find them below.) Start slowly by only following a handful at a time. As those people follow you back, then add more. As your number of followers starts to climb, you can become more aggressive with how many new people you add to your follow list. Before you know it, you’ll have a rousing number of people in your Twitter playground.
Research Who to Follow
Determining who to follow is really quite simple on Twitter. First, the platform will make suggestions for you. As indicated above, take them up on those suggestions, but do so at a slow pace. You don’t have to accept all of the suggestions at once.
When Twitter’s suggestions slow down, you can become more proactive. Use the search tool to type in keywords with a hashtag at the beginning. Again, using the romance author analogy, you would want to type #romance or #romanceauthor, or you can be broader and simply type #writer, #author, or the popular hashtag — #amwriting. You’ll be able to find others as you type for once again, Twitter will make suggestions for you. It’s like an older sibling showing you the ropes!
If you want to follow established and famous authors, feel free to do so, but also know that these accounts have thousands of followers so you may not get a follow back in the same way you would with an author who is less established and wanting to grow their platform in the same way you do. Back to the elementary school analogy…you don’t want to ask somebody to play simply because they’re the “popular” kid. You want to play with someone that shares your interests.
Consider Secondary Audiences
Above I discuss the practice of authors following other writers. But who else should authors connect with? Readers, of course! Consider your secondary audiences and find them by using the same search tool as mentioned above. To find readers, you can simply type #reader. Or, get more creative and consider #fiction, #sci-fi, #fantasy…you get the idea.
Another way to find followers and secondary audiences are by observing the accounts of your followers and those who you follow. You simply click on their profile and then click on their followers or following tabs. There you’ll find a plethora of names, many of whom will be appropriate for your platform if you have done as suggested above and followed people as well as attract people who share your interests such as reading and writing.
Beyond Your Interests
I’m betting that there is more to your personality than simply being an author and wanting to attract readers. In the first paragraph of this blog, I warned that social media is not simply a place to promote yourself. With that in mind, consider your hobbies and interests beyond the business that you are trying to build. Using my pen name, Mia Fox, as an example, I share my love of baking and yoga with my readership. (I know…the yoga becomes necessary due to the excessive baking!) When looking to build the social aspect of my social media, I love to find other bakers and yogis. I talk about new recipes and not just about my books.
One has to get away from the business at times. Being social is fun; it connects like-minded people. Whether I’m discussing writing and marketing strategies, reading, baking, or exercise, social media reminds me that life extends beyond my desk. Beware of scammers whose profile picture is just that funny blue egg, or whose bios shout some sort of too-good-to-be-true offer. I have met some amazing people through my work. Sure, there are people to be wary of as well, but that’s the same lessons we teach our children when we send them off to school.
Start out slowly. Play nicely with others. See where it can take you.