Let me start out by iterating, I am no expert. I’m still in the early stages of learning how to market, developing my brand, creating a recognizable online presence. I’m a newbie. A baby. But I’ve been crawling a while now, and I’m learning to balance on these shaky author legs of mine. So, if you’re interested, here’s what has worked for me.
I was late to the Twitter game. I didn’t start my account until October 2014. (For those who don’t know, Twitter’s been around since early 2006.) In my first year, I managed to gather about 200 followers. That number remained stagnant for about the next six months. It would fluctuate occasionally, rising and falling by five or ten, but always hovering around 200.
Within the last three months, that number has nearly doubled. How? There are plenty of algorithms and equations and mathematical gimmicks that will tell you, if you know how to figure them out.
Here’s what I can figure:
- Hashtags: Hashtags are vital. But not just any hashtags. You need to figure out which hashtags are going to get you hits. For example, as an author #amwriting is big. Authors use it all the time, to let audiences know they’re working. And then people who pay attention to #amwriting see the post, have the chance to like it, retweet it, etc. Or, if you’re a blogger, #blogger, #blogging, #BloggingGals (if you’re a gal), and #blog are all great hashtags when you’re sharing a link to your latest blog post. If you’re unsure of what to put after a hashtag, just start typing; Twitter will pop up suggestions based on what you’re typing if there are popular hashtags that already exist. That being said, don’t be afraid to start your own hashtag–if you use it long enough, it may take off, and you’ll see others begin to use it, too! Just make sure, especially if you’re a beginner, to use hashtags that are already proven tried and true.
- Networking: Or in Twitter lingo, use of your @. Using the @ is how you get other people involved; it’s just like tagging someone on Facebook. This is where both your followers, and the people you’re following become important. You can let them know when you want their specific attention, and by hitting them up with an @, you also get the attention of their followers as well. Again, this leads to likes, retweets, replies, etc. Which ultimately leads to followers. So, in my case, if I’m going to tweet something about Stitched Smile Publications, I might type something like this: “#Areyouallin @suturedsmile @unsaintly @zombiepaloozaradio @pardeetime @AJBrown36” and then attach a photo. Now, I’ve used our slogan as a hashtag, and I’ve tagged SSP, Lisa Vasquez, Jackie Chin, Donelle Pardee Whiting, and Jeff Brown, who are all administrators for SSP.
- Consistent Activity: Twitter works best as a marketing tool when you use it, and use it often. Twitter is based hugely on the here and now. It follows trends that change on a daily–sometimes an hourly–basis. If you’re not tweeting, people forget about you, because they’re not seeing you. So make sure you’re tweeting at least once a day. Keep your page active, so your followers have something to follow. If you’re bad about remembering, set an alarm. No shame in that. Just make sure to do it.
- Variety: Twitter is just like any other social media source when it comes to this rule; if all you do is share links to your book asking people to buy, your followers will lose interest. You may even drive them to click the dreaded unfollow button. So don’t be that person. Tweet about your book, definitely, but tweet about other things, too. Tweet links to your blog. Tweet photos. Tweet about your day. About where you’re going. What you’re doing. Who you’re doing it with. Tweet about what you’re reading. Tweet about the Olympics. What your kid just said. You want your audience to get to know you, not just as an author, but as a person. So when @johnsmith1 sees that you write horror, which he likes to read, but you’re also a huge Denver Broncos fan–so is he!–he has more than one reason to interact with you now. Also, don’t be afraid to follow the trends. That’s what people are looking at, RIGHT NOW. It’s not cheating to use that to your advantage. It’s smart.
- Reciprocate: Just like you want people to like/retweet/reply to your tweets, it’s just as important that you like/retweet/reply to other’s tweets. The keyword to social media is social. It’s a two-way street. Actually, it’s more like a twelve lane highway, but you get my meaning. When someone retweets you, like the retweet. Or send them a shout-out; it can be as simple as “Thanks, @johnsmith1!” If @NFL or @BradPitt or @Maroon5 tweets something about their newest venture, and you’re a fan, retweet it. This lets your followers know you’re a fan of the same things they are. And here’s the kicker: reciprocating isn’t simply the polite thing to do. It’s also advantageous. Because when you retweet your fellows or reply to their tweets, you garner the attention of their followers, which ultimately may gain you,new followers. Therein lies the beauty of social media.
So that’s it. That’s what I can tell you about how to make Twitter work for you. I will reiterate, I’m no expert. I can’t tell you how any of this works; I just know that in my case, it is working. If you’d like a visual, feel free to look me up @Briana_R_Author.
What about you? Anything you’ve found that I’ve missed? What’s been working for you? Let me know!