Author Social Media Author Platform – Twitter
Of all the social media avenues I’ve discussed in this series, I left Twitter.com for last. Why? Because of all of the ways you can interact and build your audience, Twitter is the easiest and probably most effective. As an author, Twitter allows you to locate and connect to your target audience, can drive traffic to your website, and attract new opportunities like interviews and tours. Don’t let the 140 character size fool you: Twitter is a force to be reckoned with. Just as I stated from the beginning, I’m a huge advocate of the blog, but what if you’re blogging and no one is visiting your site? This is where the monster that is Twitter comes into play. But first we need to go over what Twitter can do so you can decide if it’s the right avenue for you to follow.
What is Twitter and Why Do I Need to Know About It?
Twitter can be overwhelming if you walk in without having the facts. You probably know a little about it, like sending a “tweet” and the character limit (140 or less). What Twitter does is allows you to send out a little bite of information where you can link to more information, like a photo or web page, to your followers. The bonus is, if used correctly, you can get your message retweeted by your followers to all of their followers. Thus is the power of the Tweet!
Twitter is a microblogging platform that can be a powerful and effective part of an author platform and book marketing campaigns. But you need to learn to use it wisely, and I’m going to share my strategies with you to help, but again, it’s about jumping in and getting your feet wet.
Twitter gets a bad rap mostly from people who don’t understand how to use it. They see it as full of spam and celebrity stalkers, or they just don’t see how to use the site to its full potential to help build their platform. When used correctly, it can be your best tool for finding new readers and increasing traffic to your blog. But I must warn you, it’s very fun, so you may become addicted!
So, What Can Twitter Do For My Platform?
- Twitter is real-time and fast-paced action, that’s part of its appeal, so instant feedback is one major plus. You can ask a question and get immediate response. Readers can share their thoughts with you and it’s another way to make that all important personal connection.
- Twitter is easy to connect with authors, news sites and celebrities. So current and future readers spend time on the site just looking for interesting people to follow. Twitter is a great way to cultivate your fan base.
- Media professionals, reporters, editors, and producers all use Twitter on a daily basis. They search Twitter to find sources for their stories and interesting stories to feature. Why can’t this be you? You expand your media opportunities by being found on Twitter.
- You can use Twitter to increase your website traffic. Every time you post a blog article, you can share it with your Twitter audience, and your followers can share it to their followers. All building you a new untapped fan base.
- In addition, because users are on at different times, you can schedule your posts to repeat at different intervals. You’d miss the bulk of your audience if you tweet a blog post at a time. If you set up schedules of tweets and retweets, as long as your content is still current, your followers won’t care when it was written. You can also recycle older posts if the information is still valid and interesting. Twitter users are always looking for something interesting and entertaining.
I See The Point, But Why Should I Join?
Good question. Why should you care about Twitter? You have your blog, you have Facebook and you even have Goodreads, why do you need yet another site? Glad you asked, because I’m going to tell you.
Twitter has over 100 million active accounts and growing.
Whether you’re going to self-publish or you have a traditional publisher, no matter the genre, no matter the story, you need a platform to sell your work. Many of your potential new loyal readers are on Twitter just waiting for you to find them. You just need to know how to meet them. You can increase your followers by making an effort to follow other people. You can follow other authors – both established and indie – you can follow literary agents and publishers – you can even follow your favorite celebrity. The best way to find followers is to search Twitter by a keyword relating to your book topic. Don’t just sit back and hope people find you, go out and find them. Remember, the key is to find people that will follow you back. Celebrities rarely follow back, and while they have great follower counts, the almost never tweet to people they don’t know, and they don’t retweet. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part stick to people you are sure will follow back.
Twitter can actually make you a better writer.
I know, sounds crazy, but it’s true. You have 140 characters to work with, that’s not letters or words, that’s spaces and punctuation too. And guess what, links count too. With these limits, you’re forced to write tighter. You have to get your message out, briefly… and still connect with your audience. What no one tells you – but I will – is that shorter messages on Twitter are more likely to be retweeted and seen. So now you have to make your message air tight, and those skills will translate to better writing in your work. You just have to figure out what you want to say and find the very best way to relate it.
Twitter brings you news faster than any news site can.
Why do you think media professionals are ALL on Twitter? Twitter is real-time, so while reporters are still putting stories together and getting approval from editors, everyday people onsite are already tweeting about it. Look back at any major event over the last few years and you’ll see that Twitter lit up like a firecracker in July with people talking about it. News stations have red tape and process, Twitter has you and me out in the trenches telling everyone what’s really going on. People band together on Twitter and when a major event or catastrophe happens, someone, somewhere is tweeting about it. Historically, Twitter has been used to give updates on natural disasters, report important information to keep people safe, and when the media can’t keep up, there is a whole army of Tweeters that pick up the slack.
Twitter allows you to build a following much faster than any other social networking site.
People who find you on Facebook will usually know you or someone that does know you. On Twitter, complete strangers can find you by using hashtags. Making sure you hashtag your tweets is crucial, because people want to participate in conversations, so they search hashtags. Make sure your hashtag makes sense and is on point to your tweet, and you followers will find you. Make your tweet interesting and entertaining, and your new friends will follow you for more. #hashtagsworkpeople!
Twitter can help you research.
If you’re writing, more than likely you’ve done research. It’s time consuming and while Google is every writer’s friend, sometimes you can have too many results. With Twitter, you can reach out to a professional – or someone that may know what you need (writing a book about plumbing, find a plumber on Twitter) – and you can tweet your question and get an instant reply. But it’s not just facts you can research, you can get advice, information about jobs, and much more.
Twitter gives you a support network of friends (and fans!).
Writing is solitary; most of us sit at our computers day after day and hardly speak to another human. It’s great for getting work done, but it leaves you without a support network that you need for your long-term writing career. But with Twitter, you can find someone to talk you off the ledge when you’ve gotten one too many rejections or a poor review. You can find other writer friends who can help keep you on track; and reader friends who will be excited to go and buy your book and tell everyone they know about it.
Twitter can help you keep your finger on the pulse of the publishing industry.
Twitter can become a way to find new and interesting blog posts, get tips on writing directly from bestselling authors, get information on publishing directly from agents, editors and publishers and keep up on the trends and new releases. No searching involved, it comes in easy to digest bite-sized 140 chunks. If you find it interesting, you click the link and get more.
Twitter is great for Book Promotion
You need to get your book in front of readers in order to get sales, and Twitter is an author’s best tool for finding a potential audience. Sure you share your information with your followers, but add in that all important hashtag, and now anyone and everyone can see your tweet. This means if you tweet your topic well you make your tweet an audience magnet for you and your book. You don’t have to be a marketing genius to know that this will help connect you to new readers and help generate sales.
Now that you have the basic idea for Twitter, and you’ve decided that it’s an avenue you want to start using, how do you go about becoming part of the Twitterverse? One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s easy to use, but it does take practice to use effectively. The great thing is that it won’t take long to get up to speed on it. It’s free to set up a Twitter account, but before you start, you need to plan. Just like your website, Facebook and all other social media, you need to make sure you have your message ready and how you want it to appear to your new readers.
Make sure your Twitter handle and profile reflect your overall message.
Most people set their Twitter handles to @firstnamelastname – but we all know that’s not always possible. What if your name is John Smith? Sometimes, you have to get creative. I, of course, didn’t have any problem getting my handle – thank you mom for that lovely name, but if you have to get creative then make sure it reflects what you want your followers to know about you. Say you write a book about demons that drink, you could see if @demonsdrinking is available. Whatever you chose, you have to remember that you can’t change it. Consistency is crucial to authors, so make sure you pick something that is tied to you, not just one book. Look for your favorite authors or celebrities and see what they use for inspiration.
Start Tweeting… NOW!
It’s never too early to start working with Twitter, in fact, the sooner the better. You may not have a publication due for a year or so, but you can start to build your fan base now. I actually think it works better if you don’t have a publication, because you can find your voice and get familiar with the site without a book launch breathing down your neck. Plus you can cultivate your fan base and build up your follower list to create a stir when you book is coming out.
There’s a reason it’s called “social” media. Twitter should be a conversation.
Treat your followers and fellow Tweeters like you would a friend. Yes, you have a book to sell, but you wouldn’t tell your friend about that book every fifteen minutes. If you did, you wouldn’t have that friend. Twitter is not a hard sell tactic. Share information, share entertaining things; get your readers interested in you and what you have to say. The more they like what you say and what you share the more they will want to buy your book when it comes out. Yes, you can tweet about it coming out, and you probably will – in fact, there will be whole Twitter campaigns, so save the sell for those campaigns. Share who you are and readers will come.
While we’re at it: speaking of sharing…
Twitter is personal; it’s where you share yourself with the world. Tweet and retweet only those things that you truly value in some way. Make sure you show your followers and friends you appreciate their retweets by returning the favor. Engage your audience. This is the place to showcase your worldview, so offer yourself up…
On that note, make sure you’re offering up your best self.
You want to showcase your personality and offer opinions and even share some personal details – but no one, and I do mean no one wants a running commentary. Mundane details of your everyday life are not interesting (unless you’re a major celebrity, or married to one). So if you think it’s interesting, write it all down and have a complete stranger read it. If they make it to the end of the list without rolling their eyes feel free to email me that I was wrong and you really are that interesting.
You should feel free to have opinions, but be careful that you don’t sound rude, insulting or negative. It goes back to that conversation – don’t do anything to shut the conversation down. Rude, offensive and negativity can turn off potential book buyers, and your goal is to engage them. Also, such comments can create a “flame war”, you never EVER want to engage in that, so it’s okay to be controversial, but make sure there’s context. I use the rule that I never tweet anything I wouldn’t say to my grandmother, but you can find something that works for you.
Twitter is the new workplace water cooler, so come chat and then you can get back to work! Ready to join the Twitterverse (if you haven’t already)? Look me up if you need a friend/follower, I’m always available!
Listed below are a few author friendly retweet groups that will follow back as well and help promote any major event or book launch! These are just a few of the groups out there, but this group totals 1.2 million users that you can tweet to (please note some lists will have duplicate members). Some of these tweeters sell their tweets, but I’ve tried to weed them out so this list should be mostly free.
Main Article Social Media – Author Platform
Article 3 – Social Media – Author Platform – Goodreads.com
Article 4 – Social Media – Author Platform – Facebook.com