10 Tips for Authors to Maximize Twitter
by Raine Thomas
When I decided to self-publish in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. Where I should have gotten into social media and befriended other indie authors before I published, I didn’t even think of doing that. In truth, I had no idea how many other indie authors were out there. I knew of big names only, which was how I even thought to self-publish. Sadly, I was way behind the curve.
One thing I did do was look up how some of those “big names” achieved success. The first tip I read was that I had to create a Twitter account. I’m pretty sure my first response was to whine and complain.
“I don’t want to have to tell people what I’m doing every two minutes,” I moaned. “Who cares what I ate for lunch today? What good can Twitter possibly do me?”
Sound familiar? For many of you, it probably does. Well, despite my reservations, I created my Twitter account. As it turned out, all of my initial sales were directly attributed to Twitter.
That’s right. I somehow managed to stumble my way through and get a hold of managing Twitter in the few weeks leading up to the publication of my first books. During this time, I met people who would become some of my biggest fans. Today, I’ll share with you what I did and how Twitter continues to be a huge source of support in my marketing and sales efforts. Hopefully, some of these will help you!
1. Use your book cover as your avatar. Your “avatar” is the image that shows as your picture on Twitter. When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t have a professional author headshot. Since I didn’t want to Photoshop my goofy-grinned image from my 21st birthday, I used the cover of Becoming. It generated so much interest that I had people wanting to buy my book before they knew anything else about it.
2. Find your favorite authors and follow their followers. When I first joined Twitter, I thought I needed to follow the people I thought were cool. Wrong. I needed to follow people who might think I’m cool. Thus, I looked at the followers of authors in my genre and followed everyone with “reader” in their bios. This helped me develop a quick following of people interested in reading my books.
3. Participate in memes. A meme (which rhymes with “theme”) is a regularly recurring trend followed by a large number of people. Some memes on Twitter are “Writer Wednesday” (hash tag = #WW) and “Follow Friday” (hash tag = #FF). By giving shoutouts to groups of people using these hash tags, you’ll build a following in no time. Bonus tip: include new people each week to up your following.
4. Follow a variety of people. I know some authors who won’t follow back anyone outside of other authors, readers, and book bloggers. My question is, why not? If there are people following you who aren’t in those categories, they may have followers who are. Follow people back who seem legitimate, even if they’re outside of what you perceive to be your target audience.
5. Maintain an effective “Followed By” to “Following” ratio. When you first get started, you’re likely to follow a lot more people than are following you. You can manage this by cleaning out your Twitter account once a month or so with a site like FriendorFollow.com. If someone hasn’t followed you back within a month, you can unfollow them to keep your account more balanced. Be sure you’re following (and following back) a good number of new people every week.
6. Interact with people. When people check out your Twitter page, they don’t want to see a stream of tweets where you’re promoting yourself. That’s the worst thing you can do. Instead, respond to tweets and really get to know people. They’ll very likely ask about you, too, and you can mention your books, WIPs, etc. in passing. It’s called “passive marketing.”
7. Promote others. Twitter is a reciprocal community. The ability to retweet someone else’s tweet allows you to show your support of them in a small but noticeable way. The more you promote others, the more likely they are to return the favor. Remember that passive marketing thing? Yeah, this qualifies, too.
8. Don’t spam or use a service to screen followers. There’s nothing worse than following someone only to receive an auto DM reading something like, “Thanks for the follow! Check out my book, ANNOYING AS POSSIBLE, on Amazon today!” Um…no. Also, don’t sign up with TrueTwit or another verification service. Just don’t.
9. Link your other social media sites to Twitter. Many other social media sites share posts on Twitter. Two that I have linked to Twitter include my author page on Facebook and my Pinterest page. I also belong to a blog amplification site called Triberr, which allows me to promote other writers’ blog posts on Twitter while they, in turn, promote mine. All of these add variety to your tweets and increase your exposure.
10. Share content that interests your followers. Do you write romance? Tweet a picture of a hot guy or girl. Do you write comedy? Tweet a “Relatable Post of the Day.” The key is to keep your followers engaged so that they want to share your big news when the time comes to promote it.
There you have it…the recipe that has gotten me over 7,500 followers in about eighteen months. If I’d known half of this when I got started, I’m sure I’d be well over 10,000 by now. Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter. If used effectively, it can boost your sales and your following to well beyond your expectations!
You can learn more about Raine and her books here:
http://www.RaineThomas.com | http://twitter.com/Raine_Thomas
http://facebook.com/RaineThomas | http://pinterest.com/Raine_Thomas