Besides being a multipublished author, I also work 9-5 as a New Media specialist for a medium size destination and attend several conferences throughout the year geared towards website marketing. Plus, I maintain the content for 5 websites, moderate a yahoo group, write for 3 different blogs, maintain 2 Facebook profiles, 3 Facebook fan pages, 2 Myspace profiles, 2 Photobucket accounts, 1 Flickr and 1 Twitter.
I’m sure most of you have heard of this 140 character phenomenon which pitted Ashton Kutcher against media giant CNN for bragging rights on who could reach 1 million followers first or the Anti-P Diddy campaign that wanted to keep him from the same magic number. If not, don’t sweat it.
Twitter is simple, FREE and at times highly contagious micro-blogging service that receives more than 55 million monthly visitors and is ranked as one of the 50 most popular websites on the entire web. In layman’s terms it’s a treasure trove of potential readers!
Signing up on Twitter is easy and takes less than five minutes. And for less than a minute a day, but sometimes more, you can build a loyal following. BUT that’s only if you know what you’re doing.
What do you do when you get on? Well…you tweet. I know it sounds very easy, but its what, how often and to whom you tweet, which will either sink or float your boat.
What do you tweet? Tweets are meant to be short and to the point. You have only 140 characters so don’t waste your time or your followers with vague generalities only you understand or purely throw away messages such as, I’m heading to the kitchen to make myself a PBJ.
Instead spice up this tweet with something like, Didn’t plan on it but my heroine has a kid who likes PBJ sandwiches, heading 2 the kitchen for research. The key is to be engaging and entertaining.
I hear the groans out there. You don’ t want to waste your brain cells on kitschy things to say especially on a free social networking site that doesn’t send you monthly royalties. But think about it. As a writer your career revolves around what you write. So, what better way to showcase your voice or your sparkling sense of humor in order to attract potential readers who’ve never heard of you?
How often do I need to tweet? Well there isn’t a maximum, but in my opinion there is definitely a minimum. If you don’t have the time to tweet at least once a day or more, I wouldn’t bother getting on Twitter. There’s nothing worse than to visit someone’s website and they haven’t bothered to write anything for a month. Bye-bye, I’m gone.
To Whom do I need to tweet? The easiest followers to gather on Twitter are of course friends, other authors reviewers and book publishers. But eventually you’ll come up against a brick wall since we all have our limits on whom we actually know. So that’s when we need to spread our wings and start finding people outside our circle to befriend.
What’s that you say, quality over quanity? There’s nothing worse than to follow someone who doesn’t like to read. So you should target your audience by using twitter.search.com. This is an advanced search option that allows you to seek and follow people with an interest in reading. Type in “reading” and dozens of pages will pop up with people telling you what they’re reading.
Also, there are several fields that allow you to type in several words to narrow down your search. I typed in vampires, books, JR Ward, Kensington, erotica and a few pages popped up with people talking about all of these subjects in various mediums. And all I had to do was pick through them to see I wasn’t picking up a child molestor. I clicked their follow button then crossed my fingers that they’ll follow me back. And there’s a pretty good chance since research shows 60% of all people on Twitter follow those who follow them. But if they don’t right away, you can simply send them a message of hello:)
Are there any other ways to build followers? Here’s a few of tweet-o-tricks that have helped a few people.
- Compete against another author to gain fans a la Ashton Kutcher. Wouldn’t it be cool to see JR Ward compete against Anne Rice for the most rabid vampire fans;
- Hold a contest. The quirkier the better. The city of Baltimore gave away a free tattoo if a person recruited people to follow their profile. In less than 48 hours, they had 4K followers;
- PROMOTE IT on your website, yahoo group, anywhere you have other social networking profiles; and
- Don’t limit yourself to just posting. Interact/talk with other people on Twitter. Seeing your name on someone’s else’s profile will spur someone’s interest to follow you as well. In fact, quite a few celebrities such as Mr. & Mrs. Demi Moore are well known for talking to just about anyone.
Now that you have the tricks…now go tweet! Stay tuned for “Inside Twitter: what do all those @,#, and RT mean”?
Do you have any tricks for tweeting? If so, please don’t be shy, share!