Twitter and Authors: It’s all about Relationships

The power of Twitter for indie authors is typically underestimated. Social media marketing options are typically brought up in some of the forums I lurk around in, and I see many authors saying they feel Twitter is a waste of time and have dropped it altogether.

How could the potential eyes of 100 Million active daily users of Twitter be a waste of time? When Twitter and indie authors go hand-in-hand, it can be a powerful networking tool.

First Things First…

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I’m not claiming I’m some social media expert. I’ve done quite a bit of research, and have compiled it here for you to take what you want from it. I’m a “web nerd” that feels that social media is important for authors.

Twitter Is All About Building Relationships

Stats are not important. Repeat that to yourself.

Don’t think you suck at Twitter because someone has 11,000 more followers than you. Out of Mr. Popular’s Twitter followers, maybe only 50 of them are actively responding (RT’ing, Fav’ing, Replying) to his tweets.

Don’t think you suck at Twitter because you only got two clicks on the link to that blog article you posted today. The important thing is building relationships. Connect with that person that has been selling a bit better than you in your genre, or that person that has a decent following with an interest in your genre.

Twitter Applications

While many people use Twitter.com to do their sharing and tweeting, I prefer a separate application for it. The one I use is TweetDeck. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about TweetDeck in the comments, as that’s the one I use the most. You can also hit me up on Twitter (*wink*)!

You’re able to create columns, each broadcasting their own Twitter feed. You can set it up so you have a column for your timeline, one for those that mention you on Twitter, and one of a search for a specific keyword on Twitter. I currently have eight columns going. I like to keep an eye on whats going on in #AmWriting and #SelfPub to find other people with a similar interest as me, so I have columns for each of those.

Searching for keywords is especially helpful when you’re wanting to connect to people with similar interests as you. When I was a freelance web designer, 90% of my business came from having a column set up searching for keywords like “need a website”. TweetDeck would alert me someone said they need a website, and I’d tweet them with my portfolio link to begin building a genuine relationship.

Step 1: “Book Cover Quality” Profile/Bio

You’ll need to make sure that your Profile/Bio on Twitter is handled with the same seriousness as your book cover. When you reach out to someone on Twitter they only have your profile to go by. They don’t know that you have a book out, or a website, or a pet goat that eats your neighbors laundry — unless you TELL them.

If you take a look at my profile, you’ll see that I have a picture of myself as my profile picture, my background/cover picture is my upcoming novel’s cover, my website is listed, and I’ve written an interesting blurb. Try to spend a decent amount of time with this, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Be sure to include a link to your book on Amazon in your bio, and a put a link to your website in the appropriate profile field.

Step 2: Share Content That Is Not Your Own 80% Of The Time

If you’re constantly tweeting your Amazon book links, you’ll come across in two ways: you’re a robot, or you’re desperate and annoying. Again, Twitter is about building genuine relationships. Each tweet needs to be something that your followers will find interesting.

The best way I’ve found to do this is with Feedly. You sign up for an account, put in some topics you want to read feeds from, and then post those articles you find interesting to your followers on Twitter directly from the website. As you find articles that you are interested in reading and feel your followers would enjoy it as well (meaning, it fits the general interests of your followers), share them.

You may be thinking this means you have to spend your entire day posting articles on Twitter. This isn’t the case. With Buffer, you can schedule your article tweets for the day in less than 10 minutes. Use the rest of the time randomly throughout the day to meaningfully engage your followers and those you follow. Buffer also has apps for your mobile devices, making it easy to schedule your tweets on the go.

Be careful not to over-share. While you’ll make more tweets in a day than you do posts on Facebook, you don’t want to become an article-throwing robot of irritation. A good rule of thumb is to share articles you find interesting between four and six times a day.

Step 3: Find Other People With Similar Interests

A good place I’ve found to do this is Topsy. At this site, click “Influencers” above the search bar, then search for a keyword that fits your interests or genre. Click “follow” next to the people you find interesting, and off you go.

Twitter has pretty strict punishments for people that just follow other people like crazy all day, and your account will likely get banned if you do too many new follows in a day.

Step 4: Reach Out!

You’re following people that have the same interests as you! This means we have something to talk about. I know, I know, we’re introverted authors and want to stay in our own bubble. However, this is the age of SOCIAL media. Create genuine connections with those you follow, and those who follow you.

As long as you follow these core principles of using Twitter, you’ll be gaining steady followers that are interested in what you have to say. You’ll be interested in what they have to say too — which makes Twitter so engaging.

Feel free to leave your comments on what has worked on Twitter for you! If these posts seem to help, I’ll definitely create more, so let me know!

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