@EstelleW_Author My goal of reaching 1k followers by the time I publish seems a little out of reach now. 400 in 4 weeks? Possible? #spreadtheword
When this tweet by debut writer Estelle Wilkinson caught my eye on my Twitter feed, I started to tweet back some Twitter marketing tips to help her achieve her goal. But then I thought “hang on, these ideas could help other authors too!” What’s more, if I used more than Twitter’s limit of 140 characters per tip, I could be even more helpful.
So here they are: my 6 top tips to help authors everywhere gain more followers on Twitter. This is not an exhaustive list, and I’ll probably return to this topic again soon. In the meantime, this starter-size serving will help any writer struggling to get off the ground with Twitter to grow bigger wings and take flight!
1) Maintain an alluring Twitter profile page.
When people see an interesting tweet that tempts them to follow you, they are likely to check out your profile page before they commit. Therefore use the 160 characters permitted there strategically to appeal to your target audience. Make sure you use the right keywords. “Ebay”, for example, is key to Estelle Wilkinson’s new book (believe it or not!) Include a clickable link to your website if you have one, or to an online listing of your book if you don’t. Make it easy to probe beyond the 160 characters. Add an appropriate photo, cropped to work at thumbnail size on the Twitter timeline. Whatever you do, ditch the egg! (That’s the default logo provided by Twitter in the absence of a photo). You can also add an attractive background image. Mine is the cover of my book, tiled across the screen. Visit my Twitter profile @DebbieYoungBN to see it in action. Aim for a Pied Piper effect: make your target audience unable to resist following you!
2) Keep your tweets interesting and outward looking.
Potential followers will also check out your last few tweets, as a sample of what they’re likely to get from you on their timeline in future. If all you ever tweet is “Buy my book, it’s fantastic!”, you’ll get few takers: who wants to read that every five minutes? The occasional more subtle tweet of this sort is fine e.g. yesterday I put up what I hope was an intriguing tweet about my book: Every
#writer needs this book” says latest 5* review for #bookpromotion handbook “Sell Your Books!”, (with a link to the Amazon page showing the review). But I use tweets of this kind very sparingly, interspersed with interesting links to relevant articles or blog posts, useful tips and inspiring quotes to inspire. Retweets of other people’s tweets are great for boosting your output – but only if these are not of other authors saying “Buy MY book, it’s fantastic”!
3) Focus on the most appropriate kind of follower.
Search on the right key words for your genre to find appropriate followers. If you want to gain readership for a book about stamp-collecting, track down Tweeps who tweet about stamp-collecting, follow other stamp-collectors or list stamp-collecting as an interest in their profile. Philately will get you everywhere (ho ho). You might still want to follow non-philatelists for other reasons. Most authors add at least a few people unrelated to their book or their genre, simply for personal interest. But don’t be disappointed when Stephen Fry or Mo Farah don’t follow you back!
4) Don’t waste your follower ration on no-hopers.
When you are relatively new on Twitter, you are limited to following no more than 2,001 Tweeps until you have at least that many followers of your own. Regularly cut out the dead wood e.g. unfollow those who aren’t following you back. This frees up space to follow new people who ARE likely to follow you. Use handy online tools to help you do this more easily, e.g. www.unfollowers.me, but don’t be too hasty to unfollow. Although many people check Twitter every day from their computer or their smartphone, plenty more only do so only occasionally. Allow them time to spot you’ve followed them before you click unfollow.
5) Follow the followers of other authors in your genre.
You might be surprised to know that it’s fair game for you to follow the followers of other authors in your genre. At first this may feel underhand, like industrial espionage, but it’s an important factor behind Twitter’s success, so use it to your advantage.
6) Emulate the successful tweets of others.
If you notice certain kinds of tweet being retweeted within your target genre, see if you can produce some similar tweets. “Top tip” tweets, intriguingly presented and addressing a key issue in your sphere, are likely to go down well. I’m rather hoping that when I tweet the title of this blog post, I’ll harvest a few RTs and get some new followers myself! It’s also productive to tweet links to new posts or still relevant old posts on your author blog.
To help Estelle Wilkinson reach her own target of followers, or to see how she’s progressing (no pressure, Estelle!), you might like to visit her Twitter profile at @EstelleW_Author.
Do you have any tried-and-tested Twitter follower tips you’d like to share? Please feel free to add them via the Comment section below.
Not Yet On Twitter?
If you’re a writer without a profile on Twitter, or an author who at the very mention of Twitter breaks out in a cold sweat, don’t give up! Twitter is a great tool to help you raise your author profile before an audience of people that you don’t know personally. It’s well worth the effort to break through that wall! An easy first step is to read the overview in my book promotion handbook, Sell Your Books! See Chapter 6: The Truth Is Out There! Harnessing the Internet.