Thursday, March 10, 2016
The Truth About Twitter ~ by Patricia Beal
Do you want to make your Twitter presence bigger and better? If so, read on. I’ll tell you how.
I gained more than 6,000 Twitter followers last year and continue to grow fast. I don’t think that’s spectacular because I know I could do much better if I were to invest more time, but publishers were impressed. I just signed my first publishing contract on Feb. 4. Hurray! My debut novel, A Season to Dance, comes out in May of 2017 (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).
Earlier this year, A Season to Dance had made it to the acquisitions team of a major publishing house. The project was rejected there because the story was not an ideal fit, but marketing was very impressed. One of their interns asked me to write a post about the journey and about platform building for pre-published authors for her personal blog (LivingLitUp). This post about Twitter grew from that post.
Twitter is easy
Twitter is easy—once you realize you need to follow back, follow aggressively, and unfollow aggressively.
A slow start
I had a very slow start on Twitter because I didn’t follow anyone back, and I only followed my writer friends, agents, and publishers. When people unfollowed me, I was terribly crushed. I would go over my content trying to figure out what I’d done to turn them off.
Then an author whose account was growing fast told me the truth: Most people follow to be followed back.
Light-bulb moment: People were not unfollowing me because of my content. They were unfollowing me because I wasn’t following them back.
So guess what I do when someone follows me? I follow them back. If I don’t, they’ll unfollow me in a heartbeat. Now I know.
For faster growth
For faster growth, follow first and do it aggressively. I go to the Twitter page of an author who writes what I write and follow everyone who follows them. Many will follow back within three days.
After about three days, I go to www.manageflitter.com and get a free list of who’s not following me back. I unfollow each and every one of them. I can unfollow one hundred people per day for free, or pay for the capability to unfollow more. I can also unfollow manually directly on Twitter without limitations, but it’s time consuming.
Unfollowing those who don’t follow back is essential. If I don’t, then new people I follow see that I’m not unfollowing and feel no need to follow me back.
Then I do it all over again. Pick another author. Follow their followers. Unfollow the ones who didn’t follow back, etc. I can grow as fast as I want by doing this.
Seems like a meaningless numbers game?
If I stop there, it is.
Here’s how I make it meaningful:
I strive to tweet high-quality content, tailored to benefit my followers. Then guess what happens? People notice me, place me in curated lists, and retweet me. Score!
I’m still small enough that I can thank people for all retweets and most likes and mentions. That encourages them to continue to retweet me. It also encourages their followers to follow me and retweet me.
Let me add a note about Hootsuite: I like it. It works. But I stopped using it for now. I have too much fun showing up and searching for the most awesome stories for readers and writers, interacting with my tweeps, etc. But when life is out of hand and there aren’t enough hours in the day, Hootsuite.
Tweet three times a day (author friends with publicists say so). You may take weekends off (expert Edie Melson says so), but I don’t take weekends off. I slow down, but I still tweet. Different birds show up on weekends. I want to reach them all. There’s also a different and more relaxed vibe on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s fun.
Should I follow back users with questionable content?
I understand the concern and think that’s an individual decision. For me, there are only three kinds of users I don’t follow back: people selling followers, people who worship the devil, and naked people. Other than that, they are all users I’m comfortable reaching for Christ.
I’ve never had to spend a penny on Twitter. Facebook is a different story all together. I’ll talk about that next time.
I hope this post was useful and that you feel empowered to grow your Twitter account. If you already knew all this, tell me what you know and do: Do you use something other than Hootsuite to schedule tweets? Do you use something other than ManageFlitter to manage your Twitter account? Do you have different ideas for Twitter growth? Have you invested money on Twitter growth and/or ads? Did you like the results?
Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency.
She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.
She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children.
Patricia is very active online and loves to connect with readers.
Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/bealpat
Facebook - www.facebook.com/patricia.beal.author
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/patriciasbeal
Twitter - www.twitter.com/bealpat
Web - www.patriciabeal.com