Update: August 2017. I’ve just discovered I cannot count. I actually only presented five tips. Ooops!
One of the main ideas behind having an author platform is to provide your fans and readers a central location where they can find information on you, your activities, and your books.
If people don’t know about your platform (usually a blog or a website, though it need not be), they can’t very well find it.
One strategy for dealing with this issue to be active on social media. The idea being that by follower you attract will be more likely to visit your platform (links to which you have placed in your various social media profiles, right?).
So, then, how does a new or prospective indie author grow a following on social media? To some extent that depends on the social media you have elected to use — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Selection of the appropriate social media platform(s) is an subject worthy of a separate post, if not a series of them. I’m going to assume the new indie author has decided that Twitter will be one of the social media platforms they use.
Twitter is one of the oldest social media platforms around many, many indie authors use it (hence my assumption, above). I use it and I have what I like to think is a respectable number of followers.
Here are my six tactics for increasing the number of followers you have on Twitter. There’s nothing new or magic about them. Many before me have written about them.. And that’s for one reason — they work.
Follow the Followers
Find authors who write the kind of book you have written (or are in the process of writing). Amazon and Goodreads are good places to start.
Then find the author(s) on Twitter. Page through their followers and and follow them. There are two reasons for doing this. First, many people will follow back. Second, if those people like the kind of books content produced by the author they are following, there is a chance they will like yours as well. A chance. There are no guarantees, for either the following bit or the liking bit.
Be consistent; follow a set number of new people each day. It doesn’t have to be a large number — 10 to 20 a day will suffice. Twitter followers are accumulated over time. If only half of them follow back you will gain between 1800 and 3600 new followers in a year.
It’s been said many times by people a lot more knowledgeable than me, but it bears repeating. Provide value.
Do NOT send out a constant stream of tweets promoting your book, your blog, or anything else “you”. Promote others, point people to valuable articles, images, books, or other content they will find useful or interesting.. Use the 80/20 rule — 80% of your tweets should be be about others — their content, advice, articles, etc. Twenty percent can be about your and your content.
A constant stream of self-promotional tweets is all but certain to have people ignore and finally unfollow you. People thinking of following you likely will not if your twitter stream is filled with tweets all about your book, blog, content, etc.
When people follow you, retweet your content, or otherwise interact with them, thank them.
Again, this let’s people know that you appreciate the effort they took to interact with you. If you have a lot of people following or retweeting you (a happy, happy problem) you may find it time-consuming to thank each one of them with a tweet or direct message. In this case you can post a thank you tweet to “top retweeters” of your content, and mention them by their twitter handle.
Make Your Twitter Handle Easy to Find
This one is a bit of a pet peeve for me. If someone stumbles upon your author platform (usually a blog or a website) make sure they can find your twitter handle easily and that it links directly to your Twitter profile. If people cannot find you, they can’t follow you.
There are a lot of people on Twitter who find auto-responder messages irritating. I’m one of them.
It’s tempting, I know, to set up an auto-direct-message to new followers thanking them. However, it comes across as fake. People know your message is machine-generated. You’ve just told them they’re not important enough to warrant a personal reply from you. There are other ways you can thank them — an actual real tweet or direct message or follow them back. I would go so far as to say that no response is better than an auto-response.
There you have my six tactics for growing your Twitter followers. What tactics do you find effective? Let me know in the comments. If you are looking for more (much more) information on Twitter and social media in general, you can’t go wrong checking out Social Media Just for Writers.
Thanks for reading, and I will see you again next time.