Putting the Social back in Media…
Look, I’ve only been on Twitter for a year (in this incarnation of myself as an author, anyway), but in those twelve months I have learnt a LOT. I have also organically grown my number of followers from 0-5K. No mean feat for a newbie to my profession. No mean feat for a relatively unheard of writer with a small independent publishing house!
I’ve had nothing more to rely on than my personality (and oft daft sense of wit), my interests, and yes, my books and the subjects I write about.
Well, I’m going to pat myself on the back anyway…
I’ll apologise in advance for crafting this piece mainly around the writing theme, but most of these tips are interchangeable and transferable, so no matter what lovely things you are trying to offer the world, hopefully something in the list below will make it that bit easier.
1: Stop posting solely about your product!
You knew it was coming.
It’s obvious, but it’s true, and so it HAS to be hint number one: Nobody wants to see consistent posts about your books. It is such a TURN-OFF.
I get tired just thinking about it. And yet so many writers do this… including those signed up with prolific publishing houses who don’t need to do as much marketing as the rest of us!
We all know you can write, and yes, it’s lovely to hear that your book is now 99p/free on Kindle Unlimited/appearing on a book blog tour with a gazillion stops.
But for crying out loud, intersperse this regurgitated news with something, anything… even a picture of your dinner would make a refreshing change!
You’d never have written a story without an imagination, so don’t leave it behind when it comes to social media.
I know I’m being harsh. But I’m only being cruel to be kind. I promise you’ll see BIG changes if you integrate this point alone!
2: Beef up your personality and let it shine
Aim for the 80/20 rule when it comes to those blatant ‘buy my book’ posts. I’m not usually one for accepting the marketing status quo because I love to break the rules – and this definitely doesn’t apply the week of your launch date for your brand new work of art – but Tweeps (Twitter People – aka. Your Audience) really do want to follow that interesting and unique personality of yours 80% of the time.
Be yourself. Chat about the funny and interesting daily occurrences going on around you. Chances are they will resonate with somebody. Keep it light and fun if you want to attract those uplifting followers, heavier if you want followers with whom you can engage in topical debate.
Add a GIF to spice things up. Post pictures of your holiday/throwbacks of the past/the sunflower that’s just bloomed in your garden/your recent disaster of a bake. Book selfies from your readers are fun too… just maybe not every hour of the day!
3: Follow Your Tribe
If you are a baker, follow other bakers.
If you are into clean-eating/pilates/knitting/crafting/Love Island/cheesy pop music, follow those people (as you can probably tell, they are not *quite* my tribe!).
If you love to garden, follow avid gardeners.
If you are an amateur actor, follow others who do the same.
The beauty of Twitter, as in the REAL world, is there is room for all of us. A quick read of somebody’s Twitter status can tell you a lot. As can a deft scroll down their last couple of days of tweets.
But remember: judge not, that ye be not judged!
In other words, this is also a good point in time to make sure your own Twitter status is enticing…
4: Run a Competition
Stay authentic and keep it related to the things you write about. I regularly organise giveaways that fuse with the subjects found in my books. It’s a great way to attract new followers but over and above all of that, I genuinely enjoy the ripple of kindness (only because it’s an affordable giveaway… I’m not too sure I’d feel the same if I’d set up a competition to win a brand new car!)
5: Try to avoid too much negativity…
… and the dreaded getting embroiled in heated Twitter debates (unless you are Joanne Harris, you’re unlikely to get away with it and it will only lose you followers!)
6: Avoid retweeting others all of the time
Your followers want to hear what YOU have to say. Yes, Matt Haig produces some awesome material on Twitter. Yes, it’s incredibly re-tweet worthy.
But it isn’t you.
It’s fine to share something that resonates, but try to maintain a balance.
I know so many people who stop following Twitter accounts simply because they aren’t generating any original material of their own, but parroting out others’ news.
There is only ONE YOU on this Universe. You are that unique. A fingerprint among a billion stars. Your tweets matter, dammit!
7: Create a hashtag for a weekly themed hour or attend a weekly themed hour
Friend and fellow author, Lizzie Chantree is a great example of this. Lizzie co-runs #CreativeBizHour every Monday evening from 8-9pm GMT. This is an hour long slot when creatives get together, share ideas and the things they have been up to over the past seven days, retweet, follow and support one another. It’s fast and furious (in a good way) and a LOT of fun!
8: Head to Canva and make some inspirational memes
Not everyone has time. Not everyone feels inspired. But if it is your cuppa, Canva is a wonderful place to create unique material. And for the basic package it is free!
9: Perfect Your Status
I’ve hinted at this already in point 3, but it’s really important you make YOU stand out from the crowd. Far too many Twitterers use the same old wishy-washy, two-a-penny words in their statement. Your status is your USP, so milk it!
One of the most important things is to keep this polished like not so much a stone, but marble. Adapt it as necessary as and when things change.
I have my third novel being published next month so now declare myself an ‘Author of Fantastical Foodie Fiction’ as opposed to listing each book title. That would now take up way too many precious Twitter characters.
It’s important to remember that some Twitter users will be on a handheld device, meaning they will not see your entire status in a follower list. Get the things you want to be shouted loudest at the beginning of your status. In the example below, Stillbirth Mum is certainly not my smallest priority in my life, but talking with other bereaved parents on Twitter is something I don’t do as often as talking about books, writing, foodie thoughts and Glastonbury (the town I grew up in), so I list those things first. That way, at a quick glance when potential new followers are reading through a glut of statuses, they can make a snap decision as to whether I sound like I’m one of their tribe – or not…
Use whatever form of (politically correct, preferably clean) humour you can find to brighten someone else’s day. I’m no comedienne, for sure, but my novels contain a romcom thread and I can’t help but tweet daft things every few days. Here’s an example:
Who doesn’t like a little self-deprecating humour?
So there you have it.
My 10 Fun Ways to Increase your Twitter Followers – which are you using already and which sound the most fun?
Oh – and feel free to add to this list in the comments below, because a Twitter share is definitely a Twitter care!