This is the second in a series of occasional short posts in response to requests from some Crooked Cat writers who are about to launch themselves into Twitter or who are finding it a tad perplexing to get to grips with. You can read the first post, Getting Started here. This week, having got our Twitter page set up and running, we're going to look at how to acquire Followers, and how and who to Follow.
The first thing the fledgling will notice as they step out into Twitter is that everybody else has FAR more Followers than they have. Some have more than the population of a small Middle Eastern country. This can be disconcerting, but do not be discouraged. Many of these people have been on Twitter for years. And they all started out exactly where you are now. So, let's Tweet ...
A Basic Tweet Guaranteed To Get A Response
Morning/Afternoon/Evening + comment on the weather + comment on what you are doing/eating + question about what they are doing/eating.
Within a few seconds, someone will have Tweeted a reply. You then reply back .... and there you are.
Conventional wisdom would now say: FOLLOW THEM. But I am going to go against conventional wisdom. This is my advice - and it applies to everyone who Follows you:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK: CHECK THEM OUT THOROUGHLY.
Click on 'Go to full profile' and scroll down at least 18 tweets. Do not follow if:
1.They only tweet links to their own books.
2. They never seem to chat or engage with anybody.
3. They hold extreme views that you do not share.
3. They retweet links to things you may not want to see reappear on your twitter feed or be seen by your potential readers, such as weird stuff/explicit pornography.
Remember, as a writer, you are a ''brand''. If you have a publisher, you are also part of their ''brand''. It is incumbent upon you to ensure that you do not lose your or their 'rep'. If you check my Amazon page you will see that I write mainly teen and YA books. I have a lot of underage kids following me, plus their parents. I therefore have to be careful whom I follow and what I retweet (a future blog). So I don't engage with people whose site content I deem inappropriate, or whose comments I find offensive.
OK, so you've checked them out, and they seem fine. Click on Follow. You can now, if you wish, click on their Followers or Following icons and find other people. The words ''avid reader'' should get your antennae twitching. Remember the 'check them out' procedure and adhere to it. You can also check out Twitter's 'Who To Follow' list on the left of your screen.
For a more specific search, you can go to the 'Search Twitter' box at the top right of your tool bar and find people in your genre. Use a hashtag #. Type #Crime or #YA etc. Do any of these things for 10 minutes every day and you will soon build up a good list.
If/when someone follows back, spend a few seconds acknowledging. Make it personal.
Thanks + name + liked XXX in your bio + comment about me + question about weather/life/work/part of world they live in.
Finally, there are loads of links and sites on Twitter promising to get you 1000's of followers free or for a small amount of money. Forget it. Do not buy Followers. Ever. Better to build your own list. Your Twitter account,when used correctly will generate its own Followers. Just give it time and work at making it work.
Next post in a few weeks' time will look at varying content, and other ways of connecting with people. Meanwhile if you have anything to add to this specific topic, please share it.