An increasing number of authors use Twitter, but many abandon the practice because the results have been poor, and I think that is largely due to the way in which they use Twitter. Over the course of the last twelve months, I have learned some lessons that I want to share. I'm no expert, and I'm learning stuff about Twitter all of the time.
Basic Lessons Learned
No one single social media platform will, by itself, bring about the result I/we am/are looking for - it has to be integrated. Currently, the Project has a website/blog (as do the authors who are part of the Project), a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. Each author has an Amazon Author Page and a Goodreads Author Page, and the Project has profiles on Smashwords (and it's premium partner sites) and on All Romance eBooks. The information is consistent and, where possible, linked.
We link the Twitter feed to Facebook and have the Twitter timeline displayed on our websites' front pages. Goodreads is linked to Facebook. Each time we blog, the blog post is shared with Twitter and Facebook - belt and braces stuff, you might say. We say - open all the doors and windows. Every post is a portal to the brand and our output.
Fundamentally, social media exists for us to
a) communicate what is going on in our author and project worlds
b) connect with other authors, other indie artists, and readers
c) grow our readership, fans and supporters
Twitter - the basics
1. Don't use it as a sales platform - limit self-promo tweets to 10% of the total number of tweets - that can vary day to day but it's a good rule of thumb. If all you tweet is self-promos then expect to lose followers.
2. Use the re-tweet group hashtags - I am currently using #IARTG #EARTG #LPRTG, #tw4rw, #bookbangs, #booklovers, #GTWO, #supportindieauthors, and #IndieBooksBeSeen. Use no more than three retweet hashtags per tweet and vary them. And remember, retweet groups are reciprocal - if you don't retweet another user's content, don't expect anyone to retweet yours.
3. Avoid posting tweets that have no image - a tweet without an image has a 0 to 20% chance of being looked at.
4. If you include a link in a tweet, make sure the link works!!
5. Use lists to make reviewing your timeline that much easier - have public lists so that other Twitter users (not necessarily a follower of yours) can subscribe to that list - this I am beginning to understand better myself and it appears to be a good way to attract the followers you want. It also makes reviewing my timeline very efficient. It's a good policy to add the accounts that you follow to the right list/s at the time of following.
6. Post original content as well as retweeting - I aim for 50:50 but it takes time to find good original content. For example, I watch a lot of stuff on Youtube and listen to a lot of stuff on Soundcloud - anything I like, I tweet - it's just one way of putting stuff out there. What are you interested in? Tweet what interests you.
7. Don't abandon your blog - keep up the blog - and it's easy to share blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, which avoids having to double and triple key everything.
8. Expect to spend a couple of hours a day on Twitter - that's realistic at the beginning as you build your followers and learn more.
9. Tweet every single day.
10. Have an auto thank you set up to thank followers - mine is managed through unfollower.com.
11. Either reply to direct messages or state 'no DMs' in your profile.
12. Do not simply follow back when you get a follower - who/what are they posting, and are you interested in their content? Be judicious in who you follow. Following to get followers is ultimately a waste of time because you'll drown in a ocean of tweets that you have no interest in.
13. Work hard to get followers; that is achieved by tweeting good quality content - my first 1000 followers took months to acquire - I now have 13000, and roughly 10 to 20 new followers each day. I follow 3000ish, arranged in 17 lists - and spend up to 5 hours everyday curating and posting content/retweeting content, and managing the account.
14. Update regularly the pinned tweet at the top of your timeline, which is seen first when someone clicks on your account profile - I will tweet the pinned tweet when I follow a new account whenever possible.
15. If I follow someone on Twitter, I also follow/like them on Facebook (if they have FB), and vice versa. I will also subscribe to the Youtube channel or follow on Soundcloud (as applicable).
16. Regularly tweet a thankyou to all followers, retweeters, favouriteers and DM'ers
17. If someone unfollows me, I unfollow them - regardless. I use unfollow.com (the free plan).
18. Regularly review who you follow - I will unfollow accounts that have not posted for 3 months or more, and, my interests change, so who I follow today will not necessarily be the same next week.
19. Include your Twitter address in everything and everywhere you can.
20. If you primarily expect Twitter to help you sell more books - think again.
Many of these points could be expanded and I'm happy to do that if I get comments back. I'll be blogging other pointers as and when.
I hope this was a useful starting point for getting to grips with Twitter.
Our twitter handle is @carterseagrove