I’m a bit of a social media addict. I love using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, more recently Pinterest, to connect with friends, family and with readers and fellow booklovers too. But not every author feels as comfortable and, when I posted a couple of weeks ago about some simple things writers could do on social media, I had a great response.
So I thought I’d perhaps share more specifically what I do, and what you can do, too, to make social media platforms work for you as a creator.
So, here’s a quick overview of what I do on Twitter.
- Firstly, I use a simple handle (my Twitter name). In my case, I chose @sallymurphy, because it was easy for potential new followers to remember. If someone wants to find me on twitter, it is very easy. Also, followers will see my name regularly, building easy brand recognition for my books and for me.
- Secondly, I follow people. One of the simplest ways to build a Twitter following is to follow people. The majority of Twitter users will follow back – meaning if you follow them, they will follow you. It is not hard to find people to follow. There is a search functionon Twitter. Search for friends, for people whose work you admire, for publishers, book reviewers and so on. And follow them.
- Thirdly, I do what I touched on in number 2, and I follow people back. So, if someone follows me, I usually follow them back. I say usually, because sometimes people or businesses follow me and, when I look at their profile I see that they don’t tweet about things I am interested in, and occasionally even tweet about stuff I am completely opposed to. As a general rule of thumb, I check out every new follower, and if their last few tweets are non-spammy and relatively interesting, I will follow them back.
- Fourthly, I tweet. At least once a day. I tweet about the weather, my walks with my dog, what I’m reading, where I am, you name it. Note that this list doesn’t include anything about me the writer. I tweet about those things too – but I try not to overwhelm followers with promotional tweets. Twitter users enjoy engaging with you, but they don’t like being sold to. Which leads to number five
- Fifthly, I tweet about my work and my books. I never ask people to buy my books. Rather, I share news about new covers, new reveals, release dates, appearances, and blog posts. I provide links to these where relevant.
- I tweet links to stuff of interest to fellow booklovers. If I come across a great blogpost, news article, or review (of someone else’s book), poem etc, I tweet it. Sure, this doesn’t sell MY book, but it spreads the love, and helps make my Twitter feed interesting which in turn increases my following.
- I use hashtags. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the hash ( #). Twitter users can search twitter by hashtags. For example the tag #kidlit is popular amongst children’s booklovers, so if I tweet on something likely to interest that community, I’ll add that tag. This can attract new readers to me, and makes the Twitter experience user-friendly. Note that some hashtags are simply there to entertain or add humour. For example, if I tweeted that I ate all the chocolate I might add the hahstag #sugaroverload
- I tag other relevant Twitter users, by ‘atting’ them. I do this sparingly, but, for example if I tweet a review of Fly-In Fly-Out Dad it would be relevant to ‘at’ Five Mile Press, the publisher. This shares the news with them, and will often result in a retweet to their followers.
- I retweet interesting tweets from users I follow. Again, this spreads the love, but also provides interesting content to my followers. Sometimes I add a comment, other times I simply retweet.
- Lastly, and this is important, I engage with other twitter users. I have conversations with fellow booklovers, using twitter, by replying to their tweets. BUT, if you are new to twitter you may be unaware that when you hit reply, and the person’s Twitter handle comes at the beginning of your new tweet, only people who follow both parties to the conversation will see your reply. If their twitter handle comes later in the tweet, all of your followers can see it. One way around this is to put a fullstop in front of their handle. Another is to compose the tweet so that their handle appears later in the tweet: I agree @joeblogs. ….
As I said in my previous post on Social Media use, using Twitter can use just a couple of minutes per day, but is a wonderful way to spread the word about your books, your writing, you, as well as being lots of fun.