It’s been a bit since I’ve posted on using Twitter, my apologies. I’ve been getting the next Reed Ferguson novel ready for publication…boy, does that take time. Anyway, some more advice for authors on Twitter, and for anybody else who cares to grow their following. I continue to be amazed at the number of authors who don’t build their following, or follow others back. I wonder if this is in part that Twitter authors are trying to manually build their following, and they can’t keep up, so I thought I’d pass on a few tips and tools that I use.
Listen Up, You Twitter Authors
I harp on this, but it’s courtesy to follow those that follow you. As long as those accounts aren’t blatantly against your principles, or Internet marketers and the like (unless that’s who you want in your following), who cares? You never know who might decide to read your books, or help you tweet about your books. One way that I’ve found to help this process is to automate some of what I do. There are a variety of tools out there, but one I use is…
Isn’t that a cute little logo? Now, yes that is an affiliate link. For those of you who haven’t heard of that, it means if you click that link and buy, I get a little commission. Now, I’m truly not here to sell, but since they offer me the opportunity to make a little money, I might as well, right?
I’ve also heard people say great things about HooteSuite. I haven’t personally used it, but I do hear that it is quite an automation tool. I’m not an affiliate with them, but that’s okay, I just want to get authors to not fear automation. I’m sure there are other great tools, so feel free to comment and share what you like.
The purpose of these tools is to allow you to manage following and followers without having to sit captive at your computer. The idea is to allow you to automatically follow people, and to follow those that follow you. A word of caution, be careful of Twitter follower limits and don’t follow too many people in a short amount of time (you’ll look like a spammer and Twitter might ban your account). There are plenty of articles on this, so I won’t go in to detail here.
What I like about automating tools is that they automatically unfollow people who don’t follow me back (TweetAddr lets you specify the number of days before it unfollows). Why is this important? Because Twitter sets a follower to following limit, so I can’t just continue to follow people and not have them follow back (have you ever wondered why people unfollow you – this might be why).
Ugh, Twitter Cleaning Time
I also use JustUnfollow and Twitter Karma to manage my account. I like JustUnfollow because it shows people who aren’t following you from oldest to newest, so I can unfollow people who I know have been non-followers for quite some time (this happens when I manually follow people, which I still do, even with automation). Twitter Karma is nice because it shows activity, so you can see when the last time someone tweeted. This is helpful because you can select dead accounts (those that haven’t posted in a year or two) and bulk unfollow.
But It’s So Impersonal
The bulk following and unfollowing, yes, I would agree. But here’s where I try to make it personal. TweetAddr allows me to send a message to every follower, so I thank them and point them to my website (just good business in my opinion). But I make it personal by sending a note about my Facebook page, and I try to make a comment based on their bio, or if I see a good tweet, I’ll retweet it (that’s good Twitter karma). Will some people be turned off? Sure, but you can’t please all the people all the time. But you can be a good Tweet-er, and if you are friendly and personable, most people will see that come through. I’ve virtually met some awesome people as I’ve built my following. It’s not just about selling books but building relationships.
Other Benefits of Automation
I also like automation because I can send periodic tweets about my books, reviews and so on. I can set the time span so it’s not that often, and this way the same people don’t see the tweets. And another thing I can do is automatically tweet messages of followers I want to support. I do this now for @Authopublisher and @zencherry – two people who have been HUGE supporters of me. The least I can do is support them back. There are many more things these tools can do. I would encourage you to explore them and find one that works for you.
Have I Convinced You?
It’s okay if you don’t agree with me. I hope you’ll take away from this that you can’t just gather followers and never follow anyone back…not if you want to build your following (and sell books).
An example that I think is funny. Early in my Twitter days I followed an author who sent me a nice tweet (it looked automated, nothing personal in it) thanking me for the follow. But she didn’t follow me back. So I unfollowed her. She just recently followed me. I followed her back and did my usual tweet pattern. What I find interesting is that in the same amount of time her following has hardly grown, and mine has gone from 200 (when I followed her) to over 3200 now. I wonder why…