Social media can suck you into its vortex and have you mindlessly scrolling for hours on end. But it can also be very useful to the writer when you know how to use it. You can use social media to build your author brand, to be known, to develop a readership following. Although it can take you away from your writing time, it can work in positive ways too. The writer can engage with their readers, interact with them as well as find a community with other writers.
I am going to spend the next couple of weeks looking at different social media platforms and how best a writer can use them to their advantage. This week, let’s look at Twitter. I have put together some articles and podcasts that explain how Twitter works and how writers can use it to their advantage.
This is a great introduction to Twitter for the complete beginner. It explains how Twitter works, the ways in which you can connect with other writers on this platform. How to tweet content, manage the accounts that you follow, and market your writing.
This article from Urban Writers gives you 10 professional tips for marketing yourself and your writing on Twitter. It says that Twitter is a goldmine for authors and it can provide a wealth of publicity and potential readers if you know how to use it. It discusses how important your profile picture and your bio is. It encourages you to be influential and engage with your audiences directly. This piece also explains how to improve your visibility on Twitter by taking into account what times you tweet, what hashtags you use, and using creative calls to action.
Here the importance of engaging with your readers, replying to them, interacting, and asking for their opinions is emphasised. Mixing things up by broadcasting on Twitter with live feeds can help you reach new audiences as can getting involved in trending topics.
Using Twitter can show people that you are more than your book; show your fans who you really are. Be you. Master the pen and the lens – use photos as well as words. Retweet. Don’t be afraid to show your tastes. The voice and tone of your tweets should match your writing style. Don’t overpromote yourself but you could share opening lines of a new story, retweet fans who tweet reviews or photos of the book. Plan your tweets and schedule them.
How to grow on Twitter as a writer. 5 simple tips and tricks to build your following.
This article from Medium talks you through building a complete profile. It advises you to be genuine; don’t just follow thousands of people in the hope of getting some follows back. To find readers search keywords, like and retweet posts that resonate with you. Add a comment to a tweet. Include a couple of relevant hashtags in your tweets but don’t overdo it. Participating in Twitter chats or hosting your own is a great way to find new followers. Write valuable tweets. Provide value to people following you, and give some insight into who you are as a person.
This article explains the basics of Twitter emphasising the importance of creating an intriguing bio and how to use your Twitter background as your own billboard. It advises on what, where, and how often to post. It gives you tips on follow etiquette and using hashtags.
This is a general podcast about using social media for authors. It covers the importance of Twitter lists and your bio link, and how to stick to your author brand on social media.
In this podcast, Kesley Smith, Greenleaf’s Corporate Communications and Business Development Manager, talks about how authors can grow their brands through social media. She discusses how having a social media presence is a key aspect of an author’s platform. In mentioning the 80/20 rule – 80% of your posts should inform, educate, and entertain your audience, while only 20% should directly promote your business, Kesley says that while this rule isn’t as relevant as it used to be, it is important to get the ratio right for your author brand. Time consistency is key when establishing workable goals in using social media.
Kristen says that to build a successful writing career you must develop a platform that allows you to reach your ideal readers and forge connections with fellow industry pros. Choose just a couple of platforms and focus on those. Be active on your chosen platforms and seek quality connections over likes and followers.
As Kristen said on her well-storied podcast, ‘It’s important to set boundaries around your social media usage to avoid distraction and maximise your writing time.’ If you take on board some of these tips about Twitter, you can learn to use this platform in a way that works for you. I hope you have found this week’s column helpful. Next week, I will cover Instagram. If there are any topics you would like me to cover, please get in touch.
(c) Lucy O’Callaghan