As a writer, blogger and complete book nerd, my Twitter feed is naturally full of people with similar interests. I’ve come across some fantastic people this way; people who offer inspiration and interesting content on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, as with many communities, there are also a lot of writers on Twitter whose approach leans towards the spammy. Maybe they just haven’t figured it out yet, or maybe they just don’t care, but it can be a big turn off if all someone is interested in is self-promotion.
But there are a few simple ways you can be more authentic and attract organic followers who care about what you have to say.
1. Hold back on the hashtags.
There are some commonly used hashtags among writers and book lovers, #amwriting and #Fridayreads being a couple of good examples.
Whilst hashtags are a great way of reaching new audiences, they have to be used sparingly. Half a dozen in one tweet or in your bio can be off-putting.
2. Let your followers grow organically.
We’ve all been there. Someone new follows us, then if we don’t follow them back, within a day or two they’ll unfollow completely. Annoying, right?
Bulk following and unfollowing is actually a popular marketing strategy. You can often identify people who use this technique, as they have a similar number of both followers and people they are following, usually in the thousands.
Of course, some people just kindly follow back everyone who follows them, so use the above indicator carefully when screening for spam.
If you let your followers grow naturally as people discover your tweets through their existing timeline, or come across you through your website or a recommendation, they’re more likely to stick around and be interested in your content.
It’s all very well having 40,000 followers, but if they don’t really care what you’re tweeting about, they aren’t going to engage with you and your blog, or your books.
3. Share other people’s content.
A popular rule of thumb is to share 20% of your own material, 80% of other people’s. That way, you show you’re a part of the community; you’re interested in other people and what they have to talk about, not just promoting yourself.
By sharing a variety of useful articles, you present yourself as someone with lots of knowledge about your subject and people will keep coming back to you because you have helped them with a problem or inspired them with something new.
4. Start a conversation.
With tools like HootSuite and Buffer, it’s easy to schedule all your tweets in and build a presence, without actually spending much time on Twitter. But if you take a few minutes to scroll through your feed, chances are you’ll spot questions you can answer or conversations you can join.
By engaging with other people, they are more likely to remember you in future and check out the links you’re sharing.
5. Don’t repeat yourself.
Twitter is a great place to build a network and promote your writing. But you have to be a bit creative about it. I’ve come across people who will recycle the same half a dozen tweets over and over, perhaps interspersed with a few recommendations from readers. Usually these tweets will be heavily promotional.
Once I’ve seen the same tweet a few times, a little red flag goes up. I’ll give someone a chance, but if I keep seeing the same old stuff, I’ll unfollow them because they aren’t adding anything interesting to my timeline.
Sure, share your work, but make sure you mix it in with other content. I’m guilty of not reaching the 80/20 figure, but I try to keep it balanced. If I post a new article on the blog, I’ll tweet the link two or three times throughout the day, but I’ll try to make the tweet different.
It can take a little bit of effort to use Twitter in an authentic way and it might take longer to achieve a high number of followers, but it will be worth it when you build an engaged community who can help you reach an even wider audience with your work.
What do you think; do you have any tips for finding new followers on Twitter?