Just like with LinkedIn and Facebook, when indie authors connect with the “right” people, or key influencers, on Twitter, it makes a huge difference. Especially when they retweet your Tweets. But on Twitter, this can be an even more focused effort and sometimes the connection is even easier than on the other platforms. Why? Because Twitter is a direct link. If you like a Tweet, you can instantly like it and the person will know. If you reshare a Tweet, they’ll know it, too and it opens the door to a great connection for author promotion and book marketing. As you’re exposed to their followers, the amount of your followers will begin to climb, along with your network for book promotion.
Finding the Right People to Follow
Before you can start connecting, you first have to find the right people to connect with. On Twitter searching for specialized targets is pretty easy. And if you’re looking for someone specific, you can simply type their name in the search box at the top of your Twitter home screen and then scroll through the results. To refine your search, use the features on the left side of the search results.
If you’re just looking for people who share the same interests or local tweeple, try these sites:
- Twellowhood (twellow.com/twellowhood)
Once you start following a lot of people, these constant updates can become overwhelming. If you have a significant number of people you’re following, I recommend dividing them into Twitter lists. You can do this from your home page. In the screenshot below, see the word “Lists”? That link will take you to your personal lists, which you can make public or private.
Just click on “Create a list” (see below), which will take you through the steps of creating your own lists:
I use these lists for a variety of purposes. Some lists I keep only for a while, and others I keep much longer. For example, let’s say you’re going to an event and want to add the speakers to a list so you can learn a bit about them before meeting them in person. You can create a Twitter list for this, and the program will send you Tweets from these speakers (which you can retweet or reply to). The same is true for folks you want to follow in the industry, like other providers, authors, or business people you admire. The uses for lists are endless.
Creative Ways to Get More Engagement
Engagement on any social media site (but especially on Twitter) is really no different than engaging in person at a networking event. If you’re showing up at a group networking, or some other organized event, you’re not likely to just walk into a room and yell: “Hey, can everyone here buy my book?” Which is why it’s confounds me when people do this online and in social media. Relationships, even virtual ones, take time to build and they often start with you giving more than you get. At least initially. But if you’re looking to build a tribe of influencers and to network (whch is a great use of Twitter), consider these tips to build your followers, and your engagement, in record time:
- Follow your influencers: This kind of goes without saying, but often I find that folks do forget this. Everyone loves followers, even the influencer in your market. So first and foremost, follow them. Next…
- Share their content: Before you ask for a review, an endorsement for your book – or whatever, be a sharer of their content. And don’t do it willy nilly, I mean share content thoughtfully. You could even add a comment to the content you’re sharing, which I highly encourage you to do. Be selective with what you share, so make sure it’s interesting to your followers and dials into the message that best aligns with what your book or product is about.
- Comment on their content: Along with content you share, you can also comment on things that you see in their Twitter feed. A quick, thoughtful, short comment can go a long way to introducing yourself.
- Like their content: Liking is another great way to spread the content love, without necessarily spreading the content. Often, if I see something I like I will both “like” and share it. You can also like a piece of content and not necessarily share it, especially if it’s off topic. An example of this might be when I sometimes share personal stuff in my Twitter feed. So a picture of my dog being awesome. If you’re trying to network with me, you may not want to share that, but you could give it a like.
- Follow them on their blog & comment there, too: If you are really wanting to network with someone, consider another funnel besides Twitter. If they don’t blog, or don’t blog often, you could follow them on Facebook or Instagram and post comments there, but more than likely your target does have a blog and is probably on there regularly. Trust me if you post a comment regurly on their blog and share their content on Twitter, they will remember you and it’s a great way to build a virtual relationship.
- Don’t DM them: DM = Direct Messaging, and I will tell you that I ignore 99% of these. Why? Because I feel like if someone really wants to network with me, they’ll make the effort to find my email address. DMs, in general, aren’t a great idea. In fact if you have one that thanks your new followers I’d get rid of it. I think they’re annoying and canned. Take a personal route, you’ll be glad you did.
- Engage with Speakers Before Events: One really cool way to use Twitter is to engage with folks heavily right before you go to see them speak. I often do this for several speakers with whom I’m trying to connect, and I’ll ramp up the engagement as the event nears. Often they’ll tweet out that they’ll be at such-and-such event and I’ll comment back, tell them I’m excited, too. If done properly, you can easily tee up a meeting, or even a quick “hi” at the end of their talk.
I’ve written entire articles on getting more engagement on Twitter (including this article with tips for success on Twitter last year), but the bottom line is this: if you dial into your topic, network on Twitter, comment on others’ Tweets, share them, and include hashtags in your posts, you’ll build your followers. Period. Becoming numbers-focused forces us to develop more relevant content. And, while numbers don’t always tell the whole story, they never lie. I once mentored a business owner who loved Twitter, but wasn’t sure where to go with it. We researched her audience, determined what their needs were, and then pushed a timely, interesting, and helpful message. Now, a year later, she’s gone from just five to sixty-eight thousand followers on Twitter.
Don’t Just Engage When You Want Something
A lot of times I see authors who only begin to engage with folks when they want something – which is typically a review. And while most influencers get this and aren’t necessarily offended by it, it’s always nice to engage with them on an ongoing basis even before you pitch them.
What does this mean? Well, start with five influencers you absolutely love and read what they tweet/blog about and then share/comment on those tweets/blogs. That simple act can get you more exposure than you realize. Just sharing their content in a thoughtful way tells your influencer that you’re engaged with them, you are reading their tweets/blog, and you’re paying attention. I can almost guarantee if you do this, when your turn comes, they’ll be paying attention, too.
I did a test a couple of years back where I took an unknown author in a super cluttered genre (romance) and I set up an email account for her that I could manage. I went through a list of 100 bloggers appropriate to her topic and pitched them –one at a time – with her pitch. Not only did I personalize each email, but I also took a moment to note things I had learned by reading their blog. In one instance, one of the bloggers had just gotten a dog and named it Library and I commented on how cute I thought that name was (and jealous I hadn’t thought of it when I named my dog!). This level of personalization got her 80 out of 100 blogger requests. Yes, I said 80. This for an unknown author with no history, and little or no social media footprint. The same principles apply to connecting with influencers on Twitter. In an age of “point and shoot” it’s often the little touches that separate out what gets noticed. And, although this takes a bit of effort, the results can be fabulous. So much like DMing and other automated things you can do – skip the automation and go for personalized, personal outreach. You’ll make better headway if you don’t treat your influencers like a number.
In closing, Twitter is a great tool for expanding your network. And if you use it wisely and follow some of these guidelines, I think you’ll be astounded at the positive effect on your marketing efforts.