Ah Twitter, love it or hate it. I’ve recently discovered a new-found love for the platform after ignoring it for years. I opened my first account in 2015 to pose as the character Jim from Dead Heat. I didn’t give it enough time or tweet enough as a marketing tool. A year ago, I repurposed that account to promote my writing and photography.
Now, a year later, I’ve noticed a few trends that appear to work for me and for others, as well as traits common to people who get little to no engagement. Here is my (admittedly not particularly scientific) observation.
Follow for Follow
Why are you on Twitter? What is your purpose? Follows? Great – follow everyone you encounter including and especially everyone who follows you. Are you instead looking for engagement? I’m afraid the scattergun method to Twitter engagement is utterly useless. More follows and followers does not mean engagement because you are focusing on quantity over quality. Let’s say you have 10k follows, or even 1k. How could you possibly keep up with all of them? Answer: you can’t.
What happens is you will see only content from the same 20-25 accounts you regularly interact with. The Twitter algorithm is such that it will prioritise accounts you interact with the most and essentially hide those that you don’t.
Cold Calling DMs
I get more DMs on Twitter from accounts I don’t know than on any other platform. My response is simple: delete and block. I don’t know if it actually works because it’s a common complaint from accounts I follow to receive demands to follow back, buy their book, subscribe to their YouTube channel. That’s before we get to the dick pics that women get, and the Mail Order Bride requests that men get.
Most people don’t like cold calling and most people feel they already get too much of it. If you aren’t already familiar with that account, don’t waste your or their time.
Your chances of a follow back from me or from anyone else is unlikely if all you do is advertise your services. Yes, the banner for your book is pretty but if that’s all you’re posting, you’re not going to get very far. If you post nothing but advertising, and your Tweets & Replies is nothing but advertising, you won’t get many responses. Twitter, like Facebook, Instagram and all the others are social media. Get social. Interact. Post personal stuff. Offer help and advice. Answer polls, create and share polls. People are less likely to think you’re a bot and they’re more likely to respond when they see there is an actual human behind the account.
One of the main reasons I don’t follow back (and according to some people I regularly interact with) is because an account is little more than retweeting other people’s content. There is nothing wrong with useful retweets – but this should be used sparingly when you think it will be of use to your followers. In fact, I would go so far as to say most of your retweets should be helping your existing connections gain more visibility.
I primarily use Twitter to promote my writing, a little bit of my photography, but rarely my professional work. I’ve retweeted books for others in the Writing Community and I know plenty of others do too. Offer some insight if you can (retweet with comment) to demonstrate why you feel that is of value.
Not Engaging with Communities
What’s that? What’s a “community”? Don’t worry, this isn’t really something you need to go looking for or apply to join. It’s a hashtag that you follow rather than an account. You should follow specific hashtags and save them for quick access. This will then show up tweets in that “community” with the tag. Naturally, I follow #WritingCommunity and #ReadingCommunity and tag my writing and reading related posts with those. A few others related to writing include, #LGBTWriters, #VSS365 (very short story 365) and a few others that I can’t recall off the top of my head.
Your social media experience is only as good as the effort you put in. There are no “neat tricks” or quick fixes to selling more books. As with most things it takes practice and effort.