Good things take time. Really worthwhile things take a long time and the five thousand Twitter followers milestone is probably my most important so I figured now would be a good time to reflect and pass on some helpful information.
How did I get there? Well it wasn’t easy. From deleting the app some years ago to now. I’ve had an eventful relationship with the platform I still don’t fully understand but there are some fundamental basics I implemented which will help anyone reach some level of social media success.
This post takes direct inspiration from my self help guide book Consistent Creative Content. I’ve broken this guide down into three sections which go hand in hand. The Why’s, The Basics and the Advanced Tweet Machine Methods. I will also cover some fixes for those already on Twitter who aren’t getting any engagement. Now there are plenty of folks I know who have way bigger followings than me, and that’s cool, but this guide is designed for hopefully anyone.
Exploring motive before anything else will ultimately give you something to aim for, much like any character in a book. Why are they there? What do they want to do? Ask yourself this: What do you want to achieve on twitter and why?
In my case, and the short answer; I am on Twitter to promote my efforts as an author and blogger while also learning from those doing the same.
The long answer; Twitter is a huge opportunity to connect with near enough everyone. Predominantly I sell my work online, about 98% of my book sales come from online sources so I need to be there for that. It’s also a wonderful way to find new books that I can review.
In your case, this may differ depending on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you are a blogger who specialises in photography, or someone interested in nature; there is a crowd for near enough all interests on the Tweet machine. You want an audience right? And connecting with others will get you there. It’s both a social and a promotional opportunity. Use it to find your crowd – we’ll go into that with more detail below.
From experience you need the basics for people to start following you regularly on Twitter. In order to get more followers you need to spend enough time on the platform to get some engagement.
Engagement is basically having a voice that folks can easily hear. There is no overnight solution to more engagement but there are ways to increase it over time. My philosophy is and always will be this:
To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent.
But that’s just conducting yourself professionally, most people are cool but what else can you do? Well, you need:
A real profile picture of yourself. Trust me other humans like to see other humans – but this is optional and depending if it is safe for you to do so.
A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun, clear and friendly the better.
A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you are currently doing in life, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book /blog/ content.
To engage with others by commenting, help, offer advice, be friendly, supportive and decent – trust me most twitter types are drawn to honesty.
To Follow those who follow you.
Unfollow those who no longer follow you.
Follow those who interest you.
If you follow the above basics you will find some level of success and gradual growth. All of these basics are aimed at getting more engagement or at least the right kind.
For absolute beginners I strongly suggest your tweets include relevant hashtags to what you are interested in. Introduce yourself and explore those hashtags, comment on other folks posts who use them. Be social. Examples of hashtags that work for me: #indieauthors #writerscommunity #writer #authors
Things not working – a few fixes
I have opted to put this section in here because this tutorial is designed for all and you might already be on the Tweet machine and experiencing little or no growth/engagement. You need engagement for growth and growth for engagement but why are your tweets feeling invisible?
If your tweets aren’t getting much attention perhaps it’s time to consider what you are posting. Is it relevant or even interesting? Is it heavily opinionated or political? Is it ‘spicy’ or angry? Are you an author who just constantly shares the link to their own work? Are you random and sporadic – the platform tends to reward those who regularly post. This can also be relevant to what you are saying in the comments of other folks tweets. Regularly I see a user say something that can appear aggressive or forward – although this might not have been the intention it’s easy to be misunderstood in a tweet. I very much HATE WHEN PEOPLE CAPITALISE things or tell me what to do. The whole tough love/truth thing will annoy me also. Try and keep things light and friendly. Things can easily be misunderstood on Twitter to the point where pointless arguments erupt normally over something arbitrary, that is why I advise you keep things simple and clear.
My top tip would be to scroll back down your feed and look at the last tweet you put out which got some good engagement. Do more of that and less of the tweets that don’t get any attention. Easier said than done but it works trust me. I did this over the long term – a process called finding quality through quantity which means tweeting loads, marking in my head what works and doing more of that kind of stuff.
Things not working can also be related to consistency, if you post sporadically every few days at random times then it’s likely your audience won’t see it. Those with a lower following, you folks risk being forgotten if you don’t post regularly. Consistency is key.
Engaging with others more will also spread your visibility across the platform, remember it’s social media, if you see a tweet that compels you to make a comment then follow the basic advice above and go for it!
Let’s say anything over five hundred to a thousand followers means you’re serious about this. Now you need to step things up while also raking in more followers because in theory the higher volume of followers you have the easier it is to get more. It me took several years to get a thousand, but way less time to get double that.
So what advanced methods did I use to get there? While the trends constantly changed, I did these things:
Posted regularly, normally more than 3 times a day.
Figured out when the majority of my audience were online. In my case I have an audience that is mainly Europe or USA based so I post in the morning for the folks in my time zone then wait until later on for the USA folks
Treated it like a job.
Did everything I possibly could to get more engagement by tweeting relevant, fun and engaging posts every time. Post memes, post fun stuff, ask questions, run polls, share reviews of books you’ve read, so many possibilities …
Kept following the basics while also using relevant hashtags.
Kept it fun and light. I tend to stay away from heavy politics and opinion based stuff.
Kept away from negativity and toxic stuff which can easily be found just under the surface.
It’s called social media for a reason, to be social and the more you embrace that concept the better. Following some of the advice above will indeed help. If you have any other advice then please do leave it in the comments below.
There is a stack of social media tutorial things in my book which you can buy here
I also have a series of audio coaching sessions with parts 1 and 2 being free to listen. Details here.
May the Tweets be with you!