If you’re like lots of other authors, you might feel a bit conflicted about Twitter. On one hand, you know that Twitter has become something more than just another social media network. It has started to function as the information network of choice for millions of people around the world.
These days, you even see Twitter feeds on television, and journalists, politicians, and celebrities make use of Twitter’s ability to communicate quite a lot in just 140 characters.
You know it’s a great place to interact with readers and colleagues. And with more and more people joining Twitter every day, you also know it’s a great place to promote your book, your blog and your other activities.
Right now, as Twitter gets ready to “go public” we know that they report over 218 million active monthly users, and that Twitter grew almost 48% in the year between March 2012 and March 2013. This trend shows no signs of slowing down.
On the other hand, Twitter can seem both cryptic and confusing when you first get started.
For one thing, there are lots of people just like you who already seem to have hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of followers. How will you ever catch up?
The Party’s Just Getting Started
Don’t worry about being late to the Twitter party; this service will be growing for years to come. And if you’ve been holding back from getting into Twitter because you think it will suck up too much of your time, relax.
To make it easier to grow your own community, I’ve got a simple, effective method you can use to build an engaged following of Twitter fans in just a few minutes a day.
Of course, you can “buy” Twitter followers if all you want is a big number after your name, but what’s the point of that? What you want is people who are likely to be interested in what you have to say.
This method is built around knowing both your own readers and the people who have already become successful in your niche, and who are also active on Twitter.
Let’s look at how to get ready to use this method, so we know we’re starting off on the right foot. Before getting started, you should:
- Know something about your readers. For this method, you may only need to know what kind of books they like to read, but in general, you can never know too much about the people who make up the market for your books.
- Know some writers who represent where you’d like to be when you become successful writing the kind of books you want to write.
- Find some of those writers who are active on Twitter. Some of these people will have blogs, some will have e-mail lists, and all of these things may become important to you further down the road.
That’s all the prep you’ll need. Next, let’s see how these elements come together into a simple strategy to explode your own Twitter following in just a few minutes a day.
Following the Leaders, Following the Followers
Okay, here’s the plan. It’s simple, and I’ve broken it down into steps for you.
- Search on Twitter for the writers you’ve identified, or find them through a “follow me” link on their site.
- Go to their Twitter profile page and click on the “Followers” link.
- Set a timer for 6 minutes.
- Scroll through the follower list looking for “reader-type” people who are following this specific writer. Ignore:
- business accounts of any kind
- accounts with the words “social media” anywhere in the person’s bio
- accounts with no photo of a person’s face
This is what’s going to happen: you’ll find that you can do this quite quickly, and in 6 minutes you’ll be able to follow at least 30 people, and probably more.
Over the next few days, you’ll find that 15 to 20 of the 30 people you followed will follow you back. All of a sudden, every day you’ll notice you have a nice group of new followers.
My clients often build a follower list of 1,500 people within 6 to 8 weeks of starting this practice.
Keep in mind that although we use our follower number to see how this strategy is working, in the end it really isn’t about numbers. What we’re doing is trying to find the people most likely to be interested in our books, regardless of the subject.
Then, we let the human tendency to reciprocate when someone “compliments” us in some way—like following us on Twitter—come into play. It’s just natural to do it, especially if you seem to be part of the same community.
Knowing this, you’ll want to make sure your own Twitter profile is what it should be, considering you now understand what role it plays.
Your profile, including your photo, should clearly indicate the value you contribute, and who is most likely to benefit from it. This allows people to qualify themselves into your community of followers. And that’s why this list will be engaged when you carry through on the promise made by your profile.
Of course, if you keep doing this 6 minutes a day, a year from now you could be one of those people who, today, have so many followers they seem way out of reach. Wouldn’t that be something?