This morning, my very special guest is Jo Linsdell, noted author and blogger, whose new book focuses on how Twitter can be used as a dynamic promotional platform. When I spoke with her, she had some great ideas–read them and put them to use in your own career. I certainly plan to! Here’s Jo:
A lot of new or aspiring authors may not see Twitter as anything more than a time-waster. Why is Twitter an important tool in the modern author’s promotional skill set?
Building a strong online presence can make or break it for authors in today’s modern world. As busy authors most will probably prefer to be working on writing their books to spending all day on social media but it’s important for authors to build their brand and market their books. This is true regardless of how the author is published or planning on publishing.
Marketing online, especially via social media is ideal for self-publishers. They can reach a large international audience for free. Agents and publishers also look at an authors online presence though when deciding who to sign.
Twitter is one of the main players in social media today with over 302 million active users in the first quarter of 2015 (Source: Statista http://www.statista.com/statistics/282087/number-of-monthly-active-twitter-users/). From my personal experience Twitter gets me the best R.O.I. out of all the social media sites I use (and I use a lot of sites. I’m a complete social media junky and pretty much everywhere).
Twitter, with its low maintenance, and high output, is ideal for writers.
What are advantages unique to Twitter that can’t be gotten from other social media platforms?
Twitter is perfect for writers. With tweets of just 140 characters, it’s easy to post regularly to the site and build your network. Even the busiest writers can find 5-10 minutes a day to click the retweet button on suitable content for their brand a few times, and post a quick tweet or two to connect with their followers.
As all tweets are automatically set to public you also don’t have to deal with approving people or selecting an audience for your content like you do with other platforms. Everyone can see it. Just use some select hashtags with your keywords to make sure your target audience can find your tweets.
I also find it easier to join conversations and connect with new people than on some other platforms. You just find a conversation, by searching for your keywords, and jump in. On other sites, for example Facebook, I sometimes feel like it’s an invitation only party. On Twitter everyone can turn up and join in. The nature of the site is just more open.
Do you have any personal “Twitter stories” to share? How has Twitter helped you?
Like I said, Twitter gets me by far the best R.O.I. out of all the platforms I use. By my current analytics it makes up 54% of my online influence score. That’s people interacting with the content I share either by sharing it, commenting on it, or mentioning me in their posts. The next on my list is Facebook at just 18%. Quite a big difference.
It’s much easier to make new connections on Twitter too. Even for shy introverts. Start by retweeting a few tweets by the person you want to connect with. Follow them. Add them to a list. Give them a shout out by mentioning them for #WriterWednesday (also #WW) or #FollowFriday (also #FF). Then start commenting on their tweets using the reply button. Before you know it they’ll be doing the same for you. It really is that simple to build relationships on Twitter.
I’ve made some great connections with other writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, bloggers, associations, and readers via Twitter.
What’s the best way to build up a large group of followers?
Be social. Retweet others content and engage with them. Join in chats. One of the most effective ways to build a larger following is to tweet about events you take part in… and those you wish you could have been at. I’m big on social media and wish I could have gone to the Social Media World conference hosted by Social Media Examiner, but alas, I couldn’t get over to the States to join in the fun in person. That didn’t stop me learning loads of tips and advice from the event and networking with attendees though. I joined in via Twitter. By retweeting the live tweets from people who were at the event and commenting on them I got over 50 new followers in just one day. Most importantly those new followers were all interested in social media, and a lot of them were also writers. A perfect fit for my target audience.
There are always events happening and, more often than not, the organisers set up a hashtag to be used in connection with the event. Just find events that fit your niche, and interests, and start connecting. It’s also super easy to start conversations with the others using the hashtag because you already have the event in common to use as a conversation starter.
Is having a large group of followers important?
Yes and no.
The number of followers is just that, a number. It’s a bit like a popularity contest. It’s much better to have a smaller following that interacts than a big number that doesn’t connect though. Quality over quantity.
That said, the more followers you have, the more people that will see your content. People are also more likely to follow someone who has a lot of followers as they think, “Hey lots of people are following this person. There must be a good reason”. All tweets are public so non-followers can interact with them too but people who click the follow button are generally more likely to retweet, and comment on your content.
Do you see Twitter as a game-changer in the social media landscape? Why or why not?
Yes. Social media is now well established and won’t be going away. With the increase in online options, mobile usage, etc, people want everything now. As Twitter offers bite-sized content it’s perfect for today’s busy schedule. Both from the point of view of who creates the content, and who reads it. It also embraces the social aspect of social media in a more open way than some of the other sites and so sets itself apart as an example of what social media should be.
What is the main thing you hope readers take away from your book?
How to be Twittertastic, and the other books in the Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Series, is designed around the idea of making social media easy for authors to understand and to supply them with information and tips to help them get the most out of their time and efforts.
How to be Twittertastic covers a bit of everything from how to set up your account and personalise your profile to third party apps and getting the most leverage out of your tweets. It’s also packed full of useful resources to help you make the most out of time and marketing efforts.
Building a strong, and effective, social media presence doesn’t have to be difficult or too time consuming. Everyone can do it… even busy writers.
Thanks for answering, Jo!
J: Thanks for having me here !