I’ve been focusing on growing my Twitter profile lately, and as a result I’ve noticed a lot of choices authors make seem to hinder their odds of gaining widespread attention. In the interest of outlining some rules for myself (and anyone else who’s interested), I’ve simplified the potentially harmful activities into a list.
*A quick explanation of why I feel qualified to write this: on May 2nd of this year, I had 193 followers according to Twitter’s analytics. As of today (May 27th), that number has risen to 3,019 (a 1,464% increase, or around 113 followers per day).
- Truetwit validation. Oh my word, any time I see that ‘so-and-so uses Truetwit validation’ I cringe, especially if they’re an author. Why would you want to scare away or remove followers for any reason? It’s actually well known that Truetwit service is essentially a scam, so just don’t use it.
- Automated DM’s. These seem like bad form no matter how they’re worded; the least successful are those that pretend they’re personalized (‘Hello… Valerie Thomas, how are you?’), and even the best ones (linking to an author’s profiles on other social networks) are irritating. In my opinion, it’s better to pin a tweet with links to your social networks than to send an automated DM.
- Automated mentions. In a similar vein, there are a few users who’ve found services that automatically mention and thank every single user who follows them. On the surface this seems like a good idea (and some early Twitter users actually personally write their mentions, which is okay), but when someone’s feed is clogged by pointless/identical thank you notes, they lose their meaning.
- Coming off as an advertising machine. I’m going to venture a guess here and say that most Twitter users don’t follow authors solely to be bombarded with purchase links. Don’t let advertising links make up the entirety of your feed. They shouldn’t even be the majority of your posts. Followers on Twitter are looking for a personal connection, so be personal. Share your interests.
- Being too self-interested. Retweeting is easy on Twitter, and it costs nothing except attention. I try to share others’ tweets as much as my own; it seems to build up karma in the Twitter world, getting the attention of even those with huge followings. And it shows you’re a giving person, willing to help others even when there may not be anything obvious to gain (hint: there’s actually a lot to gain). Be sure not to go overboard, though…
- (Bonus) Over-posting. What’s the easiest way to get muted? Not just by other authors, but by almost anyone on Twitter? Posting so much content that it loses relevance and potency. Yes, in order to be certain that every single user following you has seen a tweet, you would have to post it at least twenty-four times (and probably more), but that goal is unreasonable. Use this tool to figure out when to post, and focus on sending out one or two tweets at that time.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If so, please share, like, or leave a comment!