Someone in a group I am part of asked me for some tips on using Twitter for novices. Now, I am the first to admit that I am a long way from being an expert, however, I am more than happy to share what I know and have learnt. So in this article I will cover
- Finding followers
- How to Retweet
- What to Tweet
- How often to tweet
- Common Hashtags for authors
- and some Useful Tool
Once you have a Twitter account set up you’re going to want to start following some people, I find following people I share interests with help, as well as those I am in groups with. I am by no means an expert, but this is what worked for me.
Start by typing your interest in the search bar with a # in front of it. For this example, I will use #authors, but look for people who enjoy your hobbies, your genre, etc
This brings up posts with this hashtag
Ignoring any accounts that show at the top scroll down, if any tweets catch your eye, retweet and follow them, often Authors will follow back.
To follow someone:
If using the above step you find someone you want to follow, hover over their name to open the profile
Click the follow button, this will then turn blue and say following. (PS I don’t know this person it is just who came up during my screenshot for the example)
The way is after doing the hashtag search click on the people tag. This displays all the people with the hashtag you searched for, read their profile and follow anyone you like
How to retweet:
Retweeting is one of the most important things when trying to establish an account, it shows people the kind of things you like, and if you share content they like they are more likely to follow you. By retweeting others, you make the page not all about you, but about others too. This is important in social media. The general guidelines, based on my digital marketing course are as follows, don’t worry about these too much, it is just to show what kind of balance you eventually want to aim for:
In my digital marketing course, the following Tweet strategies were recommended as best practises.
5-3-2 – 5 pieces of content from other people, three of yours, two personal status updates – this works best for people and small businesses
5-5-5 – 5 updates about you and content, 5 about other people, 5 responses to other people’s posts – these posts should add value and be relevant to you, your hobbies, or the market
4-1-1 – 4 posts from other people, 1 retweet for every 1 self-promoting update
Rule of thrids – a third of you, a third of others, and a third on personal interactions
How to retweet a post:
Using the search function find a post you think will enhance your feed and be of interest to your followers. Again I will use #authors as an example. Here I recommend instead of using the default page that comes up, you select the ‘latest’ tab. Scroll down until you find one you like.
For this example I will select the retweet button
When you click this the option to RT will come up. You can either just retweet, or rt with your own comment
Once it is done the rt button turns green. The number by it is how many times a post has been retweeted.
Retweeting your followers
Being engaged and retweeting your followers is really important. The tweets of the people you follow are displayed on the Home page
Using the same process above, scroll down to find the ones you want to retweet, and select the retweet button
What to Tweet
Content is all important. It is better it send out 4 or 5 tweets your audience will be interested in, than 50 they won’t. There is a fine line here, as you want to use it to promote your book.
Posts with pictures, according to my digital marketing course, get around 80% more engagement than those with text alone. So where possible include a relevant picture, gif, or in the case of authors, a book link often pulls an image from Amazon.
When promoting your own work, I find best practice is to offer pictures with teasers.
Another well-received option is to use quotes from your reviews, and short elevator pitches.
Think of a Tweet like a pick-up line, you want to entice and tease your reader, gain their interest so they want to know more.
However, it is not all about your book. You need to be personal, reveal and share snippets of your day. If you’ve written something you love or hate, tweet about it. Seen something which inspires you, made something you’re proud of? Take a picture, share it. The goal is to connect with your audience, let them see you, and your work.
How to Send a Tweet
Start by pressing the Tweet button
If you have some text highlighted in red when you write a tweet, this means it is over the character limit.
You can always find a way to save space if needed by changing things a little
Once your tweet is written, double-check it for typos and press the Tweet button.
How often to Tweet
The average lifespan of a Tweet is 17 minutes, after which, unless people have RTed or looked for it specifically then it is finished. This is because of the constant scrolling timelines. According to Internet Live Stats, every second around 6000 tweets are sent. However, despite their short lifespan this doesn’t mean you should be sending out something every 17 minutes. Here it is important to focus on quality over quantity. Before posting anything make sure it will add value to your customers.
If you don’t log into your account within six months, Twitter may shut it down.
What Hashtags to use
The author community has so many hashtags it is hard to keep track. The rules are simple.
First, make sure they are relevant, don’t use #nonfiction if your book is #fiction
Secondly, check what is trending. If you can, you want to turn a trending hashtag into a marketing push, some people call this trend hijacking. Trending hashtags are displayed on the left side of your Twitter.
Here, since my book donates to charity, I could utilise the current trending #internationaldayofcharity and highlight the donating aspect of my book in a promo tweet.
In this instance, you’ll also see I opted to link to the charity rather than the book. It is a day of charity after all, if someone is interested in my book, they can always check my profile, however, I want to promote the DMWS here.
Always be tactful and tactful when using trending hashtags
Common hashtags for authors
Books and Reading
#WriterWednesday or #WW
#SciFI or #SYFY
#Authorfollowback (not popular anymore)
#Bookboost (any tweet tagged with this gets a rt from Bookboost)
#IARTG (Indie author RT group)
#ASMSG (Authors’ Social Media Support Group)
https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ – Free
Use to schedule tweets. Type your Tweet in the box, select date and time, and repeat with different dates for repeating tweets.
https://www.socialoomph.com – Free with limited features, or $15 a month to create a queue
https://www.vicconsult.com/buffered-bulk-tweets/ – great for text only tweet scheduleing – $5 a month, must keep adding content, so keep a notepad with the tweets on to copy and paste in. When I last used this it was still restricted to 180 characters
https://ifttt.com/twitter – Free – Great for finding and posting content you enjoy
https://ifttt.com/applets/SMvaxczG-if-hashtag-then-retweet-it is a great one to use if you often retweet specific hashtag, but be sure to keep the -RT in the hashtag line. There are so many, that you can opt to rt things from places like NASA, or simply say thank you every time someone follows you
When Tweeting the idea is to keep your audience entertained, give them insight into you, your work, your interests, while also engaging with them. It is not all about selling your book, it is about adding value to their day, be it a smile, a book teaser, or just something personal they may relate or be inspired by. Try to keep a balance between your things and everyone else’s. RT followers, RT things that interest you, doing this shows people what you like, and shared hobbies and passions help them to relate to you and form an online relationship.
As I said above, I am a long way from being an expert on social media, however, I hope you have found some of these tips useful. This is my Twitter strategy, based on things I have learnt in the digital marketing, associates degree I have just completed, as you get a feel for it you will develop your own best practices. If you have some tips you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below. I would love to know what works for you.
I hope to see you here again.
Article by K.J. Simmill (KS the Dreamer)
Since I still have your attention, and this is a marketing post, it must be time for some shameless self-promotion – check out my award-winning books here, and have a great week x
6 thoughts on “How to Twitter, and Hashtags for authors”
Thank you KJ – as a novice I found this really useful
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Hi, I am glad you found it useful 🙂
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You’re most welcome 🙂 I am glad it helps
You’re most welcome
Thank you so much! I just can’t seem to get the hang of Twitter but after reading this and knowing I can refer to it anytime encourages me.
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I am glad it helps 🙂