Several people have asked me how I’ve gained so many Twitter followers since deciding to dive into the Twitterverse six months ago. My standard answer has been, “I followed people, and most of them followed me back.” It really was more complicated than that, though, so in honor of reaching 5,000 followers, I’m addressing the question in a series of three posts. This advice is geared toward writers, but many of the principles will remain the same whatever your field. Unless you’re brand new to Twitter, you will have already completed some of these steps, but perhaps you’ll still find some helpful ideas.
Step 1–Set the Stage
Create a profile people will want to follow. This is your first impression, so make it a good one, using a carefully crafted bio, a great photo and background images that reflect your writing style. You can see what I’ve done at @sdkeeling.
Bio—Ask yourself, why would people be interested in you? Who are you trying to connect with? You can’t capture your entire personality in 160 characters, so showcase interests you share with the people you most want to attract.
Be specific! It helps you stand out and find others with like interests. Don’t just say you’re a writer, tell us what you’re writing. Give the genre rather than the title. Titles often convey little information for someone who’s not familiar with your writing.
Use hashtags so that people can find you when they search for certain terms, like the subject or genre of your book.
Fill in your location. I’ve made friends on Twitter from the opposite side of the world, but it grabs my attention when I see another writer who lives nearby.
Don’t forget your website! People often click through to learn more about you. You can give a link to your Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon—just give them somewhere to go!
Photo—Don’t be an egg. Any photo is better than no photo, but it’s worth taking some time to choose the right one. This is a big part of your first impression, so think about the image you want to project—Professional? Friendly? Funny? Sexy? Edgy?
Seriously consider having a professional photographer create a headshot for you. You may be able to do this inexpensively at a writers’ convention, such as the Ozarks Romance Authors conference. A classic piece of career advice is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That applies here as well. Successful agents and authors tend to use professional images to add polish to their presentation. If you want to look like you belong in that crowd, hire a professional photographer and dress for success.
Background Images—A custom header and background image can really make your profile stand out and contribute to your branding.
Published authors tend to incorporate their book covers or other artwork related to their books. I used images from my trip to Egypt, along with a little creative Photoshop work, to create an ancient Egyptian atmosphere to represent my time travel adventure novel.
Pay attention to design details. I gave a single warm brown tone to both my header and background images, creating a harmonious look that sets a mood without being visually cluttered. Be careful that your header does not interfere with the readability of your bio text, and that important parts of the image are not hidden behind your photo. You may want to enlist the help of a friend who is talented at graphic design, or hire someone from Fiverr to help you out.
It can take some time to get your profile just right, but it’s worth the effort. After all, you never know when a fellow writer, agent or future reader might be taking a look.
Come back next week for Step 2–Getting Your Feet Wet!
Great blog and I will do my best to follow your advice. Can’t wait for the next installment.
Thanks, Barb! You’ve already done an outstanding job with the presentation of your website and Facebook page, and it looks like you’ve really started adding Twitter followers. And you’ve got some exciting news about your upcoming release to add to your bio!
I’m impressed! All around! You’ve done a great job of growing your Twitter Tribe. Can’t wait for part two!
Thanks, Lisa! You’ve been doing a lot of impressive stuff yourself the last few months!
Thanks for the advice! I’ll be making change and following along with your next installments.
Glad you found it helpful, Melanie!
Thanks, Ruth! I hope you come back next week.
Thanks for stopping by my blog! New follower back =)
Terrific advice for gaining Twitter followers. I sometimes find all the social media overwhelming. Keeping up is a full-time job on its own!
It can be a full-time job, Darcia! Tricky to balance all the demands on our time. Thanks for stopping by!
Great article! It’s a much needed reminder to me to do some updating. I’m looking forward to the next post.
Thanks, Sara! I’m looking forward to seeing what changes you make.
Excellent advice 🙂
Thanks, Steve. And thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll come back next week.
My pleasure 🙂 And I’ll definitely be back 😉
Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier:) I am with you on the professional photo! I’ve done a lot of head shots for clients who want to make the best first impression!
I’m a photographer as well as a writer, so I’m biased, but it really does make a difference. I hope you come back next week for part two!
Hey there I have found a website that actually helped me grow my twitter followers so here it is http://www.twitteranalytics.com/
Thanks for the info. I’m sure there are many ways to go about it.
I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! http://taraford.weebly.com/
Welcome! I just stopped by your blog, as well.
I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!
Great advice. I know I’m behind and will read your Part II now. You’ve done an impressive job. Very impressive in just six months.
Thanks, Beth! I really appreciate that from our Marketing Queen.