Social Media: Are You Engaging Enough on Twitter?
by Joanne Troppello
Are you having a party every day on Twitter? If not, you could be—you just need to take the first steps and have fun along the way. I’ve been on Twitter since March of 2010. I used TweetAdder, which is an automated system for following people and posting automated tweets. In the last six months, I have become more engaged on Twitter and stopped using the automated systems because that is no longer permitted on this social platform.
Engage with Followers
I’ve learned that one of the best things you can do is to engage your followers in conversation. If you want to have an, it’s all about me fest then talk about yourself—which, if you’re a celebrity, that will work for you and people will still follow you.
However, if you are an author who is trying to brand your name and promote your books—yet still remain grounded in reality—trying to get others to follow you—will entail giving them a reason to.
What’s one of those reasons: being yourself and making an effort to be real as you engage with people. Of course, you want to post status updates and sometimes quotes or links to your books, but you also need to ask questions at times to start conversations with others. People want to connect with others and if you can be engaging, then do it. You’ll have many interactions with others on your twitter page.
Appreciate Your Followers
People like to be appreciated, don’t you? In the beginning of building your platform on Twitter, this will be easier than when you get many new followers each day—but it’s good to acknowledge new followers. You can thank them by listing individual usernames or just every now and then giving a shout out to new follows in general.
Either way, it cultivates appreciation all around. When someone retweets one of my tweets or mentions me or one of my blog links, I do my best to thank them for it. Courteous behavior goes a long way towards creating a good atmosphere for everyone.
Respond to Messages
It’s important to respond to people’s messages to you. Of course, you need to block or report any messages that need to be blocked. Certainly, if you have a million followers and you get tons and tons of direct messages a day, you most likely won’t be able to keep up with it all.
However, as a non-celebrity, you’ll probably have more success in responding to said messages. It shows people that you care and respect them enough to take time out to respond. Obviously, you don’t need to respond to auto messages sent out after you follow someone. I’m talking about an actual message from someone who is looking for an answer.
Know who your friends are and support them. Of course, you should be nice to everyone, but it pays off in the long run that when you help other authors, most of them will help you in return. Get connected to other authors, writers, bloggers, or people in your field.
For example, just today, I stopped by one of my author friend’s online interview links and commented. Then I also tweeted about it. It got picked up by someone’s online daily paper and she got added exposure. True, my twitter profile link showed up and I got exposure with that—but that was not why I did it. I had no idea the tweet was going to get picked up. I simply wanted to help my friend out. She’s helped me many times with free exposure and we (and all my other author friends) actually enjoy helping each other out.
It’s a dog eat dog world out there, but it doesn’t have to be. I can’t change the circumstances that authors are in, but I can change my actions and learn to work well with others. Believe me, networking well has definitely given many rewards.
Make your own following policy. Follow people back, if you can. In my mind, I’ve set a limit to how many people I will follow. I like to be methodical in whom I follow and why. But that’s how I operate not necessarily how you need to operate.
I have classified people into different private lists on Twitter so that makes things easier with the more people I follow. However, I do hang out on Twitter during the day and like to peruse the tweets in the newsfeed and know what I can and cannot handle in terms of amount of information.
That being said, I am trying to build up my follow list with what interests me (i.e., political pundits, actors, authors etc.)—but I am making it a rule, that until I reach my limit [which I won’t disclose here…hey, a girl’s got to have some secrets, right!!], I will follow back those who follow me.
So, this is an issue that you need to work out yourself, but I will say that I’ve finally reached over 12,400 followers and that started only after I cleaned up my list and started following some people back. Before I did that, I was gaining followers and losing the same amount and kind of stagnant, not gaining momentum.
The Golden Rule
Follow the Golden Rule and stay courteous at all costs. Now, this is not a religious conversation. This is a civil one.
In today’s society, I feel that we’ve grown more callous and impolite with each passing day. Now, I’m not old, but not a young chick either—again, I’m not disclosing my age!
I remember years ago when I was younger, that more people followed the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Play fair and don’t push each other around. If you wouldn’t want someone to be rude to you, then don’t be rude to them.
I must say that the online medium does tend to give some people more courage to be mean—writing things that they wouldn’t as easily actually say to someone’s face. So always be mindful of other’s feelings and be nice. I don’t tolerate discourteous behavior in my Twitter world, and I don’t tolerate spammers either—you will be blocked.
Create Quality Content
Good content is vital to success. People follow leaders not followers. Are you a leader? Are you giving people a reason to come back to hear what you have to say or are you only giving them a hard sell to buy your book? The latter won’t work in giving you a loyal following.
I have never liked pushy salesmen, what about you? I like to take my time, figure out what I want to buy, and then go to the salesman when I’m ready to check out or by that big purchase.
True, it does take about seven times for someone to hear about your product or book, in this case, before they buy it—of course, there are exceptions to this rule. That being said, you will want to tweet the link to your book or for your book trailers and interviews etc. However, you want to live by the 80/20 rule. Have mostly conversational and engaging tweets about life, giving content people need and asking questions; rather than selling your books.
I know I can’t stand when authors are tweeting all day long about their books. I want to follow authors who have something valuable to offer—like information on marketing, encouragement to other authors, networking opportunities and just friendly conversation. What about you?
Never give up when the going gets tough. Believe me, I know how tough marketing your books can be. I have three books published and am working on the edits for my fourth book.
However, it’s my dream to continue writing and hopefully someday soon to make a really good living at it. Sometimes it seems unrealistic to rise to the top amongst hundreds of thousands of wonderful authors—but I want to try and am persisting in making it work.
When you get down and out, that’s really when you need to find your friends, the ones who know how much you love to write—and will encourage you to keep going and not give up. If writing is your passion, keep on going because you’ll only regret it if you give up—who knows if you could’ve become the next best-selling author!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue and let me know where your Twitter party is. I’d love to come and hang out with you!
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel.
She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, internet and media, travel and lifestyle, website content, app recommendations, and content for blogs.