Updated: Mar 2, 2020
(This article originally appeared on Medium)
Depending on who you ask, Twitter can be a fun-filled community of writers or a vast and overwhelming virtual jungle with too many people screaming into the abyss. I mean, neither version is entirely false. What is true is that Twitter can be a really useful place to build an audience, a community, a tribe—whatever you want to call it. And if you have work to promote and sell, you need people to know who you are. It’s as simple as that.
Here are five Twitter marketing tips for writers (and other artists).
1. Find the right amount of promotion
There seems to be a mix of strategies from writers about promoting their work (on Twitter and beyond). Some writers promote so much that it becomes obtrusive and annoying, while others don’t promote enough at all. There has to be a balance and that balance isn’t 50/50.
Have you heard the Pareto Principle before? If not, pick up any book on productivity or marketing and you’ll find a reference to it, and for good reason. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule, essentially says, “80% of results will come from just 20% of the action.” Read more about this “rule” and consider how this can work for you on social media sites like Twitter. At the most basic level, some might say that 20% of your tweets should be focused on promoting your work and 80% should be everything else.
2. Aim for high engagement instead of stressing about numbers of followers
It can be tempting to focus on your number of followers on Twitter, but follower numbers only matters to a certain extent. Yes, you need a certain number of followers to be “seen” on the site, but it doesn’t always help to have thousands of followers if none of them engage with you. It is much better, from a sales perspective, to have 500 (to pick a random number) followers who engage, like your tweets, and get to know you.
When someone responds to your tweets, respond back. Conversations are a good thing when building community. Remember that you do not have to follow back everyone who follows you.
3. Link to your website, etc.
The easiest way to promote your work is to make sure there’s a link in your bio. This seems like a simple step, but if it isn’t there, how can anyone find you? A link to your bio or your online store or your online work is essential. And yes, people do click on those links. A link by itself may not be enough to promote your work, but it is a start.
4. Mix up your content
This goes back to the 80/20 rule. If you are promoting your work 20% of the time, what else are you tweeting and retweeting about? You can create polls, share personal stories, and ask questions to showcase your personality and make Twitter friends.
If it helps, think about the purpose of each tweet. The purpose might be any of the following:
Offer help or “serve” others
Share interesting and relevant content
Invite others to respond
5. Take your time
It takes time to build community on Twitter. Rushing into social media sites if you are uncomfortable with sharing and promoting, or unaware how the site works, can be a shock to the system. Many people are turned off at first when they feel ignored on Twitter. But if you are committed to learning how Twitter works and finding readers for your work, it is worth the effort.
One last thing: I know many writers and artists don’t want to think about marketing and branding, but it is interesting stuff. Listen to podcasts, visit blogs, and read books to learn more about how and why marketing works for others. You may be surprised to learn a few new techniques that help modify how you use social media.
If you're on Twitter, I'd love to continue the conversation. Find me at https://twitter.com/Penny_Zang.
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