Tips for Providing Content and Thoughts on Interacting with your Twitter Followers

If you’re doing what you know you should be doing, then you have a website or blog which you update at least once or twice a week. The bad news is that writing quality content takes time. The good news it you can use the content you write for all sorts of things. The video below shows how to take the RSS feed from your site (if you’re using a blog, your site will have RSS) and automatically send it out on your Twitter feed using twitterfeed.com.

Now that we’ve talked about the methodology to employ to acquire high quality followers and tools to use to help you accomplish your twitter goals faster, it’s time to talk about what to do with all of the twitter followers you’re getting. Long story short, build a relationship with them.

The thing a lot of business in general and authors in particular forget is the “social” in social media. They treat their websites, Twitter and Facebook pages like traditional media. They blast out the messages they want to distribute at regular intervals and then come up with their next message. That dynamic misses the entire point of social media. The social media format is designed for a back and forth dialogue between you and those that follow you. I know that these types of relationships take time and energy, but these are would-be members of the fan base you’re trying to build. If you’re not going to build a relationship with these people, who are you going to build one with?

A lot of authors dialogue with their fans goes something like this:

Booklover14: I have a horrible headache 🙁
Author48: Buy my book, that may help!!

This example is obviously tongue in cheek, but not too far off what I’ve seen on Twitter. Opportunities to show interest in the lives of their fans go wasted while every opportunity to pitch their book gets pounced upon. The worst part is, sometimes the same people that act like this make it big. It happens. Sometimes someone writes one book and gets a big publishing contract. It happens. As frustrating as that can be for someone who has been grinding toward their goal of being an author for years without much success, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should copy them. We have a saying in the guerrillawordfare.com household that gets used quite often: “They’re buying a lottery ticket.” It’s not a flattering term.

Basically, it means that they’re sitting around waiting for that big break. They write a book and put it on Amazon, just like 100,000s of other people. They start a blog, just like 100,000s of other people. They sign up for Twitter and Facebook and post every time something cool happens with their books, just like 100,000s of other people. Then they sit around and wait for a “big break” the same way someone waits for their winning lottery numbers to be called. If you have real talent, you may want a big break but you might not need it. Here is a little snippet from a post on JA Konrath’s blog a few weeks ago:

“As long as websites like Amazon make browsing easy, the cream has the potential to rise to the top. You don’t have to be a monster bestseller. A hardcore niche group of 10,000 fans can support a writer quite easily. Write two ebooks per year at $2.99, and three shorts at 99 cents, and you’re making $50k a year.

But eBooks don’t stop selling after a year. They sell forever. And good books will eventually find more than just 10,000 readers. And every new book you write will find new readers along with old fans.”

That math should give you hope, since those are attainable goals. You cannot afford to let chance decide your fate as an author; you have to try to seize it yourself. If acquiring 10,000 fans is what you need to be financially successful as an author then acquiring them should be your #2 priority (writing good books will always be #1). Taking the time to build relationships which help you reach your goals is a small price to pay.

7 thoughts on “Tips for Providing Content and Thoughts on Interacting with your Twitter Followers

  1. This is probably for me the HARDEST thing to do. I’m not by nature a “social” person. Those who know me understand my silence or one word replies is just me, they understand my bizarre off the wall humor however that doesn’t translate so well to email/twitter/FB because they don’t “know” me. So yea this is definitely something I know I have to work on, but something I keep putting off starting on.

  2. Great series of posts. Really great. Where were you when I started tweeting???

    The problem I have with Twitter is too many people are making the mistake you cite here: promo, promo, promo. Might as well be a robot. I do program a some promo in Tweetdeck to post once a week, but mostly I’m working to come up with something to say that has nothing to do with my books b/c that seems to be the key to connection.

    I do take the time to find Tweets I can make a personal response to and I retweet as much as I can.

    The thing is, the way I do it is the minority. Everyone else is promo promo promo with blinders on. Its like talking to a wall.

    Do you have a series on Facebook? I’m utterly lost over there.

    M

  3. Great point. Some people just do not “get” social media. I would be glad to provide you with a list of potential clients, if you are charging for lessons! This promo has provided me with a real opportunity to experiment & observe what works & doesn’t work for authors. There are a lot more lottery tickets out there than I realized a month ago. Sadly, I’m sure most of these peeps are real sweethearts when you get to know them–you just can’t/don’t want to get involved w/ what they’re unwittingly selling. Like a friend once advised me, “Some people are just one-way streets.”

    • Thanks! I may take you up on that one of these years but for right now it’s all free all the time 🙂

      A lot of writers are really great people and almost all of them are really desperate to fulfill their life-long dream of being a full time writer. The internet is full of people trying capitalize on this and separate indie authors from their money.

      Lizzy has always wanted to be a writer but the reason she wanted to make a web page was to help other indie authors by providing a community where they could share best practices and their experiences. It would be rather hypocritical to call on others to share their experiences if we closely guarded ours or tried to sell them for $39.95.

      And it sounds like you have a friend who gives sound advice. Those are worth their weight in gold!

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