5 Key Things I’ve Learned on my Journey to 5,000 Twitter Followers.

90 days ago, I had 26 Twitter followers. Today, I hit 5,000 followers.

Growing my Twitter presence has been a wild ride, and today I’d like to share five key things I’ve learned on my social media journey as a self-published author.

When I started out on Twitter, my content was generally seen by 50 people per day, and around 1 or 2 of those people would engage with it. These days, I average around 2,000 views daily, with around 80 engagements, including favourites and retweets. But in order to get there, I had to learn and adapt.

Before you get into any of the following points, I’d recommend you go and sign up for Twitter Analytics. It’s free, and there’s no better tool to track your reach and interactions on Twitter. Once you’ve done that, read on:

1. Get on trend – use relevant hashtags.

Don’t just sit there harping away about your random thoughts. Tweets like “Man, I like my new T-Shirt” or “Thanks Obama” might seem pithy to you, but unless you’re someone like Owl City, no one is a) watching or b) interested.

If you want people to notice you, then you have to get in front of them. Hashtags provide this link, because people browse hashtages for information they want to see from people they don’t already follow. I know you probably don’t need a rundown on how hashtags work in general, but what I’d say is that you need to find relevant hashtags and use them. For writers, the key hashtags are #writing and #amwritingThis page has a bunch more. It’s also important to know what’s going on around you – for example, NaNoWriMo was in November, so I did a series of #writetip posts tagged with #NaNoWriMo, and they got great traction.

The bottom line is that if you don’t use hashtags, you won’t get out in front of your audience. It’s like you’re expecting people to find you in the darkness without a light. Hashtags give you visibility and allow you to connect with people who might not find you otherwise.

2. Don’t just plug your own stuff.

I’m talking to basically half of the self-published authors on Twitter. No, I don’t care that your book got heaps of 5 star reviews. No, for the seventeenth time today, I do NOT want to buy a BARGAIN 99c COPY of your latest eBook. And no, I do not care abou- ah, screw it. *unfollows*

Seriously, when I started following authors on Twitter, I was amazed at how my newsfeed turned into a spam-filled cesspit of desperation. After a while, I just started to block and unfollow authors who constantly urged me to buy their books. People don’t follow you to see your pleas for validation through sales, they want to connect with you. You know those popular Twitter accounts? They’re full of interesting information, articles, and (most importantly) interactions with a real person at the other end of the account.

3. Tweeting too much will really irritate people.

I’ll keep this one brief. If you take up half my newsfeed with constant retweets of anything and everything, I will unfollow you. It’s just straight up irritating. You severely damage your credibility by tweeting constantly, as well as cheapening your Twitter “brand”. You want people to look at your tweets and find lots of useful content that they’re keen to engage with, not just endless retweets and pointless rants.

4. Use images.

Images are gold in terms of increasing engagement. There are actual studies that have shown this, but I’ll just go on my experience. At first, I had no images in my tweets. But as soon as I started using them, I saw a huge uplift in clicks, favourites, and retweets. Simply put, images make your tweets more interesting, and people want to engage with interesting stuff. But a word of caution: Don’t use crappy, pixelated images covered in wordart. That’s not engaging, that’s tacky.

5. Have fun & interact with people.

I love interacting with people on Twitter! Whether it’s about writing, current events, or just talking things over, I’ve met heaps of cool people through tweeting. People want the opportunity to engage with you, so make yourself available! Just remember that it’s all public, and once you tweet something, it’s out there forever, even if you delete the tweet!

6. A reality check.

Yeah, I know I’m over my 5 points, but this is important: Success on Twitter won’t necessarily mean success in the ‘real’ world. You still need to be out there doing your thing. Don’t consume yourself with getting more followers and being popular online – live your life and aim for success there first. The rest will follow.

Well, there you have it. This certainly isn’t everything that I’ve learned, but I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. Otherwise, jump on Twitter and see how I’m getting on.

9 responses to “5 Key Things I’ve Learned on my Journey to 5,000 Twitter Followers.”

  1. tylowery says:

    Great tips. I’ve been avoiding Twitter, mostly due to an allergy to social media, but also because I don’t have the right ideas on how to go about using it to my advantage without breaking just about every one of these rules. Thanks for the helpful post.

    Quick question, though: Did you find your growth come directly as a result of creating better content, or did it take time to grow to your 5,000?

  2. […] week I wrote about 5 key things that I’ve learnt on my journey to 5,000 Twitter followers. In response to that post I received quite a few questions about how I actually got 5,000 […]

  3. […] This part… took quite a while. But now I have an audience that engages with me regularly, and people actually click on the links and photos I put out there! I find social media quite easy to navigate, but if you’re a bit daunted by it, check out my post on what I did here. […]

  4. Ok, just read this post and will try to engage with twitter a little more effectively (o:

  5. […] Potter series – something I can only hope to emulate. There were also practical posts about Twitter, self-publishing, and Amazon keywords. In total, I wrote 75 posts, which were read by over 7,500 […]

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