The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media: Twitter part 2 9

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TwitterGrowing your Twitter Network by Rebecca Byfield


Welcome to week 2 of The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media: Twitter.


If you missed part 1, check it out here.


There was such a positive response to last week’s blog that it is obvious many of you are floundering it the Twitterverse, wondering what to do next.


Hopefully you have your head around the basics now. You know what a follower is and how to follow people. You know what tweets and retweets are. You should also know how to mention someone on Twitter, how to direct message them (and when not to DM) and what the basic function of hashtags are.


If you were good students, you would have spent the week practicing your newfound Twitter skills.


So what next? I’ll apologize in advance, as there is quite a lot of content this week. I’ve tried to break it up into bite size chunks. Feel free to bookmark it and read at your own pace. And as always, please feel free to pass it on to other people.



Why do you want more followers?
Well, Twitter is a little like a schoolyard clique. The more popular you are, the more people want to hang out with you and follow you around. The more people follow you around, the more they retweet your tweets and spread the word about you. The more people hear about you, the more people discover your work. The more people discover your work, the more sales you generate and the more money you make.


Simple, huh?


So how do you become one of the popular kids?


It’s not as hard as it seems. You follow people and hopefully, they follow back.


In the Twitter-verse, anything less than 1,000 followers is considered small. From 1,000 – 10,000, you’re not quite one of the Cool Kids, but they occasionally let you hang out with them.


Once you break 10,000, you’ll find followers flock to you.


Like school, the more friends you have (or in this case, followers), the more people want to hang out with you.


Juvenile – sure. But that’s the way it all works. Look at the mega-popular kids. The real celebrities.


The biggest hitters on Twitter are:

1. Justin Bieber with 46 million + followers

2. Katy Perry with 46 million + followers

3. Lady Gaga with 40 million + followers

4. Barack Obama with 39 million + followers


Now slow down. I’m not suggesting you will knock Bieber or Gaga off their Twitter Thrones but by following a few hints and suggestions, you will see your follower numbers grow.


Last week, I touched a little on following like minded people.


Let’s assume you added some people and they have all followed you back. Your Twitter numbers are growing but it’s done nothing for your sales.


There could be a couple of reasons for this.

1. Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not a mini billboard for you to broadcast your sales offers. The quickest way to turn off potential followers is to continually bombard them with sales tweets. Twitter is about interaction but we’ll talk more on this later.

2. While you will get some great advice off fellow writers, they’re probably not your target market anyway. Take authors for example. If they are anything like me, they’re too busy – or too poor – to buy your book. They might retweet your posts. They might even like your book page for you. But part with their hard-earned money… Not likely.


So why add writers if they’re not going to make you any money?


Simple. It’s a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ scenario. It’s a symbiotic partnership – you’re part of the Write Force, following each other and helping to drag each other out of the Geek Squad into the Too Cool for School group.

So how do you grow your Twitter community beyond writers?


How do you target readers?


If you’re an author, how do you find people who will actually buy your book?




Go to your Discover tab on Twitter and try your hand at searching for people who would actually buy your product.


Well, going back to the author example, they could search for book clubs and book reviewers. Both are reader-centric and put you in touch with people who are searching out good books.


But here’s a tip. Don’t just follow them – check out their followers too. Why? Because chances are, if they’ve followed a book club or a book reviewer, they’re interested in books.


Next, find your favourite authors on Twitter, or authors whose books closely resemble yours. Then follow the people who are following them (you know they like the genre). Do this by clicking on the follow list on their profile page. If they are high profile authors, don’t expect a follow back. Most won’t bother. But you can definitely source potential readers through them.


Take this method one step further. Say you’ve written a new paranormal series. Find a television show with a similar audience. Check out the people who follow these shows. Follow them.


Simple, huh?


Again, you don’t want to just follow these people and then bombard them with sales pitches. You want to have intelligent, meaningful interactions with them about things they’re interested in.


Say for example, you follow some people who love The Vampire Diaries. Don’t continuously tell them about your vampire book. Join in conversations about the show. Chat about the actors. Try taking part in live discussions during the show with the hashtag.


While you can mix this up a bit, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) you’ll find erotica fans on a Harry Potter fan site.


Don’t limit it to just your books either. If you enjoy watching Survivor on TV, check out the #Survivor discussion groups and get chatting to other fans. You can follow people this way or just reply to their posts, and let them follow you if they think you’re someone interesting.


I’m sure you get the picture. The sky is definitely the limit.


I’ve found some of my most interactive followers by participating in threads that had nothing to do with my books.


For instance, football threads when watching games live on TV, current affair threads while watching things like 60 Minutes. Or chatting to other fans of reality TV shows like The X Factor and The Voice.


The brilliant thing with these threads is they are often real time, i.e., the people are online, tweeting at exactly the same time you are and are far more likely to respond immediately – and hopefully, follow immediately.


Don’t forget to switch the search field to People, not Tweets (in the top left hand corner if using Twitter on a PC. On the bottom of the screen if using Twitter on an iPhone).


Don’t forget the non-Twitter way of getting followers too.


Make it easy for people to follow you. Make sure you list your Twitter address everywhere you can. In your email signature, on your website, on your Goodreads profile, on Facebook, on your blogs, on your business cards, on the back cover of your book…


Make sure everytime someone looks at your work, they know how to find you on Twitter (and everywhere else).


If you have anything else you would like me to cover, put it in the comments and I’ll try to fit it in.


Don’t forget – if you don’t already follow me on Twitter, I’d love to add you to my Twitter Party. I try to keep it fun and interesting for everyone.

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Rebecca Byfield

About Rebecca Byfield

Rebecca Byfield is Editor-in-Chief of The Writers' Shack and its associated blogs. She has more than 15 years' experience in journalism and communications. She writes fiction under her alter ego, Riley Banks. Rebecca is available for freelance assignments. For more information, go to Also, check out our Pens for Hire page for a list of freelance writers, editors, translators and more -

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