Today’s guest blog post is by thriller author and tweeter-extraordinaire Claude Bouchard. Twitter is a writer’s billboard to the world, and Claude talks about his method of growing his followers and reach on Twitter, something that all writers in this social-marketing-madness world can benefit from!
I wasn’t planning to write this post. It more came to be as a matter of chance. It all started a few days ago when author, editor and blogger, C.S. Lakin (@cslakin and @livewritethrive on Twitter), contacted me via my website to ask, “How did you get so many followers?” As I’d done in the past with a few others who asked, I emailed C.S. and explained my process. In response she came back, suggesting this should be a blog post and even offered to put my email into blog format, leaving me with only whatever fine tuning I desired. I said, “Cool,” she said, “Here you go,” and voilà, here it is, I’m coming clean about my Twitter success.
When I joined Twitter in August 2009, I went with the simple logic that the more followers I had, the more people would learn about the thrillers I wrote. With that in mind, I got busy with an easy process requiring little account management time which I’ll now share with you. The basic plan was to follow people, some of whom would follow back. Those who didn’t, I would unfollow. All I did was repeat this process over and over again. It obviously works because I now have almost 250,000 followers.
Why would anyone want so many unknown followers? Does it make a difference? I’ve found that it does. Sure, I don’t know most of them, and they don’t know me. But many of them are readers, and with having that many followers, odds are some of them like to read thrillers. Numbers play a big part in exposure on Twitter. If 1% of my followers actually read thrillers and like to hear about new books in that genre, then I have a potential of 2,500 new fans that I wouldn’t have reached had they not been following my posts.
Getting Past the Twitter Barricade
If you’re like many, you’re currently stuck at that pesky 2,001 spot. Twitter lets a tweeter follow up to 2,001 accounts without any problems. Past that, the 10% rule applies, which means the number of accounts you follow can’t exceed your follower total by more than 10%. This leaves you faced with two choices—wait until enough people follow you (don’t hold your breath unless you suddenly become a superstar) or unfollow those who weren’t smart enough to follow back, thus making room to follow others who might. The easiest way to do this is with http://www.justunfollow.com and I suggest you splurge the $9.99/year for the premium service. This site will find all tweeters you follow who aren’t following you back and will list them with the oldest non-follower first. Once you’ve cleaned out non-followers, you’ll have room to follow other prospects, which you can do from the same site with the “Copy Followers” function. There, you enter the Twitter name (without the @) of an account you’d like to follow off of and, bingo, the system generates a list of that account’s more active followers.
Who to Choose?
I follow off of a variety of active accounts, some writing related, others not, just to get a mix of followers. Not everyone writes but many people are going to be interested in what you tweet about—whether you are a writer, artist, dancer, etc. You probably know some more active accounts already, but if you want to find more such accounts, go to http://tweet.grader.com and check out “Twitter Elite—Top Users,” which will give you the current top accounts on Twitter.
A Simple Ten-Minute-a-Day Plan
To illustrate, this is what I do:
• Daily, I follow 500 accounts from various other accounts. Twitter allows 1,000 follows a day (not always accurate), so I leave room to follow back people who follow me first.
• Once that’s done, I check my non-followers and unfollow enough to bring my total non-followers down to around 1,000 (i.e. the 500 I just followed plus the 500 I followed the previous day).
• I repeat this process every day, which takes me roughly 10-15 minutes, max.
I’ve never fully trusted auto-tweeter apps and would hate to have one go nuts on me and turn me into a suspended account spammer, so I don’t use them except for the free version of Social-Oomph, which I use strictly for welcome DMs to new followers (which generally works fine) and to auto-follow those who follow me (which seems to work sporadically). I also have all seven of my novels up on Freado, which sends one auto-scheduled BookBuzzr tweet per book daily.
Does This Really Help?
Has all this helped? I’d say yes, as Twitter is definitely my main promotion platform. Through Twitter, I’ve sold books, but more importantly, I’ve developed relationships with others, which has resulted in various cross-promo activities. But here’s the big one-with over 245,000 followers, my reach is nothing to sneer at and when I did my recent Vigilante giveaway promotion, it allowed me to give out 25,617 copies. As a result, Vigilante spent most of the three days on the Top 20 Free Kindle page, reaching a high of #9 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K.
A Final Word of Advice
One last point I can make about Twitter is the importance of not just promoting your books, music, website, blog or whatever you’re trying to pimp but also promoting others AND actually chatting with people. Many are amazed when they send me a tweet and I reply but why shouldn’t I? I like it when folks respond to my tweets and my followers deserve nothing less. Chatting with people, making jokes, helping others is all part of Twitter success and I can confirm it’s a definite rep-builder. FYI, with this many followers, my Twitter home is my Mentions page, so anything with @ceebee308 in it, I generally see (though even just my Mentions page CAN get busy at times). Remember, it’s not just about numbers and lots of them. This is a social media tool, and if you are an artist striving to build true fans, you want to be present and interact with them. Show them the appreciation they deserve for retweeting your posts or sending you a message. You’ll find a universe of new fans and friends out there if you do.
Claude Bouchard is the author of numerous suspense/thriller books including Vigilante, The Consultant, and Mind Games. Besides writing, editing and promoting his work, he also spends some artistic energy with his five guitars, and his oil paints and watercolors. Other passions include cooking, reading, traveling, and working out just enough to stay fit. It should also be noted that following several years of practice, he now excels at being cat furniture for Krystalle and Midnight, or so they tell him. He hails from Canada. Check out Claude Bouchard’s website here.
And you can see all of his books and learn more about him at his Amazon Author Page.