If you are looking to develop your Twitter readership, the first thing to do is develop a focus, rather than just an existence. What is your focus going to be? What is your goal in using Twitter? If it’s just to complain about your life, or keep inside jokes going with your friends, you may not need to read further. But, if you are, per se, an aspiring novelist hoping to have your first work published, you’re going to want to follow the next 5 steps to grow a readership on Twitter.
1. Follow Your Dreams – Of Mice and Men
Follow 3 new people per day who are influential in your field. I’m not saying you can’t follow your favorite athlete or celebrity, but there are plenty of influential professionals worth following, and learning from! If you are into news, or want to be a journalist, follow @andersoncooper. If you are a Marketing major, check out @KarenDellCMO. One of the best things about Twitter is that you can get inside your mentor, or hero’s, head. Take the opportunity!
“That ranch we’re goin’ to is right down there about a quarter mile. We’re gonna go in an’ see the boss.” – George, Of Mice and Men
If you don’t have many names in mind, a quick Google search for “[authors] to follow on twitter” returns a long list of suggestions. But, remember that quality is greater than quantity when it comes to following. It is recommended to follow less people than you have followers.
Be picky, don’t follow just anyone – look at their followers. They may appear to be an expert, but do the experts follow them? Some investigative work will leave you with a strong list of followers who pertain to your focus.
2. Win Their Love –The Great Gatsby
Having difficulty getting a conversation going? Typically, you won’t see ‘invitations’ to be a part of your niche. It is going to take outreach on your part to break the ice.
“…The first night I went to Gatsby’s house, I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited—they went there.” – Gatsby, The Great Gatsby
First, search for Twitter # tags relevant to your industry or focus. When you see valuable content, take a look at the user’s profile and followers. If you hope to start a conversation, Google the person’s name and dig deeper. Read articles about them, peruse their website or blog, and take note of things about them that you can bring up. If you love their photography, make that your reference. “I love your hummingbird photo and just had to find you on Twitter!”
Another reference point could be location. If you’ve visited their home town, why not bring it up? Everyone enjoys flattery, and it’s easy to do. Get involved in #FF (Friday Follows). This is how you can give something back to your influencers. Let your followers know they’re a great resource and that everyone should follow them. Following is the highest form of Twitter flattery.
Remember Twitter Manners 101—reply to all of your direct messages and re-tweets! In the beginning this will be pretty easy, but as you grow your readership, you’ll want to narrow it down to the most relevant ones. And always, always, always say ‘thank you’. Give shout outs of praise to your influencers!
3. Be Idealistic but Practical – Don Quixote
We can’t all become influential Twitter users overnight, but we can learn from the best – what are the most influential users tweeting? How often do they tweet? Notice their focus, their point of view, their brand. How do they stick to it? How can they make a recent movie they watched relate back to their niche?
Growing readership is a process, just like it is for any publication. There are 100 million global active Twitter users and 460,000 people sign up for Twitter accounts each day, making it near impossible to simply stand out simply based on your content. So, find your niche and stick to it!
“I know who I am, and I know that I am perfectly capable of being whom I choose to be.” – Don Quixote
4. Don’t Be a Complete Conformist – The Stranger
Join in on Twitter trends, but only if it pertains to your focus. Think of yourself as a ‘brand’. As a songwriter, if the songs you write don’t relate to David Beckham, your David Beckham “trend tweet” will become just another drop in the ocean.
If you find an article that would help out your readership, or you’ve discovered a new type of fruit, tweet about it! Start to become a leader rather than just a follower. If you’ve successfully found your focus and niche, think highly of yourself. Be an industry expert and publish the information your readership wants to hear about.
“I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn’t see any reason to change my life.” – Meursault, The Stranger
5. Be Yourself –1984
Finally, don’t be self-conscious. No one is watching your every move. The beautiful thing about social media is the ability to show off your personality. So, create # tags that are unique to you, and throw in a bit of personal flair. Show your audience your personality!
When you develop your focus, it never hurts to go back in time and review what you’ve done. Twitter can be your own personal journal as well. Go back in time and view your progress. Like the Party’s mantra in 1984,
“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” – 1984
Upon developing a readership, you have the opportunity to move into the realm of ‘influencers’. So, get creative. If you’re truly interested in becoming an author, show your audience not only that you read books, but that you have a unique point of view and you follow authors and publishers. If you’re about to graduate from college and have aspirations to become a filmmaker, display that – only with a spin. You have your own unlimited publishing mechanism to show the world exactly who you are – now go get some readers!