New To Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I read John Locke’s book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks In 5 Months. It really motivated me to redouble my efforts with my first novel.

One of the ideas he had, which I have not ever done much with, is to send targeted tweets about a blog post. As a rule, I have a one tweet policy, when it comes to my blog.  I write the post, hit publish, then tweet that it is up.

The idea is simple, find a #hashtag, which would likely be used by one’s target audience, then keep an eye on it.  Since I had a blog post about Locke’s book, which was I was proud of, I decide to do a search on his Twitter name, @DonovanCreed.  As I suspected, there were a lot of people sending @ (read AT) replies to his twitter account, telling him they had read his new book.

June 22 I posted the review and it has received many more views and comments than any since or any within the previous two months.  I could go into a lot of details, but I don’t think I will.  The bottom line is that 64 people received an unsolicited tweet, nearly half of them responded to me through twitter.  There wasn’t a single complaint.  I got over 30 new followers too.  Most of those people were fairly new to Twitter, some with less than 20 followers.  They were motivated, as I was, by the book , and decided to check out this crazy social media platform.

I thought it would be nice to do a brief list of Twitter ideas for building a strong following.

There is one Golden Rule for Twitter.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Okay, that is just the Golden Rule, for everything, but the point is it works.  Twitter is hard work, but so is life.  The goal for every new Twitter person is to get followers.  Somewhere along the line, one realizes it is to make friends.  The sooner one comes to that realization, the better their experience will be.

The problem is, it takes time to get to know someone. It isn’t rocket science, nor is it any different than meeting someone at a cocktail party, one has a conversation.  Often it is about bacon.  (Not a joke, I have found that the really cool people on Twitter, love to talk bacon.)  Or maybe it is sharing golf scores.  What friend building isn’t, is a organized, mass produced, militant effort.

The focus of this post was to be the new writers, who were inspired by Locke’s book, but don’t really know how to move forward with the Twitter aspect.  So here is a suggestion.  Learn what a #hashtag is for…or I could just tell you.

#Hashtag:  The pound sign #, which is included before a word, to create a tag.  #amwriting #pubwrite #writing are three often used by writers.  By including a tag, one is able to do a search to find other writers.  They have been around a while and know to include it in some of their tweets, usually the ones relating to writing stuff.  That is how you find your new writing friends.

Once you see a few, read their bio.  If they look nice, you might consider following them.  How does one tell if they are a good person to follow?

That is a good question, I’m glad I asked…There are far more people on Twitter who are in a hurry to get rich, than those who see the long term value of building community.  They are easily spotted by using a little math.  (Seriously…I know, you’re a writer, you hate math…you need to suck it up this one time)

On their bio are three numbers:  Followers, Following, and Listed.  Use these to get a feel for the person behind the avatar.

The simplest method to get lots and lots of, mostly useless and uninteresting followers, is to simply follow lots of people.  The idea is that if they see you followed them, they will follow back.  It works, I have done it myself.  I do it slightly differently than most though.  I follow people who I want to follow, because they are interesting.  I don’t care if they ever follow me back.  I have a little over 1600 followers, of which, I met about 300 of them because I followed them and they followed back.  Of course, I follow over 1500 people.  There are easily 200 people, who I follow, who do not follow me.  I still like their tweets and even have conversations with them.  Some of these people probably don’t realize they aren’t following me.  I don’t unfollow them, because they didn’t follow back, because I chose them for good reason.

Most people believe that if someone doesn’t follow them back, then there isn’t any point. They will fail at Twitter, because they are already too focused on how their followers can help them, not on building community. It must be about the other person, for one to succeed.  Or at least, this is what I believe.

I’m getting a little preachy and I’m sorry.  It is just that quality is hard to achieve, especially when quantity is such an easy path to take.

  1. So consider this, if you see a person who is following 1000 people, but only has 200 followers, what do you think they are doing?  Are they quality or quantity? (Hint:  They are usually malodorous, have 3 Dunkin Donut punch cards in their wallet, and ‘rent’ a space in their mother’s basement…and sell Amway on the side)  Don’t let the number of people you follow exceed 1.5 times the number of people who are following you.  It is a sign of a person who doesn’t get it.  It isn’t the only sign.  (Note:  At the start, when under 50 followers, it isn’t as important to worry about the 1.5 rule)
  2. This post is getting long….so just do this stuff…

    1. Get Tweetdeck or Hootsuite NOW!
    2. Tweet your own promotional stuff less than 5% of the time
    3. Tweet daily
    4. RT daily
    5. If you want to talk with someone, hit reply and ask a question.
    6. Don’t follow tons of famous people
    7. Divide the number of Listed by Followers and avoid people under 5%
    8. Try mentioning #bacon once per day
    9. Follow Guinea Pigs, Cats and Dogs (Trust me)
    10. Check that new person who followed you, read their blog, leave a comment, then tweet.
    11. Don’t ALWAYS tweet links.  Sometimes a simple comment is best, it encourages engagement
    12. Ask questions of people like me.  Seriously, tweet me a question or leave a comment.

In closing, John Locke’s book is a real eye opener.  I’m thrilled to see a bunch of new authors giving Twitter a chance.  If I had to suggest one of the points to remember, I would say point L, just ask.  When I started on Twitter 4 years ago, I got help from those who were there before me, and I am still asking questions.


Great post. I forget hashtags all too often. Listed by followers also interesting, and until recently I didn't realize the importance people give to the lists.


Hey, thanks for this post. I think the biggest lesson I've learned about social media is that it takes time, a lot of time. When I spend a lot of time on Twitter, I get a lot of new followers. Same for blogging, Facebook, etc. But the key is to be smart, so you get the biggest bang for your hour. My big Twitter weakness is I always forget to use hashtags, even though I have a ton memorized. I just forget. It sounds like you, by the way, @ replied those 64 people above who had @ replied John Locke? Is that how you got the 30 new followers?


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