An author's guide to using Twitter

Even though Twitter has been around since 2006 it can still be be baffling to a lot of people.

“What can I say in 140 characters?”

“Do people actually read this?”

“Why do so many people think pictures of their food is interesting?” (ok, that one is mine.)

But the truth is that Twitter can be very powerful in building your following and connecting directly with your community. It is the most filter-free mass communication tool available. There are no editors. There are no public relations. Just your words sent directly to your audience.

It is the easiest digital means of having direct contact with your fans.

But how does this help you?

Before we get into the specific advice, it’s helpful to keep a few social media guidelines in mind:

  • Your top priority is helping your followers. Whether it’s news, knowledge, or laughter, your goal should be adding something valuable to your followers’ lives.
  • Respect your followers’ time. Skip the mundane. Tweeting that you’re eating a burrito is alright if your followers are family and friends. But if you’re trying to build a large following of fans, make sure you respect their time and only post updates that are worthwhile (as stated above).
  • Interact with people. You don’t have to reply to everyone that replies to you, but make sure you’re regularly communicating with people that speak to you. There’s nothing more exhilarating on Twitter than when somebody you’re a fan of replies to you. It will build a much stronger bond with your followers.

Now that we’ve got some general guidelines in place, let’s look at our goals with Twitter.

What is the point of an author getting involved and staying active on this platform? Here are a few things you want to accomplish:

  • Establish your credibility and authority
  • Build a community of fans
  • Funnel people to more parts of your online platform (blog, newsletter, etc)

With these goals in mind, how do we accomplish them?

  • Post links to articles that are the subject material as your book. This accomplishes two things. First, it provides interesting and relevant information to your followers. Second, it shows that you are regularly keeping up with new research and findings on your subject material which further establishes your authority.
  • Post snippets of thoughts you have while researching or writing. Everybody loves previews and outtakes. By updating your audience on projects that aren’t released yet you’re giving them a sneak peak into what you’ll be releasing and also what your thought process is while in the process.
  • Retweet relevant tweets. If one of your followers or another expert posts something on Twitter that is interesting or helpful in your area of expertise, post it for all of your followers to see. This accomplishes the same things as mentioned above.
  • Post links to your own content. Whenever you add a new blog post or have an article published online, let your community know. Self promotion is okay when you’re helping your readers (sharing information) and when it’s balanced by other content.

By following these guidelines you’ll quickly start building a following that view you as an expert in your field and readily share your content.

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