I’d like to welcome a special guest on the blog today — Michael Dinich, who runs Your Money Geek, and is here to share his expertise on growing an audience through Twitter.
Authors, get ready for a lesson on how you can reach more readers!
If you have spent even a minimal amount of time on social media, you’ve undoubtedly been pitched by some “guru” to make you a social media superstar. All you have to do is buy their course or eBook or hire them to run your account.
The new gold rush is the “make you famous” industry. Most of these experts lack a significant following and frequently the ones who do, all disagree on how to build an audience, and more importantly turn that following into leads and ultimately customers.
Today I’m sharing with you some tips, tricks, and hacks to grow and engage your audience, as well as some best practices to follow. But don’t worry, I’m won’t try selling you eBooks, courses or social media management.
My background? I’m a financial advisor (yawn, I know) and I am a huge geek. I am a serial side hustler who launched a blog in February 2018. It went from zero to over 50k monthly sessions in less than six months. I’ve landed interviews with celebrities and been quoted in major publications, all using Twitter.
Now, you might be thinking, “that’s great Michael, but I’m not a blogger.” Well, the tools to grow a Twitter following are the same regardless of the content you have to share. Plus, remember when I said I was a geek? My most successful blog post to date, is on the lessons of Grand Admiral Thrawn, so I’m not just some marketing guy, I’m a consumer and fan of fantasy /sci-fi.
How to Grow Your Audience with Twitter
First, to use Twitter successfully in promoting your product, you’ll need to invest both time and money. Software is required to best identify and grow your audience, and spending time daily managing your following is a worthy investment.
There are a few commercially available tools; I tested almost all of them, and my favorite is Tweepi.com. They offer a free version; however, if you are serious about growing an audience, you will want to upgrade to the premium service. Tweepi allows you to target followers and identify those likely to follow you back based on keywords you choose.
Tweepi will provide daily recommendations on who to follow, who to unfollow, and what posts you may like. I skip the recommendations of tweets to retweet, however, as the software often recommends old and irrelevant tweets.
I do recommend when choosing keywords, you pick those most relevant to your work, but you may also wish to select some related to any hobbies you have. You want your Twitter audience to be diverse. Many of your readers may be tweeting about interests outside of books, such as video games, tabletop gaming, or even business.
I see this mistake with personal finance bloggers. They tend to focus on Twitter users who are solely focused on personal finance. Then they are surprised when their Twitter following is comprised of just other personal finance bloggers.
Real users will be much more eclectic in their interests, so feel free to connect with a diverse group of people. Should those people turn out not to be interested in your content they will unfollow and move on.
Tip: I also recommend this approach when sending out tweets. If you’re only tweeting out your book content, then people will not find your content interesting. If you’re looking for an excellent example of someone nailing it on Twitter, check out Delilah Dawson, author of Phasma.
A word of caution: leave politics off your Twitter feed. If you need to be politically active, make a second account. Not only do you risk turning off people who disagree with you, but you also run the risk of turning away people who agree but are politicked out. The news runs in my office all day. When I want to geek out online, the last thing I want is politics from my favorite author.
Getting Your Content Out There
Next, I highly recommend the website/service Viral Content Bee. It’s is a free service based on a simple premise; users earn points by sharing the work of others, and the points you earn can then be spent to have your own content shared.
Viral Content Bee is an excellent tool for not only allowing your content to be shared by other users but also for the quality content it provides you to share. It also offers the opportunity to network with other content producers. (Read more on my in-depth review of Viral Content Bee.)
Viral Content Bee is effective for a few reasons.
- The points system is fair. Points earned or spent depend on the audience size of the person sharing the content. This prevents people with small followings from spending all the points you earned.
- Content is moderated, so you don’t have to worry about sharing subpar content from others.
- You can schedule sharing from within the website. If you are looking to build up points, you can log in once a day, add in the posts you want to share and queue up a day or two worth of tweets. Scheduling out the sharing of content prevents you from spamming your audience with numerous tweets at once.
- It’s not solely for Twitter. Content sharing on other networks is available. Using Viral Content Bee, you can focus your efforts on Twitter while ensuring others share your content on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook.
Tip: While Viral Content Bee is a great way to get your content shared on Pinterest, to be successful on Pinterest you need to make great pins. You can create these yourself on Canva using one of the available templates, hire a virtual assistant to do it for you, or hire someone through Fiverr.
To be most effective with Viral Content Bee it’s ideal to own a blog. Having a blog allows you to interact with your fans, increases the odds of being found on Google, and builds your brand. Blogs are inexpensive to set up and can serve as the basis for additional revenue via advertising or monetization of an email list.
If a blog is not feasible for one reason or another, I suggest reaching out to other bloggers to offer a guest post. Bloggers are always looking for additional content, and many would jump at the opportunity to host a short story or interview. (Especially with an offering to promote the post on social media.)
Tip: To get the best leverage out of Viral Content Bee, use it to diversify and expand your audience. For example, if you have a book don’t just add posts in entertainment. Consider other categories it may fall under, perhaps autos, technology, or even family. Not everyone on Twitter is one dimensional. Don’t be afraid to grow your reach.
If you use Tweepi and Content Viral Bee together, your audience will multiply rapidly. Don’t get discouraged as you are building your Twitter audience when gaining and losing followers. It happens. As your account grows you may even hit plateaus where progress seems to stall, but if you keep following your daily recommendations, you will begin building it again.
Twitter may take some work and dedication; however, the effort is worth it.
Hopefully, this guide will have you Tweeting like a pro in no time. I would like to thank John for lending me his platform, and I look forward to connecting with you on Twitter @michaeldinich.
About Michael Dinich: Michael has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years. He lives in rural PA with his wife, two children, and too many animals. Michael shares his experience, unique insights, and profiles inspirational success stories at Your Money Geek.
And thank you Michael for providing this great article for my blog! Here are some bonus tips to help you take your Twitter platform even further:
Best Practices when Using Twitter
It’s important to tweet purposeful content intended for your audience. Unless you are a marketing professional, your audience probably does not care how many followers you gained, how many you lost, or about your blog traffic.
These stats may be of interest to your network of peers but putting your focus on the interests of your current and potential readers instead is the smarter move. If necessary, make a second account for professional networking. This is a common practice among celebrities who may maintain one account as a brand account and another as a personal or networking account.
Do’s and Don’ts
Some of this I say as a fan and some as a professional.
Do follow back your supporters. I know some celebrities can get away with not following back, but unless you’re Mark Hammel you should follow back your fans — the exception being offensive accounts or bots of course.
Don’t follow people who don’t follow you back. Every person you follow not following you back is messing up your follow back ratio. If you’re interested in seeing the tweets of some politicians or celebrities, create a list so you can view their tweets without following them. Alternatively, create another account.
Do use hashtags but not more than two. Nothing says I’m a marketer on social media like hashtag stuffing a tweet. I understand you want your tweet retweeted but tagging some indie author bot with hashtags is not going to get you meaningful engagements.
Do post witty or whimsical comments or tweets.
Don’t use Twitter as a microblog to chronicle your daily routine. It’s not 2007 anymore. Followers are not looking for your daily play by play.
Do post often. The lifespan of a tweet is only about 18 minutes. As long as you’re not tweeting all at once, or the same thing repeatedly, you’re not going to scare off your audience tweeting a few times in an hour.
Don’t use Truetwit. The service is spam and should be banned by Twitter.
Don’t auto direct message people. But if you’re going to ignore my advice on this, at least don’t auto-DM people a massive wall of text asking them to join you on every single social media platform there is. Just because I follow you on Twitter doesn’t mean I want to be Facebook pals or let you crash on my couch.
Do use lists. Twitter lists are a great way to keep track of people. I have several lists, one being my most engaged followers. Every day I try to like or retweet some of their posts.
Do you have your own tips on using Twitter as an author? Dos and donts learned from experience? Please share in the comments!