Let´s face it. Facebook is so very yesterday. Sure, it is still huge but as far as real marketing value for the Self Published Indie writer, I´ve heard a lot of ´Does it work? – Is it worth it?´ inquiries but not a lot of positive testimonies. Actually, none.
Then there are the ´Facebook Writer´s Groups.´ If what you are looking for is a lot of inane book ads for erotica and porn, then for sure, sign up for one of those groups. How effective they are in generating sales is anyone´s best guess.
So what are you going to do to get a strong foothold on a social media platform?
In my humble opinion, the best platform for growing quickly is Twitter.
It obviously helps if you have some other, previous experience in social media. I had a small success with Youtube (more than 4 million reproductions of my English as a Second Language videos) It also can´t hurt if you run a blog, maintain your Amazon and Goodreads author pages, maybe a Pinterest account etc.
But the big potential for exponential growth with Twitter.
Now here´s the catch – You have to know how to use it.
I´ve written about this in the past. KNOW YOUR NICHE.
This can apply to anyone regardless of the product or service they are flogging. Who is your potential customer? What are they doing at this very moment? What are their interests? Where do they gather?
The whole purpose IMHO is to create HUGE numbers of followers.
But who qualifies as a follower? Anyone can click on that follow button. Does that make them of use to you as a writer? NO! NO WAY!
Let´s take a detour for a moment.
There is a theory out there that states:
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
Read all about this theory here.
Now what is cool, if you do read the whole post, is that this theory is based on the idea that a true fan will spend ´One day´s wages´ per year to support you. Damn, that´s a lot of cash. As an INDIE author, all I am looking for from my fans / readers is a measly $2.99. So a lot more doable. But the gist is to find 1000 loyal fans that will buy everything you produce.
So let´s assume that you get that 1000 true loyal fans and followers.
How is that going to affect your book sales?
Imagine a new release that gets a couple of hundred sales right out of the gate. That is going to clearly spike your ranking into a range that will be noticed by many people that would never have heard of you before. Great. And you still have 800 true fans who have yet to hear about or buy your product. This reserve of devoted fans is going to keep buying over the coming months and keep your product in the public eye. So the 1000 fans is a MUST for success IMHO. This is my goal.
So getting back to Twitter & Tweepi – How do you cultivate those 1000? Rush out and BUY Twitter followers. NOT. This is a complete waste of money. If having a large following gives you a sense of confidence, by all means, throw your money in the toilet. But this isn´t going to somehow magically turn into dollars on your kindle sales report.
Whenever I see this Icon in my ‘Followers’ list, I delete the account immediately. There are always vultures in every human endeavour.
The most powerful tool I have found for creating a large NICHE following is TWEEPI.
I´ve talked about this before. Get to know this platform.
You can use it to weed out the people that aren´t following you back. Very helpful there.
But the most powerful function is it´s ´Follow Followers´ section. Here you can target your peer’s followers. So if you write Horror novels, find Stephen King and J. A. Konrath’s official twitter accounts and start following their followers.
Here´s a video Tutorial on how Tweepi works.
Within the video you learn how to install the ´Bulk Follow´ button for IE and Google Chrome. But just because you have the button, doesn´t mean you should always use it.
Now here´s a warning. Surely Mr. King has some followers whose sole purpose in life is to promote their plumbing supply company. They aren´t on Twitter to find new writers and discover new literary gems. So I avoid those people.
When I get onto a page of a competitor´s / peer´s followers, I first look at how often these people tweet. For some pages, the initial pages are full of recent followers and these people are most active so I will bulk follow the first few pages. After that, I start selectively following only those people who fit my NICHE profile. Again, I avoid groups and companies and go for individuals who have their own following and who have tweeted within the last few days.
I also look at the follow back ratio. People with 6 followers are using twitter like it´s Facebook. They really don´t know what it’s about. These people are not likely to let an unknown person into their little circle. Skip them.
So the big trick is to identify your NICHE.
I also keep a ´USER´ list in a text file on my desktop. These are the users from whom I have harvested followers in the past. I go back occassionally to harvest their new users.
In my case, I have two accounts – one for promoting my fiction and another for new account for my ESL tutorials.
I harvest directly from accounts like @AvidReadersCafe & @TheBookTweeters for general book lovers and since my books are about dogs I go to @garthstein (The author of ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ … a book about a dog) to find folks who will read a book about a dog. I harvest from a whole other range of users for my ESL account.
My accounts are –
Now here is the kicker. At this moment I have 12,097 followers.
Let’s say that about 25% of them are other writers – no avoiding that since they all congregate to the book tweeter, avid reader users as well. Could some of them be my TRUE Followers? Unlikely. Take them out and we have 9063 Followers.
10% are probably companies and semi-dead accounts that will show up in my ‘Unfollowers’ folder within the next few months.
Leaves me 8057.
50% are people like me – sellers, not buyers. Leaves 4026.
Another 50% of those followers are possibly people I have miscalculated are have absolutely nothing to do with my NICHE.
Another 25% might not even speak English.
25% Follow everybody regardless. Down to 1132 remain.
So let’s stop here. You see where I am going with this.
The most important lesson that I am saving for last is that there is always the possibility of converting any of your followers at any moment from the cast-off crowd, into a TRUE FOLLOWER. Keep them happy. Write something interesting or inventive or useful on your blog.
Tweet some funny, clever or useful stuff on your twitter feed.
My goal is to get 50,000 TRUE FOLLOWERS within my NICHE. I don’t worry about how many people UNFOLLOW. As a matter of fact, I invite those people that aren’t interested in my THING to leave. Leave NOW. I am looking for a long term relationship. I actually get users that FOLLOW and then two or three days later they unfollow. How is this a smart tactic to get me to buy their product?
Finally, don’t be afraid to NOT FOLLOW back everyone that follows you.
Hope that’s been of some help or gets you thinking about your Twitter account. Good luck with that 1000.
David Gordon Burke
Find my books here.