Social Media 101 for Authors: Ten Ways to Build Your Twitter Following


By Crystal King

So you have a Twitter account. You’ve set up your profile, followed a few people, tweeted a few things but now you are likely wondering what to do next. How do you find more followers? How do you find the right followers?

I’m a big proponent of more is not always better. This is especially true on Twitter.  An audience of 30,000 people might be great, but what if 20,000 of those followers are irrelevant? They could be inactive, spam accounts, or followers who just don’t care about the type of book you are writing. If that’s true then, how do you find the right types of followers?

Here are my top 10 tips for the care and feeding of your Twitter account.


  1. Make sure your profile is complete, with an actual photo and enough information so that the person can get a sense of who you are. A general location is also desirable. If you don’t want people to know the town you live in, just use the closest large city. People like to follow others in the same area because local interests are often a subject of tweets.

  2. Look at people you are interested in and who they are following. Follow them with the hope they will follow you back.  Start by going to @grubwriters  (who you need to follow if you aren’t already) and look at the people following them to find some great authors, both published and unpublished.

  3. You can also do searches on hashtags that you care about and follow users who are tweeting on that topic. For example, search for #books or #mysteries. Follow the users that you find most interesting.

  4.  Engage, engage (using the @ symbol before their name) especially with people that are influential. In your case it may be well-known authors that have books—and audiences--similar to yours. If that influencer is having a twitter conversation with you it will mean your username shows up in their stream, which in turn may mean relevant people follow you.

  5. Systematically clean up your account with http://thetwitcleaner.com  so that you don't end up with a huge disparity of who you are following vs. following you. You can clean out the dead weight or irrelevant accounts. Note that Twitter also has throttles in place when it comes to how many people you can follow and unfollow in the space of an hour, and you can easily hit that by going through other people's followers and just following. So you'll have to do that slowly over time. A little a day will go a long way.

  6.  Use your lists. For example, create a list of authors, or publishers or people who write in a certain genre. People can follow your lists and may friend you in the hope that you will add them to your list.

  7. Check out http://listorious.com/ for lists. Add your lists to the service and look for targeted lists you want to follow (the good thing is you can follow lists without having to friend everyone on the list).

  8. You can also add yourself to http://wefollow.com/ and http://www.twellow.com/.

  9. Check out http://justtweetit.com/ to find likeminded followers.

  10.  Add links to your profile everywhere. Link it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, blog, email signature, business cards (moo.com  cards are great personal biz cards...cheap and cool), and everywhere you are online.


Hopefully you were able to discover a few new tricks in that list. And if you aren't using http://www.twittercounter.com yet, definitely do so.  You can check your stats, compare yourself to others and create nifty Twitter buttons for your website, like this one, which helps you to easily follow and add me!

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About the Author

Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.com

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