(Part Three of Building Your Author Platform)
This blog is for all those people who want to build an online, social media brand but don’t know where to start. You may want to gather more interaction on your posts, grow your following, or build a recognizable online name. Today, we’re going to look at how to do that for Twitter specifically.
If you’re feeling a little lost about what a social media brand is, or why you want one, check out our beginner’s blog on Why You Want a Social Media Platform. Otherwise, let’s get started! The first thing to know is how Twitter works. Twitter will amplify your tweets if you cross certain follower milestones. For instance, when you reach 1000, 5000, and 10,000 followers, it will recommend your tweets to more and more people. So your first goal should be crossing one of those milestones, whichever is next for you.
The next biggest thing you can do is use the tools at your disposal. Before you have a recognizable brand, you need to increase your reach. AKA, you need to make sure people notice your tweets specifically when they’re scrolling and they come across your tweets in the first place.
The Basic Tools
If you are not using hashtags, you are relying on other people to widen your tweets’ reach for you. You are relying on people to comment, like, and retweet so their followers see your tweet. This is a poor strategy because so many people don’t do any of those three things. You need to be using hashtags (not too many though!) so that people who are looking for those topics see your tweets. If you’re a little rusty on what hashtags to use, or just want to know some more hashtags that are out there, check out our Ultimate List of #Writing Hashtags.
Next, images can help. Images and gifs make people more likely to notice your tweets. Just don’t overuse them. Make sure they apply to your tweet. And finally, if you’re advertising something, double-check that a picture appears with your advertisement. Links to places look really sketchy when they don’t have a photo!
Building the Brand
Alright, I’m about to teach you the four steps to find your personal brand. Finding your brand means finding something you like to talk about for a long time, something that you can post about repeatedly without feeling burnt out. There’s four steps, each a tad harder than the last, and everyone gets stuck somewhere along the way. So go at your own pace. Let’s begin.
Level 1: Who are you?
If your friends had to use 20 adjectives to describe you, what would they be? Grab a scratch piece of paper and brainstorm. And yes, we really do need 20 words. Because the first few might be easy, but by #15 or #16, everyone’s got to brainstorm for those last few. These adjectives might be confident, shy, gay, French, etc. Remember, they’re not things you like as much as they are things you are or are like. Once you have 20, you can move on to Level 2.
Level 2: Why should I listen to you?
It’s another difficult question. This is why it’s okay to get stuck. Plenty of writers that I work with take a week to go through this entire process, and this is the most common step they get stuck on. This purpose of this step is for you to write down 5 reasons what you have to say is rare and should be considered a resource.
What angle are you looking at things from that’s unique? Maybe you’re a teacher, for instance, which can give you a lot of insight on MG or YA. Being a teacher is one reason you’re unique. If you’re nonbinary like me, that gives you another rare perception. Maybe you’re a creator of something cool or such a big fan of Avatar the Last Airbender, I could come to you with any question about the ATLA universe and you’d have the answer. To repeat: find 5 things about yourself that you could talk about for hours because you have a deep perspective on them.
Level 3: Time to Update Your Tagline
Level one made you think about who you were. In level two, you wrote what you like to talk about and why. There will be some overlap there. Notice where the overlap is. Now update your Twitter profile description with those overlaps. Make sure you voice it up, and don’t forget any writing credits you may have. If you mention niche terminology, make sure people who are outside those niches can understand what you mean.
Remember: Your profile needs to make you sound confident and someone who is worthwhile to follow. If you don’t feel confident, fake it! No one will be able to tell if your confidence is fake on the internet, but confidence sells.
If you don’t have a Twitter banner at this point, or if your Twitter banner does not compliment your new author profile, it’s time for a new banner. This should not be a scenery shot, stereotypical picture of a bookshelf, or random artwork. This banner needs to be fun, creative, and professional. If you edit on the side, use your banner to advertise yourself. If you have published works, advertise them in a non-tacky way (I’ve seen some ugly banners!). And finally, if you don’t have anything to advertise, advertise yourself. Make a banner that looks professional with a few words about what you do. And don’t just slap something together in Word if you’re not confident. Get some outside opinions on if text needs to be moved around or resized. Just make a unique banner that supports your brand.
Level Four: Building Interaction
Alright, we’re at the finish line. Now is the hardest part: tone. I want you to find two or three people on Twitter who:
- You admire
- Have much larger followings than you
- Haven’t made it yet but are in the process of making it
That last bullet point is very important. When it comes to social media interaction, Stephen King doesn’t need to work nearly as hard as an author trying to make it. I want you to find people who are on their way to making it, whose social media platforms are growing, and figure out what you like about what they’re doing.
Is it the tone of their tweets? Their specific humor? The topics they’re covering? Why do you admire them? Figure that out and copy their methods. Repeat: don’t copy their tweets, copy an aspect about them and see if it works for you. I admired a lot of activists online, so I became an activist online. A friend loved people’s art posts, so she started posting her own digital art.
This advice has two benefits. First, you will post more regularly if you like what you do. Second, if someone is successful already doing this, you know there’s an audience that likes that. Target that audience. Follow members you like who do that, comment on their posts, make people notice your name and that you tweet about things they like. This will build interaction.
The good news is you now know your brand (or you will once you do all these steps!). The bad news is that interaction takes some time to build. You can do all of this right and still struggle to get 10 likes on a post. To get more likes on your posts, you have to post consistently, and you often have to get over at least 1,000 followers.
So don’t feel ashamed about following a lot of people to get over that 1,000. Just don’t follow anyone. Follow people you actually want to hear from and who are interested in your author brand. Sculpt your audience because they’re the ones who will share your posts and help you grow. People who are on Twitter just for the numbers game won’t help or remember you. But if you take the time to be consistent with your brand, you will get more audience interaction.
Take some time to think about your author brand. People will begin to recognize you, what you stand for, and what you do. This will translate into book sales down the road. If you want to check out my Twitter brand, find me at Madeline_Pine. Likewise, you can check out how Saskia uses her Twitter banner to advertise her editing company. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week, since we post blogs every Tuesday. Happy writing!
Part 1 of Building Your Author Brand: Grow Your Author Platform
Part 2 of Building Your Author Brand: The Ultimate #Writing Hashtag List