• Margaret McGriff

How Writers Can Use Twitter to Market Themselves

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Remember when Twitter used to be the place to be?

It was the first social media platform I was ever truly active on. I connected with so many other writers, some of which I’m still friends with to this day.

Now it may not be as wildly popular as it used to be, but it shouldn't be counted out as a tool in your marketing toolbox.

Before we dive in on how to use Twitter today as a writer, remember that it’s just like any other social media platform – it’s a tool and not the sole indicator of how successful you’ll be. Like other forms of content, it can help you generate that interest in your books and services without outright promoting them.

So how does Twitter work today and how you can best use it for your writer business?

Twitter is just as it was when it came on a couple of years ago. It's a very fast-moving platform with an active community. According to a report from HubSpot, there are about 321 million active users with 45% of those users between the ages of 18 and 24. Another interesting stat is that 75% of people who use Twitter also use Instagram, right?

Why am I throwing out all these numbers? What does it mean to you?

It means that there are plenty of opportunities for you to find and connect your ideal readers, especially if you write books for the young adult group. Also, if you know that your perfect reader hangs out on Instagram, chances are they're probably on Twitter.

What should you know about Twitter before you start using it for your writing business?

Back in the day you could only use like 140 characters in a tweet. But now you have 280 characters to share your message, promote your brand, and generate interest in your books. Even though it's more characters than what you had before, that’s still not a ton of space especially if you tend to write long. On Twitter you have to be clear and concise with your content, while still using language your ideal reader will connect with.

Another thing you need to know about Twitter is, just like Instagram, hashtags are the key to visibility. So in character those 280 characters, you have to take into account those hashtags you’ll need in order for your content to be seen. Make sure you're using the same hashtags your ideal reader is using in their tweets so you can be seen by the right people.

The third thing that you need to know about using Twitter is you should be intentional about who you follow. Like all other forms of social media, it's not about how many people you're following and vice versa. It’s about connecting with the right people.

You don't want a community full of people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer. You want a community who love what you do, like what you read and are going to buy your books. In turn, you also want to be intentional about making sure you're following those right people.

If you just start adding people for the sake of adding people, what's going to end up happening is your feed is going to be overwhelming. It will be too hard for you to try to discern who you should be talking to, re-tweeting, etc. To cut down on that, you want to be sure you know who you're following.

At the end of the day, we're not trying to make our jobs harder! We want our marketing to be as smooth and possible because we have enough things to worry about and Twitter shouldn’t be one of them. Some examples of people you may want to follow include:

  • Other writers

  • Readers in your genre

  • Book bloggers

  • Agents

  • Editors

  • Publishers

Finally, don't forget to include images and videos in your tweets. That type of content gives your tweet that special engaging factor, especially when people are getting inundated by tweets all the time. When someone is scrolling through and see those images, they're more likely to stop, read your tweet, and maybe comment or retweet it.

Okay, now to the good part! How do we use Twitter as a fiction writer?

Like other social media platforms, there are two major ways that you can use It Twitter to share your brand and your books.

As a Distribution Channel

So anytime you have a new blog post, a video, podcast episode, or a new newsletter, you can send out a tweet to your followers to tell them a little bit about it with the link. Fortunately, platforms like WordPress and MailChimp can automatically tweet out new content as soon as you publish it.

Whether you go this route or manually tweet out new content yourself, make the best use of those 280 characters. Write a tweet that will catch a follower's attention, coaxing them to click that link to read that blog post or see that video. Include a catchy headline or an enticing one-liner from that blog post or video before asking them to click the link to learn more. You can get extra fancy and include a video snippet in the tweet.

Engage with Your Tribe

A second way you can use Twitter is as a place to engage and grow your tribe. Join Twitter chats where you answer prompts with a special hashtag. You get the opportunity to talk with other writers that you may not have found otherwise.

If you're an author who's looking to be traditionally published, there are bog pitching events that happen on Twitter. This is where agents who are looking for submissions look for pitches in the form of tweets by authors in the genre they work in. Not only do you get yourself in front of agents, but readers who read in that particular genre may also find you, too!

Another way to grow your tribe on Twitter is to engage with book bloggers. Chances are if you write in your genre, you also read in your genre. So follow those bloggers who are reviewing the same books you read. Don’t start out pitching your book, especially in the beginning! Instead Retweet their book reviews, tweet at them a quote from your favorite part of the book, or direct message them that you’ve enjoyed their latest review.

Take time to really develop those connections with book bloggers because when the time comes and you want to pitch your book, it's going to make it so much easier because that relationship is already there.

Are you on Twitter? How are you using it for your writing business?

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© 2019 by Margaret McGriff