“I’ve been talking about using Twitter to build your Author Brand. I focus my blog specifically on the Indie and Small Press Author and a brand is so important to them. Sometimes the only place you’ll ever see them is online. If they don’t have a strong branding, you may never hear of them. Twitter is a great place to brand yourself, but the only positive way to do it is to maintain authenticity.”
Welcome, I’m Ann Shannon the Manic Writer. I write romance, erotic romance and sometimes a short story or two. I also do book reviews and anything else that grabs my attention. Today I’ll be talking again about who you are on Twitter. Specifically, the person behind the name.
Last week I talked about the first step you can take to building a strong Twitter platform by choosing a name that was memorable and easy to find. Read it here! Today’s post is about building on that Twitter platform so you can gain more followers.
The second step
Step two in using Twitter to build your brand involves two choices you will make every day when you open up your laptop or hit that power button on your desktop. (Do people still use desktops, besides me of course?)
Those two options are actually very similar to decisions you make when you are out in public. Be authentic and be friendly. They both come from similar actions.
How do you stay authentic (and kind) on Twitter? That’s the easy part. Just be yourself.
If only it were that easy (rolls eyes).
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao) at “It’s All Virtual” has a handy list of sixteen items, I’ll offer three and my thoughts, but don’t forget that being authentic starts with being yourself. Your public professional self that people want to know, not the angry, “I need to eat a Snickers bar self” that has spent an entire day writing 100 words and wants to blame their problems on the President of Atlantis.
One of the best ways to be authentic on any social media is to be engaging.
Ask and respond to questions honestly but also kindly. When you engage on Twitter, it gives the people you are talking to and your followers a chance to know who you are. It helps them feel as if they know you, it garners interest in you and your brand and spreads your influence.
Be sure the impression you leave is an authentic one, people want to feel that they are getting to know the real you.
This doesn’t mean you have to tell all, it just means that what you do share should be real. And unless you write commentary try to keep it kind and neutral.
I’ve mentioned scheduled tweets before and I’ll devote a whole post to them in the future but for now suffice it to say that using Twitter is not like using a crock pot. When I cook dinner in my crock pot I drop the chicken, seasoning and broth in and come back six hours later to a great meal (usually, but not always). If you schedule tweets, you should not expect to return six hours (days, weeks, months) later and find a fully functioning Twitter platform just waiting for you. It won’t be there.
That’s not to say you should never schedule tweets. Twitter takes time, composing, engaging, and reading. Sometimes I can steal a few minutes in the early morning, compose a few tweets and schedule them for later in the day when the humans are awake. I still need to be tuned in when they go live for responses. I’ll explain how to do that later. For now, remember that a scheduled tweet will still need some care and feeding when it tweets, watch for responses and respond back in a timely manner.
The final point I’ll highlight from Shiao is to mix business and pleasure on Twitter. This is doubly important for the Indie Author. When a fan, or another author, finds you on Twitter they are looking for more than a bookstore. If they just wanted to know what books you had for sale, they could look you up at Kobo, or Amazon. Chances are when they search you on Twitter they want to know if you do delivery or DiGorno, or if you make it yourself.
Of course you should only tell them what you want to share. Remember, once it’s out there there’s no retraction. Share what you want to be remembered for. You might share a word count goal you worked hard to reach, or that you’ve made progress on a WIP you’re really excited about. Alternatively, you can reach out for encouragement when that word goal date flies by and you’re aren’t even halfway there.
Never, I repeat never, bash someone, especially an author, agent, or publisher, on Twitter. It will make you look petty and unprofessional and likely get you unfollowed by a few people not to mention remembered for what you said. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but they are few and far between. Remember that your reputation is made by your tweets. Keep them positive, focused and kind.
Twitter is not a store.
I’ll say it again for those in the back-
Twitter is not a store!
Does that mean you should never offer a buy link? Of course not. But statistically they don’t help as much as you think and spamming your feed with them just gets you unfollowed and maybe blocked. I’ll write a later post on how to use Twitter to market your books. I’m still learning too but for now remember the golden rule- Don’t spam your feed with buy links.
Twitter builds Community
Twitter is a great tool, used wisely that can help you build a community of author friends, readers and fans that will help you sell your books. These are just a few of the tips I’ve found for using Twitter for your author brand. Remember the key points, be yourself, be kind and be authentic. I highly recommend Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machine to better understand the importance of brand and how to navigate the digital world.
Thanks for stopping by the Manic Writer!
The mania is always more fun with friends. Next week I’ll be discussing Hashtag games and community on Twitter! Subscribe on the sidebar, or follow with WordPress so you don’t miss a moment of the Mania!
Want to see what’s on my TBR pile? Check me out at Goodreads! Want to know what I do with my days? Follow me on Twitter or Facebook and drop me a note. On Twitter I’m active in the #5amwritersclub, #authorconfessions and other Twitter hashtag games.
Don’t forget that I’m publishing a novella called Divorced White Female (not erotica) for free on the web. When it’s fully published, I’ll be releasing it as an E-book, free to my subscribers at the release. Follow the link to sign up for updates on the novella and sign up here for updates on the e-book release.