If you're an unpublished writer looking to build a following on Twitter, here's a chance for you to learn from my mistakes before you make the same ones.
I got started trying to build a social media platform about six months before my publisher picked up my first book. Anyone who's trying to get their work published knows this is what you're supposed to do. Get out there. Build that platform. Pick up followers. Show people are interested in what you have to say. It struck me as putting the cart before the horse, but that was the advice I was given, so I did my best to make it happen.
Not knowing a thing about social media, I turned to Professor Google to see what advice I could find on growing a platform. The fastest way, it turned out, for an unknown and unpublished writer to pick up followers was to join the #followback groups. So I did, and I did find a quick swell in my number of Twitter followers. But what I ended up creating was the illusion of a social media platform, rather than a place where I could interact with people who were truly interested in my work...and more importantly where I could connect with people in whose work I have a genuine interest.
There were thousands of people I'd followed simply because they had agreed to boost my number, too. That meant I was being disingenuous with a whole crowd of people.
So now I'm going back and doing the work I wish I'd done in the first place to build an organic following. I'm clearing out those with whom I've never had any interaction. Nothing personal. If someone chooses to unfollow, then I know they were part of the artificial base.
So here're my Twitter tips:
- Only follow those people in whose work you have a genuine interest.
- Interact with those you follow. They may not follow you back, but you may get a chance to learn something from them, or share something you know with them.
- Don't sacrifice quality for quick quantity.
- If you've already made the same mistake I did, don't sit around grumbling for for years--like I have--before you do something about it. (This would count as my second big mistake.)