Thursday, January 2, 2014

Building an Online Presence: Twitter

In our continuing segment on how to build an online presence, Intern Kenny covers what is, perhaps, the most important social media platform today.

In the year 2013, social media has become a necessity in order to build an online presence and of the many social media sites, the most important is Twitter.  While Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media sites exist, nothing is quite like the experience fans and prospective fans can enjoy with Twitter.  Twitter offers the readers a direct line of communication to the author. People who have not read a certain author's works can see the author's Twitter feed to get to know the author better before they decide to buy a book.  Here are some tips for using Twitter to build an online presence:

Tip #1: Tear down this wall.

In the past, one of the most frustrating things about being a fan was that the only way to contact an author was to write them a letter that they may never read.  With Twitter, fans are now able to cross the barrier between fan and author and authors should embrace this.  Never be afraid to answer a question or to respond to a tweet from your fans because, needless to say but I'll still say it, fans dictate an author's success.  With very little effort, you can begin building a good fan base by being Twitter-friendly and friendly on Twitter.

Tip #2: #Hashtags.

Many people have questions about the recent "hashtag" phenomenon.  It is very simple, hashtags (#) allows people from all over see your specific tweet when they search for whatever the hashtag accompanies.  It is used to categorize tweets so that they can be easily discovered.  For example, if your tweet says, "Clear eyes, full hearts! #FridayNightLights", anyone who searches Twitter for "#FridayNightLights" may discover your tweet whether they follow you or not.  It allows new people on Twitter to discover your feed and more importantly, discover who you are.

Tip #3: Did I mention "mentions"?

Always address people and organizations on Twitter by their Twitter handle.  Instead of saying "I saw Craig Ferguson today at Starbucks!", type "I saw @CraigyFerg today @Starbucks!"  This way, both Craig Ferguson and Starbucks will have a chance at seeing your tweet and if you are lucky, they may retweet you.  When someone mentions you in a tweet, you get more exposure as all their followers will see the tweet.  When you mention someone, they may respond to you or retweet your tweet which also allows everyone who follows them to see your tweet and Twitter handle.  This is collaborative promotion which is the key to expanding followers on Twitter.

Tip #4: Tweetin' is talkin'.

In the same vein as talking, it is quite possible to tweet too much or too little.  While it is hard to pinpoint where one can tweet too much or too little, the middle-ground between the two is vast. Tweeting anywhere between a couple times an hour to once a day is more than acceptable and on special occasions, tweeting multiple times every minute is even okay (mostly during fan Q&A's).  The key is balance.  The biggest issue for a lot of people who are not huge fans of twitter are that they spend too much time between tweets.  Once a month or once a week is not enough in order to build an online presence because tweeting once a week or less basically means that the individual is not online.  You have to show that you are indeed online and present while not being annoying.

Tip #5: And tweet is cheap.

Twitter is not only handy in creating an online presence and building fan relations, it is a marvelous way for free promotions.  You can promote your books or whatever product you are selling to all of your followers on Twitter with an easy, 140 character tweet.  However, to hark back to Tip #4, do not treat Twitter as solely a promotional medium.  Be sure to promote your product, upcoming events or other business related products such as reviews or interviews but do not overdo it.  Remember, the main goal of Twitter should not be a free venue for advertising your goods, it is to build a fan base and to connect with the fans directly.

For more tips to build an online presence, come back to the KC&A blog in the future.


  1. Twitter statistically returns .3% on book sales as opposed to a web site that returns almost 6%. This means that if you have a thousand followers on twitter, you'll sell three books as opposed to 60 books for followers of your web site. It all aggregates, but every author will have to determine where their time and efforts are best utilized.

    1. Great point! However, Twitter is used for much more than just selling books. It is used to retain fans and for promoting events. While 0.3% versus 6% is a huge difference, the amount of people that follow an author on Twitter could possibly dwarf the amount of people who regularly view an author's website. Furthermore, Twitter is a much easier application to use and very readily available medium than updating one's website.