Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Post: Using Twitter to Connect with Readers

Today social media enthusiast, Courtney Gordon, has taken over Down Under Wonderings to talk about how writers can use Twitter to connect with readers.

As a reader, I can attest to the fact that that a book by itself is not enough. What I mean, of course, is that after falling in love with a particular piece of literature, what I crave more than anything is more. Now, more does not necessarily entail a sequel to whatever work I had just read enjoyed, though in many cases that would be a wonderful scenario; rather, more consists of communication with the author. As a child, I wished for nothing more than to be able to write letters to my favorite authors. In one case, I distinctly remember looking up a particular writer’s email address, which I attempted to use to contact her. I did not receive a response.

Today, with social media networks linking people together in a way that makes it both easy and almost a necessity to connect with others, the time has come for authors to take their work to the next level and actually begin opening up to their readers. This does not mean using sites like Twitter to pressure people into buying and reading your book. It also does not mean responding to every single tweet. Rather, it means opening up forums for various conversations, conversations that your readers can join in and that you can respond to candidly. It means not just using Twitter to share your own news, but to also follow your readers, read up on some of them, and comment on their things. In essence, connecting with readers through a platform such as Twitter is a way to show that you care, while also offering them the “behind the scenes” info they crave.

Here are some ways to best make use of Twitter to connect with your fans:

Tweet multiple times each day

The more you share, the more you care, or so readers will think. It is in your best interest to tweet as often as you can. These tweets can include scripted or preplanned topics, such as questions pertaining to an issue or character in one of your books or a information about an upcoming event, but they should also be made up of genuine and spontaneous comments, such as a comment about a new recipe you just tried or a recent vacation you just got back from and the things you enjoyed most about it. Also take the chance to discuss literary subjects, offering recommendations of good books you just read or upcoming book festivals you intend to attend. Let readers see that you, too, are human, while offering them the sort of content that appeals to them, content that shows both the man behind the curtain.

Be considerate

If you ever present a question to which people take different sides or express an idea that some may disagree with, you have to be prepared for angry and hurtful replies. While much of these opinions may be the product of actual concern on the part of their writer, one has to also be aware of the recent surge in the number of trolls who stalk the web, virtual trouble makers looking to cause dissension for nothing more than some a couple of laughs. Yet whether you come in contact with a troll or a reader with a different opinion, you must always remain calm and considerate. Be open-minded and explain that your opinions are yours alone. In this way, you will show your readers that you are caring, accepting, and unprejudiced.

Be outgoing

Don’t wait for readers to comment on your tweets. Comment on theirs as well, particularly if they write about something that you find interesting. Share your followers’ tweets as well, if you think them worth sharing. In this way you will make friends and forge a much deeper connection with your readers. While you are trying to connect with them, it’s okay to get personal. Personal enough that you’re comfortable with the information you are sharing. For example, you might want to share a picture from your child’s birthday party or of your dog. You might not want to Tweet about someone in your family going to a private rehab facility. Use your judgment but know that it doesn’t always have to be about books!

Be yourself

Readers don’t want to follow your Twitter account just to see you use it as a marketing campaign for your work. That doesn’t mean you can’t post anything about your work. Particularly if it has to do with something behind the scenes, such as a character history that is not revealed in your book or a something of the sort, your readers will be interested in seeing that sort of information. But ultimately, they want to see you. They want to know what your like, to meet you, to introduce themselves and strike up a conversation with the man responsible for the book they loved so much. By being yourself, by answering truthfully and actively making friendships, you will be able to connect with your readers in a way that was not possible a decade ago. It would be unfortunate to let such an advantage slip by unused.

 Courtney Gordner is a passionate 

blogger who loves all things social 

media, internet and SEO! Read more

from her on her blog, 

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