UPDATE!!! As at 5 Jan 23, I hit 10,000 followers. So that's not quite 10,000 in 10 weeks, I make it 10,000 followers in 11 weeks and 3 days. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, I know - hence my premature post from 26 Dec 22. If you want to know how I did it, check out my original blog post below:
Confession time, I'm afraid the title of this blog post is misleading. I didn't get 10,000 followers in 10 weeks, but I did manage to get 8,858 in 10 weeks (as at 1:44pm).
10,000 followers was an arbitrary target I set myself after I started to get unimaginable success building my following on Twitter. I didn't quite hit this target in 10 weeks, but I'm pretty confident I will get there before long.
On 17 October, 2022, I decided to start engaging with Twitter. At that point I had a grand total of 1 follower - my husband! I've had a twitter account for years but I never actually engaged with the platform. I was never really too fussed about following other people and seeing what they had to say and didn't get into it.
So what changed? Writing, of course! Back in August I decided to give up on the idea of traditional publishing and concluded self publishing was the way forwards instead. I was all too aware that self publishing needed good marketing and a way to be able to tell people about my work, so I knew I needed to engage more with social media. My first step was creating a Facebook Page. Facebook is all well and good, and I might be missing something somewhere, but its main limitation, IMHO, is that its difficult to engage with people who aren't either your friends on the platform or in groups you've joined. As such, my Facebook page (linked on the side of this page) hasn't really had much reach.
I then created a website. I knew this was essential to be able to provide more details about my series, to provide a platform where I could give as much information as I liked, and of course, be a place to host my blog, so I bought a domain via Google Domains and built a little DIY website using Weebly.
Now, onto Twitter. It was just another thing to try, I guess. So I dusted off my old account, gave it a facelift and started posting stuff. My first post was about this website, I posted it 10 weeks ago on 17 October and it has had 11,874 impressions, 276 likes, 129 comments and 27 retweets. But it was pinned to my profile for a couple of months! My following three posts got 0 likes, 0, comments and 0 retweets. Now, for a bit of contrast, my most successful post was sent out on 18 December and had 118,000 impressions, 933 likes, 985 comments and 192 retweets. And what did I post? Just this: "Do you think a novel's main character should be likable?"
I can't confess to having kept tabs on my numbers of followers specifically over the weeks, but on a fairly regular basis I did mention in my posts how many followers I had. So I took out this data and turned it into a graph on Excel. You can see my rate of followers has been steadily climbing since 23 October, which was when I hit 100 followers.
So how did I manage this? I just did a few basic things, and it seemed to work:
- I posted daily. 2-3 posts a day, most days, with posts a few hours apart.
- I followed lots of people. In the early days I was just trying to follow anyone I could find who looked like they were in the writing community, later I became more selective.
- I interacted with comments on my posts.
- I interacted with other people's posts.
- I posted questions about writing related stuff.
- I didn't post anything that was polarising. I'm trying my best to stay out of anything remotely political, these days.
I'll just expand on a few of the points above.
Following: At first I was following slightly indiscriminately, but after I while I started trying to follow everyone who engaged with my posts. Then I got jailed. Turns out Twitter doesn't like you to follow too many, too quickly. I think it thinks you are a bot! I got banned from following for 3 days on two occasions when this happened, so now I just follow people in batches of 20 or so. I prioritise people who retweet my posts, then I look at those who like my tweets. Following people is an easy way to get followers, as a significant proportion will follow you back.
What do I post? I try to post one open question a day, and one other post that might also be a question, or it might just be an observation on life. The former always get more engagements. I limit anything that is self-promotion to less than weekly. I don't post anything that's controversial and try to keep questions broad, and not particularly niche.
When do I post? I aim to post my question around mid-afternoon, UK time. I find this is a good time to post, as it gets a bit of momentum as the Brits come home from work then it gets accelerated through the night as it hits the USA in their evening slot. I'll regularly wake up with 50-100 more followers than I went to bed with. I can't say I'm religious about posting though, life does of course, often get in the way!
Other people's posts: It's hard to quantify the effect this has, as you don't get the analytics for this. Personally, I now only follow people who interact with my posts. I have no idea how many other people do the same. So its impossible to tell how successful this method is. But I do tend to notice an uptick in followers after I've had a spell of trawling my twitter feed and commenting on and liking a large number of posts.
I think that's enough waffle from me for now. I've summarised how I've gained my success to date. If you have any more questions, please ask them in the comments section of this post.
Moving forwards, I think I'll aim to continue engaging with Twitter. I've been amazed at how much I've actually started to enjoy talking to others in the writing community and at how may useful snippets of info I've picked up too! I've no idea how well my thousands of followers will translate into book sales, but I do know that there's a good chance it will turn in to a few, and its cost me nothing to give it a go.
Charlotte Goodwin is the author of the Gallantrian Legacy series. A set of six books (and counting) set in a universe where magic is real, there's just not much of it on Earth.