Dear WordCount: A lot of people talk about how many Twitter followers they have and how it’s landed them assignments and even books deals. Why is having a lot of Twitter followers a big deal? What am I missing here? — Confused
Funny you should ask. Just last night I with a group of writer friends when the subject of social media came up. One very successful freelancer swears Twitter is giant waste of time. Another makes money helping manage Twitter and other social networks for a client. How the rest use Twitter fell somewhere in the middle.
I jumped on Twitter four years ago. Many of the things I use it for depend on having a large number of followers. It helps me do a better job of digging up information, tracking trends and finding people to interview. And that’s just the start.
It’s also become more common for publishers to look at a writer’s social media presence as a gauge of how successful they are. Publishers working with limited budgets for marketing and promotions want to know that any author they sign already has a faithful following, people who will gladly pay for a book or e-book.
Companies also have begun reviewing people’s social media presence, measured by Twitter followers or their Klout score, as criteria in job interviews. Companies especially want to know that someone they’re hiring for a position in marketing, recruiting, sales or web development is social media savvy.
Why Writers Need Lots of Twitter Followers
Here’s how I use Twitter, and why having lots of followers pays off:
1. To promote stories and blog posts.
Use it as a broadcast medium to share links to your stories or posts on your own blog. Right now, I have close to 6,000 Twitter followers. I think of then as readers, as in people who read my stories.
2. To find sources.
With enough followers, you can use Twitter to find sources or information for stories. Tweet a question or request for information. Identify it as a query, so when people see it they’ll know it’s from a reporter. Some examples:
Reporter question: Have you ditched your land line? Let’s talk. Email me at XXX@XXX.com
For @NBCNews story, looking for people who’ve gone back to school to change careers. DM me.
For national publication, looking for people >40 starting a biz for 1st time. firstname.lastname@example.org
3. To promote events.
I host the monthly #wclw writer chat, and use Twitter – along with other social media – to promote the chat. Having lots of followers means more people see my tweet and help spread the word.
How to Get more Twitter Followers
Convinced? Here are posts with tips for getting more Twitter followers:
- 12 ways to get more Twitter followers (MichaelHyatt.com)
- How to get more Twitter followers – the right way (PCMag.com)
- How to get more followers on Twitter using retweets (EdmundLee.com)
- Get more Twitter followers (ChrisBrogan.com)
- 8 ways to get more followers on Twitter (Salesforce.com Blog)
If you’re a writer or blogger with a major Twitter following, how do you use it? Please share by leaving a comment.