A guest post by Katharine Grubb
Since I’ve been a mother, I’ve learned a lot about daily diligence in the long term. I’ve learned that you don’t feed a baby once and see growth. Doing one load of laundry a day is better than eight on a sunny Saturday morning. And you don’t teach manners once; you teach them often, hoping someday they’ll stick. “You’re that type of person, Mom, who uses a napkin.”
You think you make progress, but it’s hard to see in the short term. Often the most important things take the longest to grow.
Your platform on Twitter is the same way.
Admittedly, some days I’m better at Twitter than others, but I’ve found that by doing a little on Twitter every day, I make progress in my tribe building. Over time, I see results. I’ve also found that if I have a system, I can move through my Twitter to-dos faster.
I’d like to suggest that in short time periods a day, you can maintain your Twitter presence. Ideally, you could get it all done in 10 minutes, but even if you gave it 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening you’d see progress, you’d gain followers, engage with potential readers, and grow your tribe.
Check your Notifications first. These are the people who have responded to you, or mentioned you or followed you. You should thank them, RT them, or ask them questions. Responses to others make you look human. Author confession: I don’t acknowledge every RT or favorite, but I do try to follow people back, especially those in my target market.
Check your lists. Set up lists of specific target markets. I have a list for my closest friends, and I also have one for members of my Facebook group (10 Minute Novelists). As I target a new market, say, homeschooling mothers, OU alums or 40-something trauma survivors, I create a new list. I check them regularly, RT-ing and favoriting. I also look for things in others tweets I can ask questions about.
Check your favorite hashtags. Your target market has specific hashtags for certain chats, topics and conversations. This is a great way to find a shortcut into conversations, ask questions and engage. You can also find new followers through hashtags and key words. If you do, make sure and set a timer, give yourself 5-10 minutes on this daily and you won’t be overwhelmed.
Compose your own tweets and send them. Twitter is perfect for informal news, photos of your breakfast or complaints about Mondays. Don’t be afraid to tweet them. But also, during your day, think about ways that you can give to your followers: encourage them, tell a joke, share a link, share an inspiration. Anything that is positive or uplifting will go a lot farther than tweets that are negative or complaining. But don’t overthink it. Your time is too precious to write and rewrite your tweets. It’s better to engage with others than it is to be perfect.
Ask questions. Engagement starts with conversations. Tribes are not built with vast numbers overnight, but rather by one-on-one connections, and the best way to make a connection is to ask a question. Start with your new followers’ bios, then scroll through their timelines to see how they felt about the game last night. It does take time to get to know people, but numbers are meaningless unless you have relationships behind them.
Save Twitter for your daily down time. This is the best tip yet. You know you’ll have to wait on the kids at soccer practice, so use that time to check Twitter. Think about how much down or wait time you have in your day and use it to build your tribe, find followers or retweet others. The key to good time management is not looking for large chunks of time to get things done but to do what you can in the smaller chunks available to you.
It may not be possible to do all of this in 10 minutes, but it is possible to give Twitter a little bit of attention here and there throughout your day. With practice, you’ll get faster. Someday you may grow in your Twitter relationships so much that you will need to spend more than 10 minutes a day on this. When it comes to that, you’ll have a tribe. If you’ve been kind, generous and positive, your tribe will always buy your books, RT you, favorite you and support you in the length of your career. On that day, you’ll be glad you spent your 10 minutes.
The children will still need to be fed. The mountain of laundry will always be there. And the pro-napkin argument will always continue with your children. When you get frustrated about slow progress, tweet about it. Your many, many followers will sigh, complain and hope for a successful future along with you.
About the Author
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. She blogs at www.10minutenovelist.com. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Her downloadable workbook Conquering Twitter In 10 Minutes A Day is available here.
About Her Workbook
This downloadable workbook will show you how to create a long-term Twitter presence by approaching your Twitter activity in three parts: your set-up, your strategy, and your system. Throughout the sections, exercises are provided to help you think about yourself, your brand, your books, and your goals on Twitter. This book was originally intended for authors who want to use Twitter to build their tribe of readers, but the principles of it are universal. Anyone with an interest in using Twitter as a marketing tool would find this book useful. Download. 29 pages. Conquering Twitter In 10 Minutes A Day is available here.