How to Use Twitter to Connect with Fans & Build a POWERFUL Brand

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

Last post was some tongue-and-cheek fun pointing out how brands (particularly author brands) abuse Twitter. Today, I want to shift gears and chat some about how writers—actually ALL brands—can use Twitter far more effectively.

Currently, too many writers are like Stormtroopers—lots of shots fired  tweets that hit NOTHING.

Admittedly, when I got on Twitter (practically when it was invented) I didn’t get it. I would—KID YOU NOT—freak out when people I didn’t know followed me.

WHAT? Are you, like, a stalker?

Yes, I was missing the ENTIRE point of Twitter. Hey, we all start somewhere.

Do you have to do Twitter? No. No one will take you to writer jail because you didn’t sign up. Is it wise to use Twitter? Meh, for the past couple years. Er, not so much.

Was sort of a personal choice if one was willing to be persistent and cull through bots to find gems. I stuck with it namely because I figured Twitter eventually would remedy the problems that were hobbling this once extremely effective social platform.

Now that Twitter’s going all Old Testament on bots and excessive automation? ABSOLUTELY a great idea to be on Twitter.

Twitter & Going Viral

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

Pros and cons to rampant replication.

First, I want to make something clear. We cannot make something (content) go viral. Going viral is something that will happen all on its own and we have almost no control regarding what content will catch fire and what will simply wink out.

We CAN, however, position our content in optimal environments for going viral (part of what I teach in my upcoming branding class, BRAND BOSS).

Though going viral can possibly be a mixed blessing, it also happens to be one of the best ways for a brand to grow exponentially and overnight (which is why we want to go viral for good things, FYI).

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

The first time I had a blog go viral I thought I’d broken WP and was upset. I didn’t realize my graph looked like my blog had a heart attack and DIED because I went from my average of 50 visits a day to 24,000 in ONE day. This is called working smarter, not harder and why linear growth bites in comparison to logarithmic growth.

Twitter and Viral Environments

Much like the flu virus will spread way faster in a preschool than in the clean rooms of the CDC…environment matters. Viruses on-line and in life require optimal conditions to spread.

Truth is, we will rarely go viral from Facebook because the nature of Facebook is more intimate and the platform moves much slower. People are less likely to discover us/our work from Facebook than they are Twitter.

This is why I encourage authors to blog and to blog off their author WEBSITE. Someone sees a tweet for a post that looks interesting and click and enjoy the post and guess what is in the sidebar for sale? BOOKS.

This is a non-invasive way to cultivate readers and sell books. We have a post, serve, engage and entertain. Not doing the:

Hi, I’m a writer. BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! I can’t feed my family unless you BUY MY BOOK!

Show don’t sell.

Our blog gives potential readers a glimpse of who we are. They sample our writing voice and see we are professionals since we post more than every harvest moon. We have taken time to engage without asking for money. Twitter is the road sign guiding people to the rest stop of their choosing.

Enough people like a certain rest stop? That is when we go viral.

Going viral is AWESOME. Trust me, when you see THIS on the bottom of a post? GREAT FEELING.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.41.58 AM

And yes, there are a lot of shares on Facebook, but many folks discovered the posts on Twitter then chose to share with their more intimate community on Facebook.

My post Brave New Bullying and Amazon Attacks has 338 comments and still climbing. And I say this VERY humbly because all I do is my job. But, it is not uncommon for this blog to have triple-digit comments. Twitter is a BIG reason for that. And I’ve been blessed to go viral many times and not always for writing or social media posts. I blog about everything.

I STILL have people arguing over What Went Wrong With the Star Wars Prequels even though I posted it years ago. Up to 304 FABULOUS comments. Very well-thought out. Some thousands of words long.

Cultivating Customers (Code for “Readers”)

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Sodanie Chea

There is one bone-headed statement that makes my head hurt. And I have heard it from all levels of writers from noobs to NTYBSAs. In fact, years ago a BIG NAME author said, “I don’t like Twitter. Only writers are on Twitter.”

*head desk*

I replied, “There are over 280 MILLION active Twitter users. They’re all writers. Really?”

What I then pointed out was that this author tweeted writing quotes, talked about writing, blogged about writing. It was the All-Writing-All-the-Time Channel.

If my goal is to catch a lion, but I bait the traps with peanut butter, who is the fool for griping about catching mice?

Many of us are writers because we were interested in SO many things, writing was the only way we could do them all. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist-medical examiner-ballerina-oceanographer-ninja-Navy SEAL. I’d imagine most of you had similar career plans at age 7.

We became writers because we have an insatiable love for so many things. And we have unique eyes and an imagination to bring those worlds to life. We breathe life into variations of 26 letters in various combinations to create entirely NEW worlds and characters SO real they make a bigger impact on lives than a lot of living, breathing humans.

Yes, we have a God complex.

Thus, when using Twitter, I DO recommend #MyWANA, #amwriting, etc. We NEED a group of professional peers. But never mistake your colleagues for your audience. Too many writers are all talking to each other, selling the same people who already have more books than they could finish in a lifetime. We are worn out.

Twitter Access

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

In my branding book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World I go into far more detail, but here’s the highlight reel. What do you write? Who is the most likely person (who is NOT an avid reader who will read anything) to read your book?

If I write military thrillers, might be a good idea to follow the military hashtags—#USMC, #Army, #Navy, #USAF. Make friends, talk to people. Maybe even ask for advice. Admit you’re a writer and you want to nail the details. Humans are a super-helpful bunch.

Many channels (#DiscoveryID), publications (#PopularMechanics), organizations (#NASA), and shows (#AHS American Horror Story) have created hashtags to encourage those who possess shared interests a place to chat and connect. If I write horror, why would I spend all my time posting on #amwriting #reader #amreading?

That is lazy thinking, devoid of any creativity.

I find it funny that we writers have the capacity to dream up parallel universes, new forms of magic, unknown technology and yet, when we get on social media? #writers, #books #readers is the best we can come up with. SMH (*shaking my head*).

This is a huge reason why writers misusing Twitter and abusing automation vexes me so much. Twitter is probably THE MOST effective way to locate our potential readers globally, talk to them, and eventually cultivate a relationship that will hopefully a) create a reader fan and even b) ignite a passion and enthusiasm for our brand (books) that will spread to that person’s network.

Effective social media works logarithmically.

If we’re working linearly, that is a long, hard way to be effective. Feel free to add one person at a time to a mailing list, but remember your competition is working exponentially by cultivating relationships.

Twitter DOES have the capacity to help us go viral, but it is still an investment daily of US. I have a little over 15,500 followers. Other authors SMOKE me on number of followers. But I’d rather have 500 VESTED and passionate fans than 300,000 ‘followers’ who could care less what I have to say.

Not ALL Sales are Direct

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

Actually most sales aren’t direct.

When we take time to be human and talk to people without an agenda, they appreciate it. In fact, as technology improves and becomes more ingrained in our lives, it’s getting harder and harder to find anything (or anyone) authentic.

Much of what we see/experience on-line is crafted, automated, filtered and fake. We’re lonely and hop on line to chat, only to find ourselves rooked into chatting with an automated message posing a a real person talking…which feels awesome never.

So two ways to look at this. Some see all this phony baloney as a problem, a barrier. ME? I see ALL opportunity! The more OTHERS get lazy and rely on automation, gimmicks, and faux drama, the more appealing authenticity becomes. Being present, vested and real gains value day by day by day. #Preach

The secret to success in business, branding, writing, etc. is always to look at what OTHERS are NOT doing. Copying what is already supersaturated is comfortable because when it doesn’t work we can fall back on the Well, everyone else was doing it so it seemed the right thing to do.

Stepping out to do what NO ONE else is doing (or few are doing) THAT is the area where the magic can happen.

Twitter Magic

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

This said, if everyone is automating because that is what all the ‘experts’ preach and promote? Do the opposite. You be you and be real (pretty much good advice for everything). THIS is how we stand apart.

When we’re real and talk to others (with no agenda other than chatting like we did in the olden days), it’s good for us. We’re forced to think about someone other than ourselves and what WE want. It’s great training in learning to listen, and pushes us to be a bit vulnerable.

It’s also good for our souls since most of us feel icky simply talking to people so they will BUY something. Conversely most people these days have almost no trust for others and have their guard up waiting for some sign we’re actually being a faker who wants to sell something.

Especially on Twitter.

If we focus on just being cool, those walls come down. We make a friend, others have someone cool to chat with on a break at work and eventually (sure) they realize we have a book or books for sale.

Power of Word-of-Mouth

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

If 95% of all we talk about on Twitter (or elsewhere on social media) has nothing to do with selling stuff, no one is going to mind us mentioning a book (And if they do get p!$$ed off? They’re touchy so let ’em go).

Though this can’t be our conscious objective (because people will sniff this out as being phony because it is), remember we may not be selling a book to the person(s) we’re directly talking to. This is why we should talk to anyone who wants to have a cool and respectful conversation.

Maybe they don’t like our genre. This is NOT where we move on because this person is never gonna buy a book. Maybe they love gardening and we love gardening. Talking to this person is still an investment in friendship but ALSO in sales. Remember, most sales aren’t direct, they’re based off recommendation.

And, people DO buy gifts. Just sayin’.

I have people who aren’t into hard-core thrillers who bought my book The Devil’s Dance for family and friends who DO read the genre I write. Many of you who come to this blog to learn about craft and social media bought my THRILLER (*gets all misty-eyed*) even though it’s not your thing, and my blog has nothing to do with murder and cartels.

THANK YOU! (and please feel free to buy more copies 😀 )

Kristen Lamb, social media for writers, building a brand with social media, building a brand using Twitter, how to use Twitter, Twitter for writers, Twitter and brands, How to Go Viral, finding readers

Never underestimate the word-of-mouth power of someone who may never buy our book.

I have all KINDS of people I talk to who aren’t authors. BUT they have friends or family who are, or who aspire to be. Whose blog and social media book do you think they recommend?

If they’ll do it for me, why not you? Go serve and be the friend you’d like to have and watch something incredible happen.

In the end, using Twitter wisely is a fantastic investment that doesn’t take a lot of time. A handful of tweets a day over time grows deep roots that eventually yields fruits.

I love hearing from you!

What do you WIN? For the month of AUGUST, for everyone who leaves a comment, I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Upcoming Classes for August & September

Brand Boss: When Your Name Alone Can Sell

Instructor: Kristen Lamb
Price: General Admission $55.00 USD/ GOLD Level $175
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Thursday, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST




Building Planet X: Out-of-This-World-Building for Speculative Fiction

Instructor: Cait Reynolds
Price: $55.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Saturday, September 8th, 2018. 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. EST



Populating Planet X: Creating Realistic, Relatable Characters in Speculative Fiction

Instructors: Cait Reynolds & Kristen Lamb
Price: $55.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Saturday, September 8th, 2018. 1:00—3:00 p.m. EST



Beyond Planet X: Mastering Speculative Fiction

Instructor: Kristen Lamb
Price: $55.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Saturday, September 8th, 2018. 4:00—6:00 p.m. EST




The XXX Files: The Planet X Speculative Fiction 3-Class Bundle

Instructors: Cait Reynolds & Kristen Lamb
Price: $110.00 USD (It’s LITERALLY one class FREE!)
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Saturday, September 8th, 2018. 10:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m. EST.


Recordings of all three classes is also included with purchase.



Go Fish: Finding the Right Beta Readers

Instructor: Cait Reynolds
Price: $55.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Friday, August 24, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m.




More Than Gore: How to Write Horror

Instructor: Kristen Lamb
Price: $40.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: THURSDAY, August 30th, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST





Keywordpalooza: Tune in, mellow out, and learn to love keywords for Amazon

Instructor: Cait Reynolds
Price: $55.00 USD
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: Friday, September 7, 2018. 7:00—9:00 p.m. EST



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  1. Great article with relevant information. Thanks or sharing.

    • Gail Walrath on August 17, 2018 at 7:14 pm
    • Reply

    I love Twitter. I listed “Politics” as my subject of interest. Around 95% of my followers share the same politics as I. The other 5% include animal lovers,writing, gourmet cooking and travel. I vet my followers as if they were applying for a National Security position with me–and I do not hesitate Blocking those who use hate speech, serious profanity, porn or men looking for a date. (These things do not happen often, but I can spot them a mile away!) Twitter is quick, yet I love sharing ideas and thoughts. I prefer quality in followers and not quantity to feed my ego.

    At this present time, a large group of us are joining forces to provide a united front for Midterm Elections. I have met so many learned intellectuals and witty individuals who refresh my day. Facebook is just too slow for politics-besides, my dearest friends and family are on my FB. I would never want to offend them.

    The only problem with Twitter is it is addictive, yet it is good therapy. So many promote their businesses or latest books on Twitter. Literally 500 to 1,000 will view your comment at any given time. Those who want to know more, will respond to one of your tweets. I have around 6,000 followers and growing. The most successful Tweeters take the time to respond to a Tweet they like. If you tweet a monologue, I find that people are not that interested.Give it a go. You may be surprised to reach so many people.

  2. Being interested in All The Things is a lot of fun, but potentially turns into a major time-suck when you suddenly have access to All The People twittering about All The Things.
    It’s tempting, but part of me says I should get a handle on what I”m doing already before I start branching out.

  3. Great post, Kristen! I joined Twitter in 2009 to follow a favorite author, but how it worked was a mystery to me. [I didn’t “get” it.] I didn’t use it myself until last year when my first book was published, and then I did what all other authors I saw did – advertise my book every other day, usually with a snippet of dialogue or plot. I guess I was spinning in a hamster wheel, much like the one you occasionally post. 🙂 You made me realize I need to do more to engage and connect with readers. My problem has always been coming up with a subject. I will endeavor to find something interesting to tweet about. And I’ll follow up on the tweets that interest me. Maybe there’s a reader waiting to be discovered. Thanks for enlightening me.

    • Suzanne Lucero (@S_Lucero) on August 18, 2018 at 5:44 am
    • Reply

    Bless you, Kristen. I found you on Twitter lo! these many years ago and have never regretted it. Which reminds me, I haven’t been authentically active on Twitter for a while, mostly just retweeting things, so I think I’ll get my arse in gear and start posting again. Thanks for the kick in the pants. 🙂

  4. I’ve been touting Twitter to my author buddies for a couple of years. Most of them give it a shot and then give up. They’d rather throw up a couple of tweets about their books and move on. They tell me ‘there are no real people there other than other authors’.

    Yes, I could easily have twice as many followers as I do. I’ve weeded out a lot of bots, men looking for dates (also likely to be bots), lots of schemers looking to sell me followers or something else equally nebulous, and a lot of businesses just looking to sell me something, period. I have to say, maintained and nurtured, it’s the best platform around for connecting with your peers and with your readers.

    • Nancy Hansford on August 19, 2018 at 1:30 pm
    • Reply

    Kristin, after receiving and reading your emails for some time, I finally clicked with your comments about twitter. I have finished my first cozy mystery novel and am in the revision stage. It’s obvious that I must become involved with twitter to promote my book. Thank you for the boost.
    Just as important, thank you for the seeds of ideas that I can tweet about.

  5. I’m afraid I neglect Twitter. A tweet goes out when I publish a blog, and I occasionally post a tweet of my own. Your post has made me realize I could do so much more.
    Thank you.

  6. Thanks for this post Kristen, you’ve given me some more ideas for Twitter. I’m uncomfortable when it comes to my blog posts, but I’ve found that the hashtag #MondayBlogs created by Rachel Thompson to be helpful when it comes to getting the word out.

    I became so fed up with the bots on Twitter that it was difficult to find any conversation, so it’s great to see the #MyWANA thread happening once again. 🙂

  7. I love Twitter. It’s possibly my most used platform. And yet still I see authors whose entire feed is just tweets about their book. Or they still send auto-DMs saying “Hi, I love my fans, thanks for following me” and assuming I’m a fan because I followed them. Erm, hello, YOU followed ME?! So many authors still get it really badly wrong then complain Twitter doesn’t help them. *head desk*

  8. Thanks again, Kristen, for all your wonderful words of advice. I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and have learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. The process of – not only writing a book, having it edited, doing rewrites and then edited again – but taking it to the next level and attempting publishing can be overwhelming and daunting. When I started this journey of wanting to publish my series, I had no idea of how long it would take and how much I had to learn, and still need to learn. But you’ve helped by taking the scary out, and showing us that it’s really just a business, (and as an entrepreneur, I get that part) and social media is just a place to meet people of like mind. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience with us who are still trying to figure it out. It’s people like you who keep me focused on my goal.

    • Robbie Cheadle on August 21, 2018 at 12:44 am
    • Reply

    Your thoughts here do make a lot of sense. Twitter for the “throw it out there and see what happens” social media where you seek out the gems, Facebook to share what you think is good. That is right. I hadn’t thought about it before.

  9. Most interesting. Maybe I need to learn to drive that Twitter parked in my basement. At the moment, I don’t even know where to put in the key.

  10. Hi Kristen, It’s funny that I have stumbled upon your post today because I have spending A LOT of time on social media trying to figure out how/where to post to find readers. I even did a Facebook ad and because I didn’t know what I was doing, it failed miserably. Anyway, I had come to the conclusion that I LOVE Twitter for meeting new people. Facebook just suggests people they think I might know and Instagram just tells me about friends I already have on Facebook so what a circle that is! Twitter, however, I have met people far and wide and yes, I have struck up lovely conversations maybe about a place I had lived before or something else similar and made friends all around the world! I had come to the conclusion that if I was going to spend any time at all on social media, it would be Twitter. And lo and behold, you post pops up and encourages me to follow my gut.
    Thank you!!

  11. You’ve given me tons of ideas on how to connect with potential readers. I’ll need to spend some time finding the specific # that represent the topics I uncover in my novels such as emotional wounds, overcoming fears, and women who presevere. My Twitter feed is mostly other writers and writer sites at the moment so you’ve helped to see I need to follow a variety of people in order to engage with women who aren’t only writers.

    • AG on September 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm
    • Reply

    I don’t know. My Twitter feels so random that I’m not sure whether to continue at it or not. But I need Twitter so I stick with it.

    1. With time it should make more sense. If not, still wise to keep that communication line open anyway. It doesn’t take a lot.

    • Joseph Bells on November 14, 2018 at 4:21 am
    • Reply

    I am a professional blogger, and I value Twitter a lot. The reason I can say this proudly is because I use WizUgo [com] as my Twitter account automation tool. Wizugo is so amazing that I can schedule my tweets according to my desired time and I don’t need to be online all day for that too. A mobile-friendly awesome tool for Twitter.

  1. […] are not the only way to reach readers. Kristen Lamb discusses using Twitter to build a powerful brand, and 8 things to avoid doing on Twitter. Frances Caballo shares 10 tips you need for a successful […]

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