Monday, August 8, 2011

Followers . . . Friends . . . What’s all the Fuss About?

Twitter and Facebook are just part of the new digital paradigm—and they’re here to stay. But deciding how to integrate them into your writing life can be tough. Today I’m going to give you a few pointers that should help.

I’ve been watching the threads on several email groups I follow and there seems to be quite a bit of confusion about how to get friends and followers and whether or not there’s any value to them.

Does anybody really care how many friends and followers I have?
Absolutely. One of the first thing a publisher wants to know when consider a book proposal (fiction or non-fiction) is what kind of platform the author has. And simply put, a platform is the number of people who are interested enough in you to possibly buy your book.

The number of friends you have on Facebook and the number of followers you have on Twitter are today’s equivalent of a mailing list.

I know people who have thousands of followers and friends—how can they possibly see any information of value in all that noise?
This question’s a little harder to answer. Yes, it can get to the point where the number of followers and friends seems unwieldy, but it’s all in the way you manage your online presence.

Well then how do I manage my online presence?
Two words—stay relevant. Make certain that what you have to say online adds value to your follower’s digital day.

So how do I get all these followers and friends?
  • Remember the old saying, “To have a friend, you first have to be one.” This little truism works in the Internet universe as well as in real life.
  • Follow people who interest you, who have valuable things to teach you. Chances are—if they’re not too famous—they’ll follow you back (just remember . . . stay relevant).
  • Use hastags when you tweet. Don’t know what these are? Here’s a link to a post I wrote telling you just how and why to use them.
  • Bragg on someone else. Nobody likes a conversation that’s all about me, me, me. Tweet about someone’s success. Pass on an interesting blog post. Suggest a new friend.

Special Note: I’m not advocating you blindly follow everyone who follows you. Follow the people who make sense to you, but do reciprocate in a timely fashion and when appropriate. I check my followers for new folks to follow at least three times a week.

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion I’ve been seeing. Let me know any other questions you have and share some of the advantages online networking has given you.


  1. I agree about not blindly following folks. I don't auto follow or use any type of program. I look at the bio and see if it is someone I would be interested in following. I also randomly (typically while traveling on a long road trip as a passenger) check to see who continues to follow me or not. I do this to keep my followers and following in check.

  2. Great info as always Edie! I've been trying to follow people who follow me-within reason-but I recently had to "unfollow" a few because their tweets were taking me forever to wade RT after another....10-15 in a row several times a day. I felt bad about unfollowing them, but I don't have time for that. Any advice on how to manage the people you follow?

  3. I have a pretty good grasp on blogging, and I know that my posts link to Twitter as well.

    You've said in another post that you tweet about 3 (maybe?) times a day. What does one tweet about if it's not on their blog as well. I'm still trying to get a better grasp on all this, but it's coming along.

  4. I've been utilizing the schedule you mention in Social Marketing for Writers and it's working great. Thanks to your advice to follow those who follow you (when appropriate) I've gained some followers that I know are actually getting relevant info from me due to their similar interests.

    @EllenAndersen: I struggled with deciding what to tweet beyond my automatic blog post too, so here's what I've come up with and it's completely manageable. I try to tweet 4x a day, 5 days a week like Edie suggests in the book.

    1. blog post for the day
    2. blog post that I've written previously that might tie in with current topic.
    3. quote relevant to the day's blog topic with a link to day's post
    4. Retweet of someone else that's related to my topic.

    The hope is that people w/ similar platforms or interests will say something related to your topic and you can support them as a fellow tweeter. :)

    If you haven't read Edie's book yet, I highly recommend it. The advice in there was so helpful and I'm really seeing great results from it.

  5. Very nice post. I do not blindly follow, friend, or like - why should I "like" someone when I don't know anything about them? Just so they can have 200 fans? When I'm followed on Twitter, I check out the person's tweets for the last couple weeks. If it's all about "me," I thank them for the follow and then delete. I also avoid self-promoters. Be a friend - you said it all there. Thanks to Stacy for showing me this blog.

  6. Stacy, I'm glad you commented about keeping followers and following in check. Twitter imposes penalties for those who don't watch that ratio!
    Lynn, I've had to unfollow a few as well.As far as managing my followers, I pay less attention to my general "friends" feed on Twitter and concentrate on the categories I've set up that interest me - like #write. Tweetdeck is my best friend in that respect!
    Ellen,I try to tweet about blogs I've read and the successes of friends and colleagues. Don't worry if it's already been mentioned - we all have different friends and it never hurts to repeat something.
    Allison - thank you so much! And your advice is exactly right. I like the way you've divided up your tweets.
    Karen - it's always wise to check people out before you follow, not just their description, but as you said, their actual tweets. I'm glad Stacy introduced us as well!
    Blessings All - E

  7. Great post, Edie. I can always count on you to make the most of my time. I'm learning much from your e-book and promote it whenever possible. Thanks!

  8. Thanks to Beth Vogt, I found your ebook and your blog. Thank you so much for helping me navigate social media! I posted a review of your book on my blog today--hopefully it will help others like me!


  9. Cathy - thanks for all your help!
    Debbie - thank you so much for visiting and for reviewing my book! I just joined your site. I can hardly wait to prowl around - I can tell it's full of wonderful resources for writers. I'm so glad Beth introduced us!
    Blessings All - E

  10. Thank you, Edie! So glad I was introduced to your book! It's just what I needed.