I have a recurring conversation with one of my freelance writing buddies who I’ll call Max. Here’s how it goes.
Me: You really should put a photo up on your Twitter profile. You still have the egg.
Max: I don’t really use Twitter that much.
Me: I know but, as a writer, you really should. It’s kind of how us writers connect and share our work and give props to each other.
Max: Well, I have my Instagram linked to my Twitter.
Me: Yeah, that doesn’t really work that well. It’s better to treat each social media platform like its own thing and post specifically to it. Especially if you’re trying to build a personal brand around your writing.
Max: I know, I probably should. I just don’t really go on Twitter.
At this point, I usually give up, knowing that we’ll circle back around to the topic in a few months, and knowing that, those few months down the road, Max will still have the generic Twitter egg for his profile pic.
I decided to break down for him, and all the other freelance writers who aren’t on Twitter (yet), the reasons it’s a really good idea to be active on Twitter. If you already are, great, keep tweeting. If you’re not, here are 8 reasons you should start tweeting today.
1. Writers Hangout On Twitter
There are writers on all of the social media platforms, but you’ll find that Twitter is a hotbed of us writers sharing tips and resources, ranting, introducing other writers we admire, and supporting one another. If you’re a writer, you want to be at the Twitter party.
2. It Takes Time to Build Up a Following
Building a following on Twitter is an exercise in patience. You may sit in the single digits for days, then hover in double digits for months, and triple digits for years. But if you share interesting information, engage with other people, and use hashtags and attribution, you’ll start seeing those numbers grow. Once they do, there’s a snowball effect. It took me five years to hit 1,000 followers but eight months after that, I’m at 1,560-plus. The journey of a thousand Twitter followers starts with the first tweet.
3. Publications Love When You Have Twitter Followers
You know what publications love? Traffic. You know what one of the main drivers of traffic is? Social media. If you have a large Twitter following, you become more valuable to editors and publishers who understand that they can expand their reach to a new audience as you share your articles and blog posts with your own Twitter followers.
4. Twitter Provides Social Proof
When people see that you have 20 or 50 followers, there’s not a lot of social proof that you’re tweeting interesting/fun/informative/fresh content. But, when people see that you have 500 or 1,000 followers, they assume there’s something worthwhile being shared so they hit that “Follow” button.
5. Many Publications Include Your Twitter Handle in Your Bio
You know those little bio sections at the bottom of articles where you get to write in third person about your interests and experience? Many of those sections also include a link to your Twitter feed. If you write a kickass article, it would be great to pick up some new followers when they see how active and engaged you are on Twitter. If your Twitter feed is nonexistent, or it has virtual cobwebs on it, those potential followers will quickly move on and forget about you.
6. Twitter is a Fantastic Way to Share Your Own Content
Do you blog? Publish on LinkedIn? Ramble somewhere online about the ups and downs of being a writer? Twitter is a great place to share links to your own content and start building up an audience of your own. Create catchy headlines, use hashtags to target specific audiences, mention any influencers you write about, and share your content at different times. You might be surprised at the traffic you can generate to your own website or blog.
7. You Can Make Great Connections On Twitter
It doesn’t seem like 140 characters is much to shout about, but Twitter is a great equalizer and those 140 characters provide plenty of space to meet other freelancers, find industry leaders, give a nod to someone who created something epic or useful, and connect with other around shared interests or causes. There are a bunch of people who I connect regularly with on Twitter who I may or may not ever meet in person. We link to each other’s work, give a virtual high-five with a Twitter “Favorite” star, and refer people who may need their services to them.
8. You Can Find Work On Twitter
Twitter is all about making connections, and those connections can lead to jobs. Sometimes publications put a call out that they’re looking for new writers, sometimes writers mention good publications to write for, and sometimes potential clients reach out to you through the platform. Last week I received my third freelance writing job offer through Twitter. The first was someone who found me by searching for sharing economy tweets, the second was from an organization that discovered my tweets about freelancing and future of work, and the third was from a tech startup that wants me to write about coworking for their blog.
For Max, and any other freelance writers or bloggers who doubt the…dare I say necessity…of having a presence on Twitter, I’ll say this: maybe it’s not for you. Maybe it’s just not a fit with your lifestyle, audience, or niche. But, give it a solid try. Learn the Twitter best practices, start engaging with people, use the search feature to find people with similar interests, and share great content. You may find it as valuable as I do.
Do you use (and love) Twitter? What would you add to this list to get other freelance writers to jump onboard the Twitter bandwagon?
Photo: Startup Stock Photos