1. Not Using Twitter
Twitter is a fantastic tool for building a fanbase and finding out about the great work of other creators. It’s miles better than Facebook for exposing your comic to new audiences. That’s certainly been the case for my comic, Satanic Hell. A crucial key to making Twitter work is staying active on it.
2. Not Following Others
Which of these scenarios would you rather have for your twitter account?
A) 341 following and 4,500 followers B) 20,000 following and 20,000 followers
One reaction: Situation A looks cool. 4,500 people follow me and I don’t have to follow them back. I must be making a name for myself.
Another reaction: Situation B is going to expose a lot of more people to my work, get my tweets more retweets and create new fans. Imagine what that will mean for my readership, my sales or if I run a Kickstarter.
While Situation A may seem great, it doesn’t take into account all the people who unfollowed the account because they weren’t being followed back. I’m a little shocked when I find indie creators who don’t follow back. This happens with comic fan & review sites too. A site like Nutzo4Comix.com (feel free to use this name) will only have 1,600 followers and won’t follow others back. I assume the idea is to “naturally” grow their followers and by having more followers than followed, it shows being “sought after” and having a “real” fanbase. This perspective is narrow and not wholly true. You can have real fans and create new ones by following others and following back. And the fact is, unless people are following names like Fiona Staples or Warren Ellis, most will unfollow those who don’t follow back.
On top of following back, you should also follow people, such as the followers of like-minded comic books and fans. You’ll reach a lot more people and will likely discover cool comics and sites along the way. Feel free to unfollow those who don’t follow you back. Obviously you don’t have to follow back spam accounts, self-help gurus and the like. Apps like Crowdfire and ManageFlitter are a great help.
If you’re worried about your feed getting cluttered because you only want to see certain types of posts, then create lists. Have a list for comics, another for artists, another for friends or whatever you want. I have one list for all my followers who are artists, comic sites, or creators and another for musicians. That way I can be sure to catch the latest of whatever they’re doing and promote the stuff that catches my eye.
If your goal is to expand your audience in a highly competitive media environment, then follow others and follow back. Twitter is a social space and people like the idea of people listening to them. It’s the choice between waiting five years and hoping your audience will grow “organically” to 5,000 followers or having 5,000 followers in six months by following others and following back.
3. Only tweeting about your own comics
If you’re only tweeting about your own work, then your feed will be less interesting and less inviting. As a result, less people will follow you. Besides your promotions, post about relevant news or your own non-comic updates. Support other creators and things you like by retweeting their work. Promote their Kickstarters. Indie comic creators need to support each other to help ensure this vibrant community keeps growing. Most people already understand this, but I do run into the occasional account that solely focuses on their sales pitch or promoting their comic site.
4. Not using pics
Some creators have automatic tweets of links from Facebook posts or from apps tweeting how many followers they gained this week. These updates rarely attract interest and at worst are just spam in your follower’s feeds. Avoid these. One problem with the automatic Facebook updates is that there are no pics or explanations accompanying the links. When showcasing your own work or someone else’s, use a pic and watch the likes and retweets go up. It doesn’t mean every tweet needs a pic, but use them when relevant for highlighting your work or someone else’s. There are comic sites that tweet a link to reviews of comics without an accompanying pic and I see how little if any interaction the posts get. I am much more likely to check out a review if I see a pic of what the book looks like. So use pics and include a link that connects to your website like Al from @ComicCrusaders.
5. Not pinning a Tweet to your page
When you follow others, many of them will check out your Twitter profile before following back. A pinned tweet at the top allows them to see your most recent or important link and pic. Not only does this give them a good intro to what you’re about, if they like what they see they will check it out and retweet it.