Let’s talk about a phenomenon that has taken Twitter by storm: the #Writingcommunity #Writerlift #Wednesday posts.
For those who’ve not had the privilege of discovering these mad events, let me break down what it is. Every Wednesday (and a lot of Saturdays, and Sundays, and apparently any time someone hits or almost hits a new arbitrary follower count) these lifts are purportedly designed for networking with fellow writers, boosting your follower count on twitter, and helping one another out. But after a few months of participating, I’ve found some concerning issues with these events. Let me break them down so you can protect yourself.
Don’t go to Twitter Jail
One of the dangers of #writerslift is that many authors put their content in and then go through this thread with hundreds of comments, following every single person who comments. In a day or two, they will unfollow all who don’t follow them back. That’s not networking. That’s follow for follow, which is specifically against Twitter policies. Twitter will lock your account when they see you following and unfollowing large numbers because that behavior is against twitter terms of service.
So if you decide to participate in these events, don’t just randomly follow. Be selective. Follow writers in the same genre. Follow 10 to 20 and then interact with them and give them a chance to follow you back. If, after a week or two they don’t follow you back, you can let them go. It’s hard to be patient and grow your following slowly and steadily. I totally understand. But as I mentioned in my Twitter Tips, you are better off with 5,000 true fans who you are actively engaged with than to have 30,000 followers who never interact with your content (or worse, never buy your books.) Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the big number. But why would anyone do that?
Ask Yourself What is the Benefit to You?
There are many who’ve been in the #writingcommunity for some time and have asked a very valid question about #writerslifts: who is really benefiting from this? The person(s) who get the first three or four posts out and get RT’ed over and over and end up with hundreds of comments and RTs on their post most certainly. But does anyone else benefit from it?
What is the purpose of having a lot of followers on twitter? To show you have a platform and an audience, right? But if those numbers of people never interact or engage with you, then does it do you any good? Or did you sell your follow for a follow and now you’ve muddied your analytics to the point that you won’t even be able to use the data to advertise effectively?
But you can mitigate that, obviously. You can be selective about who you follow and work to build relationships with those people (hopefully) right?
Yes, but…. I think there’s something else going on with a lot of these #writerlifts. There are people exploiting authors’ desperate desire to build a following and are using that to build up accounts and then sell them. I can’t prove that, but I’m generally pretty selective about who I follow. I have key qualifications that determine who I follow on Twitter, and I am very big on making a concerted effort to engage with and interact with those I’m following as well as with my followers.
I have participated in a lot of #writerlifts in the last three months. In the last month or so I’ve noticed some oddities. I have a strict unfollow principle. If you are someone I’m interested in following but you don’t follow back, I put you in the appropriate list and then I unfollow you. In the last two months, I have had way more unfollows than I have previously. (I’ve also seen others complain about experiencing this after doing a lift. Some people are predatory. Whatever.) The weird part is that when I go to unfollow these accounts, they have a crazy imbalance (like 300 following, 28K followers.) and they have nothing to do with any of my buckets.
I don’t follow random people. I don’t follow insurance companies (and yet I was unfollowed by three in the last month.) I don’t follow musicians unless I actually know and like their music. Yet I have a bunch of synth pop, dubstep, and rappers unfollowing me the last two months.
So am I saying you shouldn’t participate in #writerslifts? No, actually. But re-evaluate why you’re doing it and be careful who you do it with. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon. But when someone you know does a lift and it fits your needs then by all means, participate.
I do #writerslifts every Wednesday on my own page. It is truly about networking. I mix it up every week and keep it narrowed to appropriate audiences. This inherently means that I don’t get a ton of shares or comments, but I’m not in it to get a ton of comments or likes to boost my numbers. My hope is to help people network and if we work together and remember what the purpose of #writerslifts are then my efforts will gain ground.
I am looking to network with my #writerlift. I will ask for specific genres. I also ask you to list your favorite author, booktuber, book blogger, whatever in that genre. This isn’t about follow-for-follow. This is about introducing others to people you know who are amazing.
This is putting the social back into social media. Which is great because it’s kind of like doing the #FF. You are recommending someone, which makes them feel special when you tag them. You are following fellow authors, bloggers, etc in your genre, which is really helpful. And if you play it right (build a list and add them to it.) you are providing yourself easily curated content to RT as needed to fill out your own content. And by RTing them (you guessed it) you build that relationship and make them feel special. They are then more likely to return the favor and RT your content. Suddenly you find yourself in a group that are lifting one another up.
Win/Win/win because your fans win too by being introduced to other amazing content that they will hopefully love too.
So, feel free to join me every Wednesday for my lift. If I’m featuring outside your genre but you know others who are in that genre, please tag them. If I am featuring your genre, please tag others first before letting us all know you’re part of that genre too.
And if you’re doing a #writerslift, please feel free to invite me too. I love them when it’s done by authors I know!
Until next time,