The whole “How To Twitter” thing has been done to death, but I’ve never seen a post that addressed the human side of promoting your comics. The human element is the most important factor but also the most overlooked by creators. Here are some points that will help you not look like a jerk:
1. Be Interactive and Nice:
You are a brand. You are trying to build your brand…
No one cares!
Yep. Sorry to break it to you. No one cares about you, me, or the person sitting next to you. This is why promotion is so tough.
Twitter is about them, not you. They didn’t start a twitter account to bask in your godlike glory. They started a Twitter account because they wanted to for themself.
Twitter is about conversation.
How do you make people care? Be nice! Talk with people, not at them. If someone sends you an @ reply – reply to it! This person cared enough about you to say something. I’m sure the 2 seconds it will take to reply won’t kill you. I get a lot of @ replies and I get to as many as I can by logging in through my phone when I’m waiting for something.
It is part of my job. I like talking to people because I am very grateful for their support. If you don’t share my tendencies – maybe you should switch fields. This field is something you have to love because it is not easy. Your fans and friends are all you have.
If you ignore people all the time it comes off as if you don’t care about them at all. Their support doesn’t matter to you and you are just another annoying salesperson. Be yourself! Give them a face to care about and invest their time into.
2. Follow everyone back:
Opinion is divided on this, but I firmly believe that you need to follow everyone back. Personally I just like meeting new people. It also shows that you care. Again, Twitter is about them, not you. If you want to just follow people you know in real life – start a secret twitter for friends that isn’t attached to your comic. You made the decision to start a comic, now you have the responsibility of being the face of your brand. It is just a fact that potential fans and friends will often feel turned away if you don’t follow them back.
I follow and unfollow everyone back. I mirror. If I’m not worth someone’s time, they aren’t worth mine. If they want to hang out and talk, I’d love to and will interact as best as I can. This is how I personally see it. You might not see a follow/unfollow as personal, but a lot of people do. I mirror because it just seems fair.
(NOTE: Twitter glitches sometimes knock people off your follow list and sometimes fail to alert the user when they get a new follow. You can check your follows at FriendorFollow.com.)
People like @garthnell are exceptions. He is a fictional character from my comic that tweets out his perspective of the story as it is being told. He follows absolutely no one and he appeals only to people who are already fans of my work and following me. He is not evangelical – he is a value add for people I have already told about my work. His twitter feed is also populated on my website RSS, populated on my site’s right sidebar and on my iPhone app.
If my team had more bandwidth we would ideally follow and interact from that account as well. However since we can’t he follows absolutely no one so that everyone is treated the same. He doesn’t even follow or reply to me.
Consider your fans’ and friends’ need to feel accepted. Either follow all or follow none on fictional accounts only is my personal suggestion.
3. Don’t make every tweet a link to your website:
I know. Yeah I know. YEAH I FREAKING KNOW YOU HAVE A URL I KNOW MY GOD ITS IN MY FACE 9 TIMES A DAY MAKE IT STOP!
You will be associating with 2 main types of people on Twitter – Potential Pans and Other Comic Creators.
A. Potential Fans – Potential fans may look at your comic when you post it the first time, but if you are always tweeting your URL and never tweeting any other conversation you are going to become annoying really fast. Think of your URL as noise and your conversation with other people as signal. Signal is the sugar that makes the noise medicine go down and sound awesome. This needs to be balanced to be effective. I only post my URL when there is big news or something notable about my update that would be useful or appealing to my audience.
B. Other Comic Creators – Other comic creators are not your potential fan. They are a peer. An equal. A brother or sister. Some other creators may like your comic, but consider that a bonus. Most of us work with and socialize with hundreds of other comic creators. As much as we would like to, we do not have the time to read everyone’s work or the money to buy everyone’s T Shirt.. We certainly don’t react well to hard sales tactics from a stranger.
Personally, I love looking at other people’s work, but I like it when it comes out of a conversation and is not a stranger yelling their URL at me. Asking people for advice or their thoughts on your comic is a much more tactful way to interact with a fellow creator.
Other Comic Creators are your friends. The scene helps each other out by mentoring, helping you get traffic, getting you into conventions, and just plain having fun together. Do not try to hard sell to other creators. It will get you a bad rep. You will be the person that everyone avoids.
In addition to this, a list of URL reminders is what RSS feeds are for. I will not follow back a repeated list of your URL. I don’t think fans will either, especially if you are a stranger. Attempting to gain readers by following everyone you can with a repeating list of your URL is like taking off your pants and putting your junk in someone’s face. At least make an effort to talk to other people!
You cannot will people to click your URL. Don’t try. Pay attention to whom you are addressing and realize that they are not the same type of person. Take an interest in others because no one cares about a self-centered stranger. Log into Twitter and just reply to people’s tweets. Be awesome and conversational and the rest will follow. There is no shortcut to promotion if you are a one-person operation. You have to really love the field and love what you do – the rest will happen over time. The more you want to force something, the less it will happen. Be yourself and engage in conversation. People will respect you for that.