First, you follow as many people as you can. If you're querying, agents are a good place to start. Clients of those agents. Bookstores. Other authors. Just follow them and build your Twitter stream FIRST.
Then we work on getting people to follow you back, the Make New Friends Plan!
The best way to do that is talk to people you don't know.
Same as it was in junior high when you were the new kid, and just as awful now as it was then.
So, how do you talk to people?
You watch for people asking questions, and not just "what's the capital of Freedonia" kind of questions either. Then you chime in with an answer.
I've fact checked books on Twitter when I needed a boots on the ground view of a city. I was damn glad to have those answers, and ended up following back a couple of the kind strangers.
I've offered up comments on things in the news (not all that often) and had interesting conversations with people who replied.
My client Loretta Ross found herself with a spectacular burst of new followers when she asked about people's favorite holiday memories. My twitter handle got caught up in that madness and my stats on "mentions" went up to 81%. And my mentions weren't hovering in single figures before that.
|this is the screen shot from 12/7/18 not the actual ApocolypticTweetStorm
So, finding common ground.
And being brave.
And being brave once a day.
For a long time.
It helps of course if you have a fire-breathing shark on the other end of your phone once a week but fellow authors can help in that way as well.
One thing you want to be careful of is including people you don't know in tweets with things like "Hey I wrote a story for Christmas."
Or worse "here'e my blog post on things I learned in 2018" and @ a bunch of people on the tweet that you don't talk about in the post.
Generally you don't alert strangers to your blog posts by using their name.
If you want to alert strangers to your blog posts you do this:
You can find common ground by responding to things they post:
And notices of things that other writers like you will find useful is always worth a re-tweet.
And if you have a pal who is also building her platform, you can make introductions so to speak, IF the topic is of interest to her:
I'm using Twitter as an example because while Twitter is a wasteland, it can also be very useful IF you are judicious.
Some absolute no-no's on Twitter:
3. insults, particularly around religion and politics. Not everyone agrees with you. Some of us aren't witless idiots.
I recently posted an observation that #45 did not recite the Apostle's Creed at President Bush's funeral service in DC. I thought it was pretty ironic. I also thought it was small and petty of me to notice and I said so. A lot of people agreed with me, and I own that. But the people I won't hear from again (cause I muted them) were the ones who took that opportunity to fire a shot across the bow at Christianity in general. I know there are people who have strong feelings against my religion. We live in a place where that's ok (at least I hope we still do.)
But it doesn't mean I have to listen to you.
And if you're in the business of building a following the last thing you want is people putting you on mute.
Twitter can be useful in driving traffic to your other sites (like Facebook, Instagram etc)
It can also be a tar pit for the unwary.
I think of Twitter as the bushmaster of social media. Yes it can kill you faster than any other snake in the world, but if handled correctly, the venom is a potential treatment of cancer.
Building your platform might be one of the things you're going to work on in 2019. The trick is to work on it for a little while, every day. You won't get a lot of followers quickly.