Advanced Twitter Tips for Authors

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Search & Listen on Twitter by Frances Caballo

Pew Internet Research Project Results & How to Search and Listen on Twitter

If you use Twitter – and I certainly hope you do – then you’re going to be interested in the Pew Research Center’s newest demographic results from Twitter users.

We know that 23 percent of online adults living in the United States are active on Twitter. This figure represents a 5 percent increase over the previous year’s numbers.

And thanks to Pew Internet Research Project, we know more about these users. According to this study:

  • The typical Twitter user is an 18 – 29-year-old educated member of a minority group with a well-paying job. The numbers for gender tilt in favor of males
  • Of the 1,597 Internet users in the U.S., who are age 18 and older, 24 percent of the men and 21 percent of the women use Twitter.
  • Black (27 percent) and Hispanic (25 percent) users are far more likely to have a presence on Twitter than whites (21 percent).
  • 8-29 year-olds (37 percent) make up more than one-third of all users.
  • 30-49 year-olds account for another 25 percent.
  • 54 percent of users had at least some college experience and employed. Fifty-four percent of that same subset earns a minimum of $50,000 annually.

Pew Research

Interpreting Pew Internet Research Results for Authors

What Twitter tips for authors can we glean?

YA and New Adults writers need to have an active presence on Twitter. Your readers are here.

Also, writers of crime and suspense novels would do well on Twitter as well as authors who write in Spanish, bilingually, or who write novels based in Spanish-speaking countries.

Authors who write books in which African-American characters figure or historical accounts of the civil rights movement, slavery, and related issues, should use Twitter as well.

Does this mean that only these types of authors should use Twitter? Not at all. But know that the user base can influence your success on Twitter.

In fact, what’s interesting is the number of online adults who are 65+. Their numbers on Twitter have doubled, from 5 percent of Twitter users to 10 percent. Can you market your books to this demographic?

Among people with a college education, that statistic has increased from 18 percent to 30 percent of online adults who use Twitter. This number may imply that authors of literary novels and poetry might do especially well on Twitter, but not necessarily.

There are plenty of college graduates who love romance, suspense and crime novels. I think more research is needed.

Finally, the presence of urban dwellers has increased by 7 percent, from 18 percent to 25 percent. It would be worthwhile, I think, to take the research a step further and find out the buying preferences of urban dwellers to determine what they read.

How to Find Your Readers with Advanced Search on Twitter

What if the audience of your novels don’t match the Pew Research Center’s results? You can still find your readers on Twitter. Let me show you how.

In the search bar, type the hashtag that your prospective readers would use to find books like yours. This works especially well for nonfiction books.

Let’s say that you wrote a book about intuition or intuitive individuals. Use the hashtag #intuition and #books and then hit your Return key. If you don’t like the results, then click on Advanced Search and fill in as many fields as you can.

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Next, supposed that you write literary novels. I typed #literary #novels #reader #bookaholic into the advanced search field. The results included tweets from authors and readers.

So there’s a bit of sorting you’ll have to do.

You can also look for book bloggers by typing #book #blogger.

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You’ll need to remember that search on Google is different than conducting a search on Twitter. Your search results on Twitter will be in real time, and the messages tweeted in the last few minutes and seconds will always appear on top.

How to Listen on Twitter

It’s good to tune occasionally in on what your reader demographic is saying on Twitter. To do this, type this URL: This is the page you should see next:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.33.07 PM

Type in your handle to see who’s retweeting you. And type in a variety of hashtags related to your genre. To reach readers, include hashtags such as #reader, #amreading, #bookaholic, etc.

If you’d like to learn more about Twitter, type #Twitter #tips.

Here are some more fun word combinations you can use:

  • To search for a colleague’s tweets, use from:TwitterUsername
  • To search for tweets with links from a specific Twitter user type: from:TwitterUsername filter:links
  • You can even check on conversations between to Twitter users by typing from:username1 to:username2
  • To search for tweets near a place type near:place
  • To search for Twitter users within your regional area type near:place: and within:10miles

You can use these features to talk with other writers who write in your genre, to find new followers, and to join conversations you otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

Have you used any of these search features before?

Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

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  1. Nice post! I’d never thought about combing two hashtags in the search bar to narrow the findings. Love that idea. I’d never heard about this method of searching for posts from an individual person. Thank you! I’m signing up for the newsletter.

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