Looking to take Twitter to the next level?
If you’re consistently engaging with your readers on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and your newsletter, and you’re looking to add a new twist to your social media engagement, consider setting up a Twitter account for one or more characters in your book(s).
This method was widely successful when used by the creators of the video blog series The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, a series of short YouTube videos that portray a modern-day interpretation of Pride and Prejudice. During the course of the series, each character had their own Twitter account, where they not only tweeted their thoughts, but interacted with viewers. While The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was a video series, and not a book, you can still use the idea to engage readers and promote enthusiasm for your work.
Not sure it would work for a book character? Consider this: hundreds, if not thousands of Twitter accounts exist for book characters, and many of them have thousands of followers.
Intrigued? We’ve outlined the steps you’ll need to take to do this yourself. Read on!
Setting Up A Character Twitter Account
1. Decide if this approach is right for you.
Obviously, this approach will not work if you’re a non-fiction author. It also will not work if you don’t have the time to invest in creating your character’s online persona. In addition to sending out regular tweets, you’ll likely also want to interact with your readers who tweet at your character, so this is a project that could potentially take up to several hours a week.
If you don’t have the time to invest in another Twitter account, or if your fan base doesn’t interact much on Twitter, this approach is probably not for you.
If your fans interact frequently on Twitter and you have the time, this approach may be perfect for you. Keep reading.
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2. Commit to a certain period of time.
The character Twitter accounts for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries ended once the series ended. With a book, however, deciding on an ending point for this project is a lot harder. Unless you’re writing a series of books, it’s unlikely you’ll want to continue this character’s Twitter account for years.
Commit to a short period of time—three months, for example—and re-evaluate when the deadline starts to approach. If you’re not finding that your readers are engaging, find a way to intentionally end the account. Even one tweet that says, “It’s been great, y’all, but this is my last tweet!” gives a sense of intentionality, rather than just letting your character fade into oblivion.
If your fans are engaging, however, continue to commit to short periods of time, and end after you feel that you’ve achieved your goal with the account, but before your engagement starts dropping. It’s better to leave your followers wanting more, rather than waiting for them to get bored.
When you do end a character account, don’t forget to point the followers back to your personal Twitter account.
3. Set up the Twitter account
Set up the account as if you actually are the character setting up the account. Practically, this means don’t use the book cover as the background, or otherwise make it obvious that the account isn’t real. Make it believable, so that your followers feel like they’re truly interacting with the character.
Choose colors and backgrounds that reflect the personality of the character. Pretend like your character is setting up their own professional profile–what would it look like?
4. Tweet more than just quotes
If your character has a lot of witty rhetoric in your book, it will be tempting to tweet a lot of their quotes. But only tweeting quotes won’t give your followers the feel of interacting with the character.
Not sure what to tweet about? Again, try to put yourself in your character’s shoes. What do they enjoy? What do they do in their daily life? How would they feel about some of the events currently in the news? Keeping it relevant both to your character and to real life will help create the “real” feel of the profile.
What if your book is historical fiction? Don’t be afraid to try some humorous commentary on modern-day events from a historical perspective. For example, what would Emma Woodhouse think about online dating?
Above all else, maintain your character’s unique voice.
5. Choose a Twitter app to help you keep up with multiple accounts
Using a third-party platform will help you keep track of mentions, interactions, and tweets for multiple accounts, as well as allowing you to pre-schedule tweets. Since you won’t have to constantly sign in and out of multiple accounts, it will help save you time, as well as keep you organized.
What do you think? What are some of your favorite character Twitter accounts? What questions do you have?