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More Twitter Tips For Newbies

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Emma’s Twitter Tips for Newbies Series

Part 2 – More Twitter Tips for Newbies - this blog post

What Is A Pinned Tweet?

A pinned tweet appears as the first post on your feed.

Why Do People Have Pinned Tweets?

  • Many writers pin their book or blog to their pinned tweet so that it is the first thing people see on their feed (great non-intrusive promotion). I’ve seen dozens of tweets from readers asking writers to pin their books so that they are easier to find (and buy or download - WINNING!)

  • A pinned tweet could be something you’re especially passionate about and would like people to see

  • A pinned tweet can give people a great first impression about you, so make the most of the opportunity

  • During #PitMad, it’s advisable to pin your pitch at the top of your feed so it’s easier for agents and publishers to find it

How To Pin a Tweet:

  • write a post and tweet it

  • go to post

  • click on down arrow in to right corner next to your name

  • select ‘Pin to your profile’

Following Pitfalls

What If Someone I’m Following Doesn’t Follow Back?

  • Individuals with large followings receive an insane number of notifications, especially if they are interactive on Twitter - as I have found out for myself! It’s super crazy (in the best way ever) but super busy and when Twitter throws an auto refresh into the mix, everything gets turned upside down! It could be that your follower notification has not been seen

  • Here’s how to fix that: unfollow them and immediately follow again so that a new notification pops up for them

  • It's a good rule of thumb to give people about a week to follow you back - not everyone is on Twitter everyday

Okay, I Re-followed Someone But They Still Aren’t Following Back

  • Have you checked out their profile and feed properly to see if you are compatible? For example, their bio says no politics and you retweet and discuss politics a lot - they might not want this coming up on their feed, which it will if they follow you

  • At this point, it’s up to you whether you still want to follow that person or not. If you find their posts insightful and informative, you might still follow them for that. If not, it’s okay for you to unfollow them

  • Some people are more cautious about following back right away and prefer that you engage and chat with them first

  • This is where the mantra ‘it’s not about the numbers’ comes in. Some people prefer a small following of a close-knit group of followers they trust and engage with frequently. They don’t want to follow a bazillion people. There are plenty of other writers out there gagging for your follow

  • Celebrity and business accounts with an enormous number of followers usually don’t follow back, neither do most literary agents or big publishers

What’s not cool to do is DM (direct message) or tag people in a post who are not following you with “Hey, why aren’t you following me back?” I haven’t seen any instances where this kind of aggressive approach earns anyone a follow

Engagement on Twitter

Figure Out What Time Twitter Is Most Active In Your Time Zone

  • There are third-party apps that can analyse all this for you

  • Or you can just figure it out by good old-fashioned trial and error

  • Post at different times. If your tweet doesn’t gain traction in the morning, try retweet it (yes, it’s okay to retweet your own posts) in the afternoon or evening and see which time delivers the most responses from folks

Ways to Engage Followers

Comment, Like and Retweet

The easiest way to get to know people is to comment on, like and retweet their posts. This is a great way to figure out who in the community is the comedian or who is struggling with something or who has just achieved something great. You don't have to fix the world's problems but just dropping someone a hug GIF if they are having a down day or wishing them Happy Birthday might just make their week. Celebrate other people's successes - it'll be your turn one day.


  • Fun polls might seem trivial and unimportant but that’s exactly why people love them! My first poll that caught serious traction was all about favourite ice cream flavours! Fun polls aren’t offensive in anyway and they inject a bit of fun into people’s day.

  • Serious polls are great to target a specific answer for your business.

GIF Games

Ask a question (any question) but have your followers reply with only a GIF. Some great GIF game topics for writers (you’re welcome to use them) are:

  • Using a gif only, show the opening scene of your WIP (work in progress)

  • Using a gif only, show what you think you look like when you’re writing

  • Using a gif only, show how your MC (main character) reacts when they first meet your antagonist

  • Using a gif only, show how your WIP ends

  • Using a gif only, show what your antagonist in your WIP is currently up to

  • Get creative (you’re a writer!) and come up with your own ideas!

For more funny and random GIF games, check these out.

Encourage Engagement Between Your Followers

A great way to grow your exposure on Twitter is by giving back to the writing community.

You heard right, promoting others actually gives you the greatest exposure and grows your following.

Engagement ideas:

  • Follow Friday (#FF): this is the day many people promote their followers in #FF tag posts. Some people randomly tag a bunch of their followers in their posts (IMPORTANT UPDATE: Twitter changed their rules in September 2019 and if you're caught tagging long lists of accounts, you risk being suspended).

  • Others put a lot more thought into the process and pick a handful of interactive, kind or helpful folks to promote to their other followers and explain why they are so awesome to follow. Any kind of positive support and promotion you offer your fellow writers is fantastic!

  • Just remember to un-tag people in follow lists when you reply, see my post TWITTER TIPS FOR NEWBIES about how to un-tag people.

  • Encourage and invite writers new to Twitter to let themselves be seen on your post with a quick “Hi”, or a GIF, or an intro to themselves.

  • If someone retweets your pinned post, reciprocate with a retweet of theirs (if their content is agreeable to you).

Remember to always screen your followers and encourage new folks to do the same before following back

Someone who I’m not following and who is not following me has jumped into my post. What do I do?

Firstly, screen them carefully. Do they tick all your boxes?

  • Yes! Great, you just found a new person to follow! Say 'Hi'.

  • No! It’s entirely up to you whether you want to promote that person on your feed. Don’t feel pressured to do so, just because they jumped on board, especially if their content makes you uncomfortable – you can always ignore or block them

In the spirit of the writing community, it’s worth it to give folks a fair go. Perhaps they didn’t follow you first because they’re shy or they think you have so many followers that you’ll never see them anyway, so why should they bother.

If someone instigates contact with you by dropping a comment on your feed, give them the benefit of the doubt and give them a follow (after careful screening, of course).

What Should I Chat About on Twitter?

It’s your feed to do what you like with, your choice entirely. Decide what your purpose behind having a Twitter account is. Try and be consistent with what you post to begin building your brand. This isn’t my area of expertise, so check out what the pros have to say about this.

If you’re planning on using Twitter to promote your upcoming book, check out my suggestions on my TWITTER TIPS FOR NEWBIES blog, especially about what not to do.

Keep in mind that offering strong opinions on your feed about hot button items (politics, religion, sexual orientation, social justice, animal cruelty or the latest topic hitting the news headlines) can gain you followers who believe the same as you but this can also lose you followers.

Offering Writerly Advice

Many new writers doing their research crave information about learning their craft or determining whether traditional or self-publishing is best for them. Over time, I’ve learned that while people seek this kind of advice, they don’t like being ‘told’ what to do. The trick is in the nuance of language.

My tips and advice are not hard and fast rules that everyone must use. I share my experience with folks from a ‘this is what works for me’ point-of-view. Folks can then pick and choose, or ignore my ramblings at their leisure.

I don’t profess to be an expert, which is why my advice is always littered with links to the experts or to brilliant resources.

I’m not here to reinvent the wheel but I am more than happy to present the results of my research in one spot for people to have a peek at. To see how I do this, check out my blog about BUILDING AN AUTHOR PLATFORM.

Reasons Why You May Find Yourself Unfollowed

Offending Someone

No matter how well-written or kindly meant your tweets are, there are always going to be people who interpret your words negatively. In one of my #FF posts, I added ‘Be kind folks’ to the end of my tweet and got publicly named and shamed on someone’s feed because they felt that me TELLING people to BE KIND was offensive. I just shrugged, unfollowed and moved on.

Opposing Opinions

If you lose followers after posting a strong opinion piece, it’s not great practice to harass folks and demand to know why they stopped following you. Just shake it off and find more people from your tribe - the number of peeps in the Twitterverse is vast!

Being Mean

Going on a rant one someone’s post, getting into a nasty argument on someone’s post with another person (not even the original poster), or naming and shaming followers on your feed are just some of the ways to lose followers. Many writerly folks come on Twitter to be part of the #WritingCommunity and to chat about books and writing, not to be thumped with unkind words.

Number Farmers

If you follow someone and they immediately unfollow you, they are just farming for numbers and not looking for engagement. Simply unfollow them and move on – this is unfortunately a blah side to Twitter and happens a fair bit as your followers grow. It's not personal.

Soft Blocked

Soft blocking is a non-confrontational and ‘polite’ way to stop someone from following you without slamming them with the big red block button. To soft block someone, block them and immediately unblock them. This action simply breaks all direct contact with that person and unless they are super vigilant about who follows them, it is likely they will not notice. You will still be able to see their comments come up in other’s feeds but neither of you will be following one another.


Blocking someone using the BLOCK button is a very final and definitive way of never seeing that person’s content again or of having them see yours. If you block someone and they comment on another of your follower’s posts, you will see them come up as a grey box with a message saying that this content is from someone you’ve blocked. They will also see you as a grey box in that conversation and that you’ve blocked them.

Twitter Block Chain

You might have inadvertently been culled in a Twitter Block Chain. Since I have only recently learned that this feature exists, it’s best to let the experts explain.

It’s my understanding that innocent folks can get caught up in this throw net. Again, it's not personal.

It’s Twitter’s Fault!

Keep in mind that Twitter does crazy stuff sometimes, like automatically have your favourite peeps unfollow you. Why? I have no idea - perhaps something to do with Twitter’s algorithms that clean up bots and inadvertently clean up a few of the good guys in the process (if you’re a Twitter tech expert, please explain to us mere mortals in the comments below).

I have actually seen Twitter glitch before my very eyes where I followed someone and Twitter immediately unfollowed them!

So, before you get all hot and bothered under the collar, assume the worst and go on a public rant about being unfollowed, understand that it may not be personal and may have happened for a whole load of reasons out of that person's control. Just re-follow them. If they don’t follow back (or you find yourself soft blocked again), have another read above of the reasons why some people don’t follow back.

If it was a Twitter glitch and you both realise you were unfollowed from one another, have a laugh about it and shake your fists at the Twitter deity that controls us all!

My Rookie Mistakes

Inadvertently Unfollowing or Blocking

During my Twitter housekeeping sessions where I clean out anyone who has unfollowed me, I have occasionally and inadvertently caught a few innocents in the crosshairs and unfollowed a genuine follower. It’s a monotonous job keeping your Twitter following clean and your eyes see double eventually! My universal apology to those folks!

Dropping my phone on a few occasions has also accidentally unfollowed people as I've juggled my falling device like a hot potato to prevent it crashing to the floor.

During my first #PitMad, I enthusiastically retweeted everyone’s pitches but soon realised that without muting the conversation of the pitch I had retweeted that my notifications were blowing up with everyone else retweeting or commenting on the pitch. I inadvertently blocked a person instead of muting their pitch. I was mortified! It happened so quickly and I had no idea how to find them to unblock them.

I do know now – go into settings and it shows you the list of all the accounts you’ve blocked. You can find that person and unblock them.

Misunderstanding How Twitter Works

In the very beginning of my journey on Twitter, I completely misunderstood the differences between:

Muting a conversation VS muting a person

  • muting a conversation stops your notifications blowing up on popular tweets

  • muting a person allows you to follow someone but none of their posts come up on your feed – you can still interact and chat with them in posts you are both tagged in

Muting a person VS turning off retweets

  • muting a person keeps you following someone but none of their posts come up on your feed

  • turning off a follower's retweets allows that follower’s own posts to come up on your feed but not their myriad of re-tweets

Unfollowing a person VS blocking a person

  • unfollowing a person means you no longer see their feed - though if they are still following you, they can see and comment on yours

  • blocking a person is the final whammy, usually reserved for truly offensive, divisive and heinous stuff – oh and BOTS! Blocking bots saves you from receiving creepy DMs or being trolled in your comments

If you realise you've made some of these rookie mistakes, go easy on yourself - we've all done it! It's okay! Happy Tweeting!


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Unknown member
Jun 27, 2020

Thank you so much for sharing. I inadvertently unfollowed someone a few days ago. All is well, but I'm glad I'm not the only one to make this mistake.


Richard Harris
Richard Harris
Apr 15, 2019

Will be returning often to check what else I’m doing inefficiently. Consider yourself followed 😁


Apr 11, 2019

Really useful advice. Made even more pertinent and appreciated after having frustratingly fumbled my way through Twitterland for the past eight months. Thank you Emma!

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