Today we’ll look at how you as an author can use hashtags in your tweets in order to attract followers for your Twitter author profile.

Here’s the basic information to compose your first #hashtag tweet.

Use the hashtag # symbol before a word you want to target. This will enter your tweet into a conversation based on that thread. Don’t put a space between the symbol and your keyword or between words in a phrase:

#mickeymouse #donaldduck #baby #author #bookmarketing

For this exercise, we’re going to use a fictional author named Arthur J. Author, who wants to build a Twitter platform to sell his new book, Frugal Retirement.

He has just started his Twitter account and has zero followers. He knows his target audience is over 60 and worried about money.

He has come up with a word list that he thinks will connect with his target audience: retirement, senior, senior living, frugal, budget, retirement savings, retirement budget, retirement blogs, retirement living, and how to save money.

Since he has no followers, anything he tweets has little hope of making a connection unless he uses a hashtag to break into an existing conversation. Using a hashtag will literally drop him into a traffic flow, sort of like getting on a highway full of travelers already. It will take him from walking barefoot down a cow path to speeding on the freeway in a BMW.

He starts his first tweet:

Arthur Wannabe’s new book, #Frugal #Retirement provides hundreds of ways to save money. Free report at[shortened link].

He hits send and his first tweet is out the door. He writes a couple more “selling” tweets but does not send them out all at once. Spacing them will be more effective. A good ratio is to offer one “selling” tweet for every ten tweets.

His next tweet that he will send an hour or two later might explain a budget tip, share a quote, funny story on retirement, a video to watch, an article to read by another author or anything newsworthy, fun, or inspirational that will be of interest to his target audience.

Watch this funny video! Aging woman fights back. [shortened link] I can’t stop laughing. #seniors #frugalliving

In this tweet, he has not mentioned his book, but is targeting the same audience with a relevant subject and uses a hashtag to stay in the conversation.

Several of the people who like the video will want to follow Arthur to see what he will offer next.

Twitter is all about building engagement. When using hashtags, every tweet should add something to the existing conversation. While not everyone who reads your tweet will automatically follow you, the more interesting and relevant your tweets are, the greater your chances will be.

After ten or so tweets, Arthur will send another selling tweet. This one is close to his first message with just a few tweaks to make it different:

Frugal #Retirement by Arthur J. Author provides hundreds of ways to save money. Free report at [shortened link] #seniorliving

There are a few behaviors to avoid in using hashtags. Using them could cause your account to be filtered from search or suspended. Twitter guidelines recommend using only two hashtags per tweet. Do not add a hashtag to an unrelated tweet.

Also, don’t use the same hashtag repeatedly without adding value to the conversation or tweet about a trending topic with a misleading link to something unrelated.

Writing tweets with hashtags is an important part of building a Twitter following. At Wheatmark, we believe in helping authors with every step of the writing and publishing process. Whether your book is is in the beginning or final stages to tell us about your project, tell us about it.