I have always had problems connecting with Facebook's interface, and in fact, many of my 'friends' seem a lot less active these days. Either that or I just never see their posts because of Facebook's incomprehensible algorithms. I never set up a Facebook author page, deciding instead to use Twitter as my primary promotion platform, and as a way of connecting with other writers.
You have to relate to Twitter with an understanding of what you can get out of it. Most of my followers are fellow writers, so I never shout out "Buy my book" in my tweets. I have sold a few books directly thru Twitter, but I think I could count these sales on two hands. So, why is Twitter important to me?
More than anything else, Twitter has increased the readership of my blog. I write a lot - about Israel, Bulgaria, the craft of writing, book reviews, restaurant reviews, etc. I blog for The Times of Israel and Diplomacy Post. Because of my wonderful stay in Bulgaria, I have taken on a mission of promoting tourism to that country, so I blog about my travels there. By continuing to produce new, interesting content, and by linking to it in my tweets, I have increased the total readership of my blog from 50 page views a day to as high as 800 page views a day. Some of my blog posts have been read by thousands of readers.
So the question you're asking is how did I build up such a large following in such a short time? These are the main points of my Twitter campaign (not necessarily listed in any specific order):
1) Be proactive. Every day I follow new people and in most cases, they follow me back. I never go to extremes and in fact at one time my account was suspended for going too quickly. But I keep following more people, every single day.
2) Only follow people with shared interests. For me, if someone has "author" or "books" or "writing" or any connection to Israel or Bulgaria or travel in general listed in their profile, I will follow them.
3) Welcome each and every new follower with a personal greeting. In some cases I strike up a short chat with my new follower. This establishes a personal connection and frequently leads to re-tweets.
4) Thank every person who re-tweets. This requires a lot of work keeping track, but I think it's worth the effort.
5) Block anyone trying to sell you something and any profile that says "you can get thousands of followers." I could have reached 10,000 followers awhile ago, but I don't need these types to follow me.
6) Tweet a lot. My tweets are filled with links to good content. I have a lot of articles on my blog and I rotate them in my tweets. Usually I send out four types of tweets every day: One about Bulgaria / one about Israel / one about the craft of writing / and one related to my book. When I say "related" to my book, I may tweet about my book trailer and how easy it was to make it. (This helps sell my book indirectly).
7) Tweet repeatedly. I use HootSuite (free!) to schedule tweets, 2 an hour, every hour of the day. I believe that regular users of Twitter have a swarming stream of mostly meaningless tweets, with little chance of seeing something that appeared on their feed hours earlier. If you tweet only once a day, your followers will never see that tweet. But if you tweet the same tweet once every 2 hours, there is a better chance of its being seen.
8) Re-tweet and favorite. I do this whenever I discover interesting tweets posted by those I follow. Others appreciate this, so if you do it, they hopefully will reciprocate.
9) Communicate. I love to chat with people all over the world, encouraging them to visit Israel or Bulgaria, wishing them luck on finishing their novel, etc. The advantage of Twitter - you can respond whenever you want.
10) Un-follow aggressively. This is a give and take platform. If you follow someone and they don't follow you, just un-follow them. I use ManageFlitter (free!) and un-follow nearly 100 people every day. It takes just a few minutes. In Twitter you cannot let your numbers get out of balance, and this program helps keep things under control.
11) Don't follow people who will not follow back. Look at users' numbers. If someone has a disproportioned account, with a lot more followers than people followed, the likelihood that this person will follow you back is minimal.
The bottom line of building an author's platform with Twitter is: Don't expect miracles. This process takes time, patience and perseverance. I think there is a snowball effect involved. The more followers you have, and the more you tweet, the faster your following will grow. If you want increased exposure as a new author, using Twitter is an excellent way to achieve this goal.