TWITTER FOR AUTHORS
Almost all authors know about Twitter.
Few authors feel that they really know how to use it.
Some authors believe that Twitter isn’t as effective for book marketing as it once was.
Other authors believe Twitter isn’t for them.
Yet many authors do use Twitter quite effectively.
One important note is that there isn’t just one way to use Twitter.
So you can find the right combination of tips to fit your needs and personality.
Twitter Tip #1: Make the Most of Hashtags
What you want is a hashtag that your target audience actually checks out. Otherwise, your hashtag is wasted.
This takes some research. But the research is worth it because once you find an effective, relevant hashtag, you can use it not just for your current tweet, but for hundreds of related tweets in the future.
Many authors simply throw a hashtag sign (#) in front of any relevant word that seems to come to mind: #romance #mystery #book #kindle #actionpacked.
That’s just guesswork. Are readers in your target audience actually searching for tweets with those hashtags?
Find a variety of relevant potential hashtags and check them out. Look at the tweets that you find there. Is the content that you see there likely to draw in an audience? Next consider the Twitter users who made those tweets. If the best content is coming mostly from the same source, there is no reason for people to search for that hashtag: They can simply follow that one user and get all the best content that way. But if good content is coming from multiple sources, it would be easier to get that content by searching the hashtag than paying close attention to every tweet coming from a few different users.
But even if there is great content there, it’s possible nobody in your audience is actually searching for that hashtag. A little trial and error on your part may help you find gauge the effectiveness of a hashtag, as you can monitor your tweet engagement (you also need the kind of tweets likely to generate that activity).
If there is good content, but it’s drowned out by poor content, that’s a problem, too. It takes time to find a great set of hashtags, but it’s worth it if you do. (But keep in mind that those might not remain effective forever.)
Find authors with books similar to yours who appear to be using Twitter effectively. Check out the hashtags that they’ve used.
Note the #pubtips hashtag that I used for this post (publishing tips). I first learned about this hashtag when I saw Amazon KDP use it in a tweet with a publishing tip. Check it out here (you can learn a lot, as it’s packed with publishing tips):
You can even help inspire readers to regularly search for a particular hashtag. For example, you might get together with several other authors in the same genre, and come up with an idea for semi-weekly tweets likely to attract those readers. You might be able to get readers in the habit of checking out tweets in a particular hashtag. You have to put on your creative hat, and think of what kinds of tweets would draw in your audience. Something simple that you and others could do, which readers would appreciate.
Twitter Tip #2: Don’t Overdo the Hashtags
Two hashtags per tweet is a good rule of thumb.
#Nobody #will #read #a #tweet #that #looks #like #this #########!
Twitter Tip #3: Find Twitter All-Stars
Find and follow authors (both in and out of your genre) who appear to be using Twitter effectively.
You can learn a great deal about Twitter just watching from the sidelines for a couple of months. But you have to get good seats.
Beware that not everyone with a huge following is using Twitter effectively.
So look beyond the follower count. Also pay attention to engagement, as well as you can judge it from your perspective. If the content happens to engage you, especially when you were just checking it out to see how it’s done, you definitely want to pay close attention to those tweets.
Here are some things to consider:
- Do they include links? Are the links in the beginning? at the end? somewhere else? What kinds of links are they?
- Do they include images? How often do the tweets include images? What kinds of images? Is there text in the images? (Even pay attention to size, color schemes, and font styles.) What aspect ratio do they use? pixel count? (Right-click on an image to check out its properties.)
- Which hashtags do they use? How many hashtags do they include in a typical tweet? Are any of these hashtags relevant for any of your tweets? In what context is each hashtag used?
- How often do they tweet? How often do they retweet? How often do they self-promote? (If ever.) Do they ever draw up a new tweet to help promote someone else rather than simply retweet? If so, in which situations. Do they ever click the Twitter share button to tweet about relevant articles that they discover online?
- How do they make effective use of that very limited character count? What kinds of words are they using, and where are they putting them?
- Observe Twitter etiquette with regard to tweet frequency, direct messages, retweets, thank you’s, etc.
Twitter Tip #4: Get Started
You don’t have to turn into a Twitter pro overnight.
The first step is just to get started with something. Otherwise you’ll never get there. It will continue to be a nagging feeling that maybe you could (or should) be using Twitter more than you are now.
I’m not one of the Twitter pros yet. (When you find one, you’ll know the difference.) But I’ve taken the plunge, I’ve grown a following, I’ve followed many authors, I’ve done a ton of research on how to use Twitter (haven’t yet applied it all, but I’m getting there)… and that’s the way marketing works. You keep trying to improve and learn and try new things, and some of it will pan out. I started out with a simple WordPress blog a couple of years ago, and now I have a respectable following and average about 300-400 views per day. It functions as a content-rich website now, with most of my traffic coming from search engines, but it didn’t start out that way.
So if you want Twitter, or your blog, or any other aspect of marketing to work for you, the first thing is to take that first step and get it started.
Remember, you don’t have to build Rome in a day. You can take small steps and still eventually get there:
- If you haven’t already done so, sign up for Twitter and setup your profile.
- You can feed your WordPress blog posts (or Facebook posts) into Twitter. This will help give you some content at Twitter to help attract an initial following. It also helps connect an author who prefers WordPress or Facebook, for example, to potential followers who prefer Twitter. Let people follow you from their favorite platform. (But watch out for possible double or triple posts. For example, don’t both feed WordPress into Twitter and Twitter into WordPress—just do one or the other.)
- When you come across an article that’s relevant for your audience, use the Twitter share button to tweet it. This will give you something different to share on Twitter.
- Follow authors who appear to use Twitter effectively. This may help you learn some handy tips and build up the confidence to take a bigger plunge.
- Then you can gradually start to apply various tips that you’ve learned.
Twitter Tip #5: Search for Twitter Help
This is the information age. Take advantage of it.
Use a search engine to find helpful Twitter tips for authors.
Here are a few to help you get started:
Check out the comments for my blog post. You might find some valuable tips there. If you have any Twitter tips, feel free to share them in the comments.
If you leave a comment with a tip, please include your Twitter handle (@you) so people can check out how you use Twitter.
Twitter Tip #6: Use Twitter Analytics
Measure tweet engagement, check out follower demographics, and more.
Using Twitter actually gets you an abundance of information (that can help you market better as well as better understand your audience).
And it’s free:
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2015
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
- 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
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