Twitter is a great social media and marketing tool. The opportunity to reach thousands of people is remarkable. But it is easy to become just another voice yelling into the internet with nobody listening to a word you say.
As with any social media site, you need to be engaging. Make sure that you talk with other people on twitter, not just spam your followers with links to your books, blogs, articles, etc. Resist the urge to buy followers. It is better to have 2,000 followers who are truly interested in you than to have 15,000 followers who do not engage. Above all, follow the age-old adage "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You want people to re-tweet your stuff? Re-tweet other peoples' stuff. You want people to read your blog? Read other peoples' blogs (make sure you comment so they know you are doing it! I frequently comment on the blog, and then comment on twitter.) You want people to click on your book links and buy? Do the same for others. Be honest, be fair, and play nice!
Now, some specific tips for marketing on twitter.
Don't just announce "Hey, I wrote a book, please check it out at i'manasshat.com"
That could appeal... to... your mom... maybe.
Find creative, attention-grabbing ways to engage the audience.
Ask them a question that your book can answer.
For example: "Looking 4 great Sunday activities? Discover your inner creative with Creative Exercises to Inspire, on the Nook
Give a great teaser about your book, such as this one by author Monty Fowler " A #supernatural #war raging for millions of years follows man as he conquers our solar system & heads to the stars. http://amzn.to/twucradle"
Quote people/ interviews about your book, such as "Royal Prince Vince; the best story you can read your child this year!" https://www.createspace.com/3700225 Wendy Sampson -- LCSW"
Find unique details that would appeal to your audience and set your book apart from other books in the same genre, such as Michelle Brookes clever line, which totally sold me! "Plz ReTweet: If you like girls that blush & bad guys that sparkle, best not to peek under the covers of Bone Dressing. http://goo.gl/blM9B"
And of course, capitalize on even the slightest holiday. For example, with Mother's Day coming up, you should be using it to market your book. Ask Amazon! They have been rocking the holiday marketing!!
Now there are some cheats out to get your name out there, to get tweets referencing your book. I have not found that they have done me much good, but I haven't really seen any harm (other than possibly time wasted) so I will share it with you as well.
World Literary Cafe has a group of authors who work in tweet teams as a systematic way to get your book out there. It is sort of a free version of cross marketing. And free is awesome right? Well, you get what you pay for with this one. I have found that a lot of folks who post their tweets, don't always return the favor. I suspect there are several reasons for this. The cynic in me says, "they want something for nothing". The struggling artist in me thinks that maybe because the rules of the chain are hazy, perhaps not everyone gets how you are supposed to do it. But here are some tips to keep that from biting you in the rear, should you decide to participate. I make sure to go in and follow anyone I am posting for. At the end of the day, I check to see if they have shared mine. (Two reasons, A. I can re-tweet their tweet and B. I can mark them on my bad Karma list if they have not!) Next time they are in my tweet chain, I will tweet, but am even more inclined to double-check them if they did not share the first time. Three strikes of not sharing, I don't do their tweets.
As I get more authors following me on twitter and I return the follow, I am developing my own sort of homegrown karma chain and this one seems to be much more effective. (Hint: if someone, like, say, me! RT something of yours on twitter, then you should go in and find something of theirs that you found interesting and RT it back. Karma... yup!!)
Managing twitter could be a full-time job, if you are not careful. Here are some tips to streamline the process and save you time:
1. Utilize Tweetdeck. It will allow you to pre-program messages to post at a certain time. This is great for your advertisement, and if you do tweet team, it is invaluable, so that you can post everyone's tweets in one short setting, without spamming the crap out of your followers!
2. Each and every creative tweet to get someone to market your book can be used again! I have a word doc with all of them from each of my books. Once a week I go in and program tweetdeck to post advertisements for my books. I try not to post more than three a day, and I mix them up so that they are not all from the same book. I also cycle through my ads to make sure I am not using the same ones too much. Ones that get RT get * next to them to be used more often because they obviously got peoples' attention, right?
3. Find some credible sources to pick up friends directly related to your profession. Linked, Goodreads and World Literary Cafe all have discussion threads for twitter follow backs.
4. Whenever you follow someone, if you wait half a second suggestions pop up, follow those too! I get fifty e-mails a day (on average) for follows and follow backs. It is worth it.
5. There are a lot of folks on twitter who are... not honest and don't play fair. Early on I found my twitter followers fluctuating very drastically. One day I had 1,000 followers, the next I only had 800. A nifty new tool allows you to see who followed you back and who un-followed you after you followed them. There is nothing that will turn people off faster than seeing the follow and follower numbers drastically different. Keep yours relatively balanced by getting rid of dead weight. I believe that it is important to be following more than are following you and as you gain more followers, then the distinction between those numbers can increase at a proper percentage. But if you are following 1,500 people and only 300 are following you back... that just looks bad. Conversely, unless you are already super famous, if you have 15,000 followers and only follow 1,000. Yeah....
6. Do not rely too heavily on these time savers, as your authenticity will drop. For example, even though I have Facebook updating my status on twitter, and tweedeck posting several times a day, I still go in and post genuine twitter updates, taking advantage of Tweetspeak, hash tags and all that fun stuff. Without that, my twitter account would just be an extension of my Facebook account, and twitter users would feel it. It becomes disingenuous.
Well, those are my tips for twitter, over the course of a year and a half of working with it. Do you have any other tips? I would love for you to share in the comments below! Any questions about twitter? Post those as well.