Twitter for Authors: 20 Ways to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books
1. Understand Your Audience – Success on Twitter, or with any marketing effort, starts with understanding your target audience. What are their interests? What challenges do they have that you can help solve? Who are they? What books do they read? When you understand your audience, you can tailor your content to meet their needs and interests.
2. Share Blog Posts – Every author needs a blog so if you don’t yet have one, this should be priority number one. Then, share each new blog post—title and link—on Twitter. The goal is to entice your audience to click through to your site, thus increasing traffic and audience engagement. Shorten links with http://bit.ly.
3. Repeat Your Tweets – For each new blog post that you share, schedule it to tweet again—and again and again. Users aren’t all on Twitter at the same time so most won’t see your first tweet. Retweet it the following week, a week after that, then every other week for up to three months. Yes, really! The goal is to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Use a tool like Hootsuite to preschedule posts and download a handy Twitter tracking sheet here.
4. Share Content from Other Sources – Follow industry news sources and experts who share content your audience would enjoy, and then retweet their content to your audience. The point is to become a resource for your audience and give value, even if the content isn’t always yours. This can also help you gain favor and recognition from those whose content you share.
5. Have a Human Presence – Engage with your audience by thanking them for retweets, answering questions, and asking questions. Don’t automate everything. Instead, show them that you’re paying attention.
6. Track Keywords – You can monitor keywords on Twitter to see tweets by users covering your designated word or phrase, and then you can reach out to them. For example, if you’ve authored a book on how to travel through Italy, you could monitor keyword mentions for “Italy,” “Italian vacation,” etc. Then, when you find related posts, send a tweet to the user saying, “@bizauthor – Heading to Italy? Bet you’d love the Guide to Your Best Vacation in Italy! <link>.” Yes, this may sound corny and it will take time to execute, but it can be effective. Use TweetScan to find current tweets by keyword.
7. Share Photos – Twitter isn’t just about text. Share photos (like your book cover!) using Twit Pic.
8. Share Videos – If you record videos, easily share them with Twit Vid.
9. Follow Your Audience – Follow the people you want following you. The hope is that they will follow you back and pay attention to what you’re sharing. Last year I came across a list of journalists on Twitter and followed those who wrote about business. A couple of weeks later, I landed a major media interview with one of them, and another several months later. More importantly, follow your potential readers. You can use these tools to find people to follow: Twellow, We Follow, and Twitaholic.
10. Follow Back – I believe in following back users who follow me. It’s a good way to repay the social currency of a new follower, and if you want your readers/customers to know you’re paying attention, it just makes sense to follow them back. You can automate the follow back process with a free option from Social Oomph.
11. Send Auto-DMs – When new users follow you on Twitter, you can send a direct message with a note of thanks. Leverage Social Oomph to set up an automatic direct message. I use mine to invite users to my Facebook page (with link). You could also invite them to your website, your book’s listing on Amazon, etc.
13. Make it Easy to Monitor – Tweetdeck is a free tool that you can use to monitor Twitter activity and create lists of those whose tweets you want to pay attention to. When your audience grows, this tool will help keep it manageable. You can also easily retweet and respond to posts with Tweetdeck.
14. Pay with a Tweet – Here’s a nifty app that you can use for book promotion or other give-aways. Pay With a Tweet is a free service where you can create a button for your site and allow visitors to download a freebie (ebook, sample chapters, special report, etc.) in exchange for a tweet. This is a fun way to build some buzz and engage new readers! If you’d like to see it in action, I’ve been using it to give away PDF version of one of my books: Booked Up! How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book to Grow Your Business.
15. Cross-Promote – Your social networks shouldn’t stand alone. Cross promote your Twitter account on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Periodically invite your followers on other social media platforms to come on over to Twitter, and vice versa.
16. Promote Recent Tweets – WordPress users can take advantage of a plug-in called Recent Tweets, which creates a dynamic sidebar widget to display your recent Twitter activity on your website and encourage site visitors to view and follow you.
17. Make Your Site Social – Be sure to add social sharing buttons to your blog so that visitors can easily tweet, post to Facebook, etc. I like the Share This plugin for WordPress.
18. Tweet Old Blog Posts – One of my favorite WordPress plug-ins is Tweet Old Post, which automatically tweets out your old blog content. You can set time intervals and exclude specific categories or posts. Readers don’t care how old content is as long as it is still relevant and this will ensure you are tweeting around the clock.
19. Hold a Contest – Whether you give away sample chapters of your book or a bonus item with purchase, contests can be a great way to build buzz and increase your following.
20. Find the Fun – If managing your social media presence feels like an obligation, it will probably never get the results you want. It works best when you have fun and truly enjoy it. I have to say that I’m a Twitter addict. I use it as a learning tool and a way to stay on top of industry trends. It’s also rewarding to hear from readers, watch your content get retweeted, and realize that you’re making an impact on people’s lives. Commit to making it something fun you do each day and you will be rewarded with greater results. Also, it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. I spend less than 30 minutes per day on social media since I schedule most of my content and peek in on Twitter in between calls and activities. Once you find your groove, it gets a lot easier and you’ll realize that it can be a worthwhile investment of your time.
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