You have probably heard how effective social media can be when it comes to promoting small businesses. In most cases, yes, it is true. Social media can be very powerful; if used wisely, it can boost sales beyond expectation. However, is social media promotion as simple as sending 1,000 tweets a day, asking your followers to buy your book? Definitely not. Twitter (and other social media platforms, for that matter) is a community. As such, unless you become a valued member of that community, your endless “buy my book” messages will be ignored at best, and at worst, marked spam (your account can be deleted if Twitter receives a lot of spam reports about you!). The following are some effective ways to promote your book on Twitter, sans the danger of getting blocked:
- Create an author profile that’s different from your personal account. Make sure that your author username is short and descriptive. Think branding. You would want people to associate your username with your book. If you’re writing mostly about solo travel, for example, you can try getting usernames like @solotraveler or @solotravelwriter. If you have a blog where you promote your work, you can use an abbreviated version of your blog name too. Ours, for example, is obviously taken from our website. Make sure to keep it short and simple, though.
- Tweet content that your followers will find useful. Content can be text (either yours or someone else’s, with citations of course), picture, or a link. You can tweet helpful articles from other writers, guide and tips on a topic related to your book, and some quotable quotes from your book and others. Before tweeting it, ask yourself: is it genuinely interesting? Does it provide value to my followers? Again, don’t just tweet your own information; tweet others’ too. You don’t want to appear self-serving.
- Schedule your tweets so as not to flood your followers’ feed. Most people don’t have the luxury of being online for hours at a time. Thus, they may open their Twitter account only once during the day, and then send all the tweets they want to send in one go. This strategy doesn’t work. Flooding your followers’ feed teaches them how to ignore you. They may even report you as a spammer. The best way to avoid this is to use social media schedulers like Hootsuite. You can sign up only once a day and yet send out tweets (and Facebook updates) consistently the whole day.
- Engage and have a conversation with your followers. Twitter is a community, and as such, it pays to have a conversation with people who are following you. It’s as simple as replying to a tweet from your followers, or answering the questions they have posed. By putting yourself out as an expert in your niche, you will encourage people to buy your book.
- Network with other authors and publishers too. Aside from just engaging with your readers and followers, make sure as well to connect with other people in your field. Be helpful to them (e.g., by tweeting them helpful contacts or resources), and learn as much as you can from them about the publishing industry.
- Promote your Twitter profile to get new followers. Make all your social media accounts clearly visible and easy to follow. If you have a blog or a website, ask your readers to follow you. Include your Twitter URL in your email signatures, business cards, brochures, or any promotional material. You can also host a contest or a giveaway which can improve your profile’s visibility.
- Maximize Twitter by learning how it works. You don’t just paste a link, for example, and tweet it to your followers. Nobody will click that link, much less talk to you about it. Write a brief description of what the link is all about, shorten the link through bit.ly, and then use a hashtag as much as possible. Hashtags are especially useful when it comes to retrieving archived tweets. You can monitor keywords related to your niche using hashtags.