You’ve been using Twitter for a little while now to promote your book. You’ve uploaded your profile pic and posted a bio. You’ve been tweeting, re-tweeting, favoriting, replying, following, and gaining followers yourself. You’re familiar with hashtags, mentions, and direct messages. You’re using Twitter in order to share interesting information, post exciting news about your own writing career, and join other conversations. (i.e. — you’re not a Twitter spammer; you’re not just screaming “Buy my book” every few hours.)
If the above describes you — congratulations! You’ve graduated to the status of intermediate tweeter. (Sounds like a condition, right?) In this article, you’ll learn a few new tricks to take your Twitter game to a whole new level. And you can do all your tweeting in less time than it takes to cook, eat, and clean the dishes.
Effective book promotion on Twitter in less than 2 hours a week
Monitor the Twitterverse using TweetDeck or HootSuite
The advanced search on Twitter.com is ok for finding people to follow, but it doesn’t let you monitor multiple conversations on Twitter in real-time. That’s where 3rd party platforms like HootSuite or TweetDeck come in.
Imagine if you could graft instant Google Alerts over everything being said on Twitter. That’s essentially what these social media apps/dashboards allow you to do. You can set up multiple “searches” — for instance: your author name, your book name, your genre, etc. — and see who’s talking about the things that matter to you.
When I started my poetry blog, I knew I wanted to follow poets, editors, and poetry publications on Twitter — but finding READERS of poetry was equally important. TweetDeck helped me do that by monitoring who was discussing the poets I was writing about, as well as more general terms like “contemporary poetry” and “American poetry.” If someone out there in the Twitterverse mentioned Charles Olson, for instance, I’d see it right away, check out their profile to assess whether they’re actually interested in poetry, and reply to their tweet with a link to a video about Olson I’d just posted on my blog.
And just as good, TweetDeck and HootSuite let you manage multiple Twitter accounts from one dashboard. That’s particularly useful for me when I’m managing my personal Twitter account, the account for my blog, as well as occasionally monitoring the Twitter accounts for BookBaby and CD Baby! Saves me from having to leave Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and IE all open at once.
Use Bitly and Google Analytics to track interactions
Bitly — the popular URL-shortening site — also lets you see how well those links you’ve tweeted are performing. Are your followers clicking? When are you seeing the most clicks? This information will help you determine what content is most engaging, and what times of day you’re most likely to see a response. You can then use that information to more strategically schedule your tweets. (More on scheduling tweets below). Knowing what to post and when is key for interaction, and high engagement is more likely to lead to sales.
For details on the specific kinds of data Bitly provides, click HERE.
If you’re not already using Google Analytics on your website — do it! Once you are… add campaign tags to to the end of your website URLs before you shorten them with Bitly. Suddenly you have another window into the effectiveness of your Twitter links, since Analytics will provide you with detailed info about the traffic Twitter referred to your website.
Once you know what kinds of tweets have the most reach, and when they get seen by the most eyes…
Schedule your tweets
Ever wonder how some people are just ALWAYS on Twitter, day and night? Here’s a secret: they’re not. They’re actually golfing, or writing, or sleeping. Those people are using the aforementioned TweetDeck or HootSuite tools to “schedule” their tweets for the day or week in advance. They write a bunch of tweets at once, feed ’em in, set the date and time that the tweet should go live, press save, and bam! Back to living in the real world.
I highly suggest you create a tweet schedule to simplify things. Here’s one way to begin:
Determine how often you should be tweeting —
I recommend at least twice a day, and as high as 40 times a day (if spread reasonably throughout the day). Remember, Twitter users will usually only see your content if they’re logged on at the same time as when your posts go live — so it’s ok to be highly active as long as you don’t see a bunch of unfollows in response.
It’s also ok to send multiple tweets about the same subject or link throughout the day or week, but it helps if you change the approach or wording each time. For instance, you could post a YouTube video Monday morning and say, “Here’s me reading 3 poems at the Key West Poetry Conference.” And then later that night, tweet the same video and say ,”Check out this nasty sunburn I got in the middle of winter while reading poetry!”
Determine what kinds of content you want to share —
I suggest an even mixture of original stuff from your blog, news and announcements about your career, re-tweets of other people’s content, links to articles you find interesting, follower-engagement questions, etc.
Draw up your schedule —
If you decide two tweets a day is ideal, it might look something like this:
- Sunday morning – Link to an article about the literary world
- Sunday evening – Personal anecdote about your writing life
- Monday morning – Link to your book on sale at Amazon
- Monday night – Recommend something you’re currently reading
- Tuesday morning – Share a review or other bit of news about your writing
- Tuesday night – Link to a video of a famous author reading
- Wednesday morning – Tweet your latest blog post
- Wednesday night – Complain about something in a funny way
- Thursday morning – Ask a question of your readers
- Thursday evening – Re-Tweet something from one of your heroes
- Friday morning – Announce a special Friday giveaway contest
- Friday evening – Get CRAZY — the weekend’s almost here!
- Saturday morning – Talk about something controversial
- Saturday night – Thank people who retweeted or followed you throughout the week
Look at that; your tweeting for the week is done! Just spend 20-30 minutes on Sunday night writing and scheduling all those posts, and check back in on Twitter once or twice a day for 5-10 minutes of replying and you’ll be set. Easy, easy maintenance. Many social media experts recommend dedicating at least 30 minutes per day to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
Use Twitter lists
With every Twitter account, you’re allowed to create up to 20 lists. What is a Twitter list? It’s a curated group of Twitter users. Basically, you can lump people together and view a stream of only their tweets.
Now it’s important to know that lists don’t allow you to target your tweets. They’re used only for READING tweets. But by grouping people that you follow into lists (and even people you don’t follow), you can more easily manage your own tweet reading. You can also subscribe to/follow lists that other people have created. Put authors in one list, publishers in another, agents in a third, bookstores, your own avid readers, etc.
Word of warning, though: lists are public unless you set them as private, so don’t create one called “World Class Jackasses” and put a bunch of critics in there who might review your book one day.
For more information on creating and using lists, click HERE.
Hopefully this gives you a few new things to play with while you’re using Twitter to promote your writing career. Try ’em out and let us know how it goes.
For some other resources, check out:
Also, check out Chris Seth Jackson’s “Twitter Guide for Musicians.” Yes, it’s geared towards musicians, but substitute “author” for “band,” “book” for “album,” and “book launch” for “CD release party” and you’ll be all set. He does a nice job of distilling some of the information above while clarifying with real-world examples.
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