Getting my Twitter game going
For most authors self promotion is part of the game. Twitter is currently one of the best vehicles for that, so as a recently-published author I’ve been trying to get my Twitter game up to speed.
I’ve managed to triple my number of followers in the last month, so I think I might be starting to figure it out.
For many of us, one of the main goals of our twitter feed is advertising, yet few things turn people off more than advertising. If all I see from someone I’m following is an endless stream of ads I mute that person — especially if it is the same ad retweeted dozens of times a day. I can only assume that other people also do this, or at the very least become desensitized to the ad.
So how to advertise without advertising? I think that one of the keys is content. Twitter is an inherently low content medium, but that makes it easier. Just a few words that are funny or slightly informative, or point towards something that is more detailed. Most of our feed should be to establish our identity, so when someone looks at it they should be interested in following us.
I’m starting to think of twitter as a party. Nobody wants to listen to the loud guy in the corner who does nothing but talk about how great he is, but when people hear a little of something interesting they start listening to that speaker. Once people start listening, a little self promotion can be worked in and people actually want to hear it.
Overall, I think the trick is finding as many ways as possible to say “look at me” but without overtly saying, “look at me.” Hashtags can help a lot, because they bring people who are looking specifically for what we are tweeting about.
Personally, I count retweeting as content. If it is something I like well enough to share I figure my followers will like it too. I try also to add my own content to most of my re-tweets. Not only does this help establish my personality, it also means that if anyone re-tweets it a whole new slew of people have a chance to view my profile. By adding my own content, it makes people interested in me as well as the content I’m sharing.
Having a handful of good sources for re-tweets also make it easy to generate content. I see a cool quote, give my thoughts about it and re-tweet it. I’m promoting myself and whoever I’m retweeting.
An important thing to remember about tweets is that they are very short lived, and thus most of them won’t be seen by most of our followers. I’ve currently got around 700 followers, but most of my tweets are only seen by about 30 people — and that’s okay. It is a little frustrating when I think I’ve said something really good and nobody notices, but it is still okay, because every once in awhile a tweet hits a few thousand people. In some ways, it would be great if one of those tweets was directly about my book, but I’m not expecting that.
My primary goal, with most of my tweets, is to inspire someone to look at my profile — because that is where the advertising is. (My secondary goal is having fun. The more I do it, the more I find I enjoy tweeting.)
In the last 28 days, while I’ve added 405 followers I’ve had 905 profile views. Every single one of them saw something about my book, and they were already in a curious mood. I’ve only been able to link to The Whisper Garden on Amazon for the few days, so I don’t know how much that has directly affected my sales. But, I do know that in the first three days I had two pinned tweets about it, which gathered 116 total impressions and 10 link clicks. (The link was straight to the amazon sale page, so I’m hoping most of those were also sales. At this point I know nothing about my sales. The suspense is killing me.)
On our profiles we have four places we can potentially advertise. We have our photo, our banner photo, our profile info and a pinned tweet. In my opinion, the most valuable parts are the profile info and pinned tweet–because those are the places we can put links. The links seem very valuable to me because I want to make it as easy as possible for people to get to buy my stuff. A pretty picture of our book(s) as a banner is nice, but not as easy on the customer as a direct link. (I have my banner set to the same image as my web page, trying to keep a relatively uniform look.)
Why make someone open a new tab, go to amazon, search for our book (a search which will also show them alternatives! I don’t want my customers distracted by other choices) and then click on the right link to buy our books when we can give them a direct link in the first place?
The profile is really handy, because it has a place for a website built in that doesn’t use up its character count, but you can still place a another link in the profile. I’ve got mine set to davidharrisgriffith.com as my website, and a link to The Whisper Garden included in the profile. As I write more, I’ll probably set the link in my description to my amazon author page.
The pinned tweet is also really useful because it can be switched at a moment’s notice. (Just click on the little down arrow at the upper right of your tweet and choose ‘pin to your profile’) All other tweets fade instantly, but the pinned tweet is there for anyone curious enough to look at your profile. It is a great place to hype what you most want to sell. I’m planning on changing my pinned tweet every day or two, to give it fresh a chance to go through people’s feeds, but it will always have a link straight to a buying option. I figure I won’t burn my followers out on advertising if they only see an occasional sales pitch from me, especially if I dress it up as news.
Anyway, I’m obviously far from being an expert yet, but I hope you found this helpful.