As I’ve started using Twitter to promote my debut novel, Le Chevalier, I’ve noticed more than a few similarities between the marketing advice I give my business clients and what works for novelists. I thought I’d share a few.
The following tips, a.k.a. opinions, are mine and based on my experience with Twitter. Please, please, please, share your own experiences in the comments. What works well for one person may not always work for others. Plus, I am 100% certain others have discovered success strategies that I have not mentioned here.
Tip #1 Blog. It’s not that Twitter is useless as a marketing tool without a blog, it’s just mostly useless. (Remember, I said these are my opinions!) If you’re lucky enough to get a great review, you can link to it. And, of course, you can link to sites where your book can be purchased. Unfortunately, if that’s all you’ve got, it’s going to look self-serving and will get old quickly.
Tip #2 Create a profile targeted to your audience. You need to entice others to follow you so let them know what they can expect if they invest time in you. If you write sci fi, paranormal, American historical, regency, or whatever – say so! If you have a blog, add the url to your profile. (You can do this in the profile settings.) Your profile is your image to potential followers in 160 characters or less – make it count.
Tip #3 Create meaty tweets. It’s fine to create the occasional tweet about the weather, your cat, your vacation, your addiction to lattes or whatever thought has just popped into your head, but don’t do it too often. Sometimes I have to use a bit of tough love with my clients (and myself) so please forgive me for doing the same here. As self-obsessed as some of the tweet streams are out there, I’m not sure I’d want to get together for coffee with some of these folks let alone follow them on Twitter.
Tip #4 Repurpose content. If you can reuse something – do it! Each pithy blog post you create ought to be good for at least two tweets. I usually save the second tweet for a day when I’m not going to have the time to churn out another post.
Tip #5 Schedule your tweets. You can use tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to schedule tweets. This is handy if you have a vacation or a deadline coming up and know you won’t be able to tweet for awhile. Schedule a few tweets (see tip #4) to post while you’re away to keep your audience engaged and your tweet stream fresh.
Tip #6 Follow others. Not only can you meet some great people, they’ll get to meet you as well. It’s even better if you’ve followed through on Tip #3 because people tend to check out the tweet streams of those who follow them. When they see an interesting post from your blog, this is the point in time when you’re most likely to gain a new visitor. Once they’ve already followed you, the odds of them noticing your next great tweet drop dramatically.
Tip #7 Leverage karma. I have a separate Twitter account for my business profile, and I’ve noticed that business users retweet each other far more than authors do. Retweeting is a great way to make new contacts. IMO, the best retweets are those that link to blog posts because you can earn double the brownie points by also commenting on the author’s blog. Other good candidates for retweets are book launch announcements and giveaway announcements.
Tip #8 Express your gratitude. I don’t auto-follow, preferring instead to send a unique message to those who follow me, usually mentioning something in their profile or something they’ve tweeted. It lets people know what I really do care. If nothing grabs me, I send a thanks for the follow message to five or six recent followers to at least let acknowledge that they took the time to follow me.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear what’s worked for you. Add your comments or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Be sure to follow me at @maryjeanadams!