Twitter is actually a great source for book marketing, if it’s approached correctly. We have plenty of evidence from watching the stats on our Twitter accounts that it’s effective, particularly for free books.
Here are some tips that will help you get the most out your time and effort on Twitter:
Include hashtags that apply to your book
Hashtags are the “#” sign next to a word or series of words with no spaces in between. When the # sign is appended to any term in a tweet, it automatically makes it into a clickable link, which can be used to search on Twitter. Some common examples for books are #FREE, #romance, #thriller and #mystery.
Give to get
It’s important that you don’t make it all about you. You want to provide value in some way. In our case, we post about a lot of free books, so that provides value to the Twitter community. That means that we can also post about paid books, because they’re a related part of the mix. It’s a little different for an individual author though. You can’t just post about your own books if you expect to keep your followers. It’s important to retweet as discussed below, post about related topics, engage with your followers and generally showing your willingness to have a conversation, not just post links so that people can buy your books. Those can certainly be part of your repertoire, but they shouldn’t be all of it.
Retweeting other people’s tweets is a good way to build goodwill and get more followers at same time. Retweets can be very powerful, not only because they expose your messages to other Twitter followers; but they also can sometimes cause your tweets to come up higher in Twitter searches.
A good general strategy is to follow an account first and then retweet something from them. In many cases, if you follow and retweet, these people will follow you back. You can find related accounts to follow by searching for authors in your genre and looking at their follower lists. Don’t follow more than 50 Twitter accounts per day if your account is new or 100 accounts if your account has over 1,000 followers, though, or Twitter will temporarily shut your account down until you agree to be less aggressive. If you do it again, you might lose the account for good.
Don’t just retweet other people’s tweets. You want to post some original content of your own, so that people will have material to retweet from you. Keep a balance between the two.
If you want to generate your own retweets, you can start a second Twitter account and use RoundTeam.co to generate retweets for you. It isn’t the most intuitive interface, so we don’t recommend this for newbies. But if you know your way around Twitter, you can set up RoundTeam to automatically RT your tweets and the tweets of others from your second account. To give this second account more power, get followers for the same way you would for your main account. You’ll have better luck if you make the second account specific to your genre, rather than trying to make it look personal or about your book in particular.
You can also use RoundTeam for your main account, if you want to bolster it with RTs. We recommend keeping the RTs to a minimum in this case, so you don’t bury your own messages beneath piles of retweets.
Use images in your tweets
Twitter allows you to post an image in each tweet. And if you make the image large enough (at least 500 pixels wide), a portion of it will show up on your Twitter page, right inside the tweet. This means that the images will also show up in people’s streams, which gives you a huge chance to stand out among all the other plain text tweets. See the haunting image from the Hostile Witness book cover in the image above for an example of what an image looks like within a tweet.
You can post an image in a tweet by using the little camera icon in the tweet field on Twitter in the upper left side on your Twitter page. The URL for those images will be Pic.Twitter.com. In fact, these were shown to get the highest number of retweets in this study. This is good news for Buffer users, because they use Pic.Twitter.com to process their images.
Images added through TwitPic also performed well, but not as well as those added through Pic.Twitter.com. Interestingly, the study showed that images added through Instagram and Facebook had a negative effect on retweets.
It’s important to note that the study wasn’t specifically book-related. We add a book cover to virtually every tweet and we experience consistent retweets, even when the same tweet is posted multiple times. This stands to reason, because why wouldn’t a reader want to also see a book cover when making the decision to download or buy an ebook? It’s just more helpful information for them.
To exclaim or not to exclaim!
In this study, retweets, as well as clicks through from links in tweets, were tested when exclamation marks were used. They found that retweets increased when exclamation marks are used in the tweet text but actual click-throughs to the URLs in the tweets decreased when exclamation marks were present. The study author hypothesized that this is because an exclamation mark looks more sales-oriented. To us, it also seems more cheerful, which might be why people like to pass those type of tweets on through retweets. The same phrase stated without an exclamation mark looks more informational, therefore might seem more related to delivering information than selling. See the difference in the tone for yourself:
Free today only!
Free today only
On sale today!
On sale today
While we’re on the subject, the editor in me can’t help but point out a few other tips about exclamation marks, which don’t necessarily have to do with tweeting: Please use one at a time. Effusive use of exclamation marks is more suited to elementary school than grown-up communications!!!!!! (See how unprofessional that last sentence looks?) Also, unless there’s a darn good reason (and sometimes there is), restrict the use of exclamation marks to one sentence per paragraph. Paragraphs with an exclamation mark at the end of every sentence tend to look like they’ve been written by someone with the hiccups or who is happy to the point of hysteria. Neither is conducive to getting your point across and having your writing taken seriously.
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Article by Carla Chadwick