Saturday, 7 January 2017

Taking time to talk Twitter.

As an Indie author, much of what I've learned has come by trial and error, by following advice and experience, and by giving it a go. Five years later, I'm still learning, but I feel confident enough to share bits and pieces of what has worked for me. One of the topics that come up frequently on social media is in how to use Twitter for marketing books.

This is one of those areas in which I've found a method that works for me. No, I don't have thousands of followers, just under 4000, but the ones I have are greatly appreciated and I do my best to give them some entertaining and informative posts. According to my Twitter stats, I average about 9000 impressions a week and heavy engagement with my posts. In other words, people are looking at what I post and that's leading to sales of my books.  

I don't use any programs to attract followers I prefer quality over quantity.

I don't use Twitter validation programs.  Everyone hates them.

I rarely respond to DM's or send them. I'm quite happy for you to use my Twitter handle and let me know something in my feed.

Speaking of Twitter usernames: I give credit where credit is due. I don't pinch other people's posts as my own without crediting it to them with their @whoever. Often, if I come across a good news story about an author or writer, etc, I will add their @whoever name to the article. They might like to read something nice being said about them. I've had some well known authors like and retweet my posts, for that very reason. 

I don't always follow back. Those I do follow back are usually other authors, indie filmmakers, writers, writing bloggers or anyone who has a Twitter feed that interests me. I always take time to check out anyone who follows me and I will decide then if I want to follow. That decision is based on how much they do for others rather than themselves. I'm highly unlikely to follow anyone who only posts their own stuff. If I do follow back, I try to greet with a retweet.  

I will retweet for mostly anyone who retweets my posts, whether I follow them or not. There are several wonderful authors who don't follow me but, from time to time, still tweet my books. When they do, I retweet their books or blog post or pinned tweet. That is my thank you for their kindness. If you tweet my posts, you have a 95% chance of me tweeting for you. Can't stand a twitter feed where the only posts are authors advertising their own work and no-one else's. 

I always support New Zealand authors and writers in all genres. Not many of them follow me back but I don't have a problem with that. I know I post erotica and other things that might not be their cup of tea. As a Kiwi, I want to support the craft I love so much and expose the talent we have in this country, especially indie authors. I want the world to read books about New Zealand and stories by Kiwi authors. 

I don't expect everyone to follow me back or tweet my books. As mentioned before, I often tweet erotic, sexual and other topics and images that may not be everyone's cup of tea. I certainly don't expect a children's author to tweet my books, but maybe I've posted an article about a classic author or a writing tip. There's always something G-rated on my Twitter feed and I'm happy for a retweet of that, but it's not a requirement. 

I will advertise my books. I endeavour to keep my posts interesting while supporting my fellow tweeter, but I'm here for business as well as pleasure and I love showing off my books. 

I mostly avoid politics, religion and any other topic that seeks an opinion. Occasionally there will be a cause near and dear to my heart, and I will have my say, but I'm not on Twitter to engage in arguments or unkindness to any individual or add my opinion to whatever gripe is trending. 

I use a lot of Hashtags. Forget everything you've ever heard about hashtags. The bottom line is hashtags get your posts noticed and like I said, I'm in this for the business as well. The main ones I use employ the following words: author, books, amwriting, amreading, writerslife, BookBoost IARTG (indie author retweet group) Retweet groups have their own tags and thousands of reciprocating followers. Just make sure you reciprocate. Do a little research and Google trending hashtags for anything to do with topics related to your books. Also, if you like procrastinating like I do, try playing hashtag games on Twitter. I've gained followers from a few witty posts I've made. 

Always have a pinned retweet of your own promo which you want to go out far and wide. Change it up every couple of weeks. This makes it easier for followers to retweet your stuff without having to go through your feed to find something. If this is changed regularly, this is all the self-promo you'll ever need. 

Always make sure your links and URLS work before you post a tweet.

So often I see an interesting post on Twitter, go to the link provided to read further, only to end up on a blank page or 'this page doesn't exist.' Check your links to make sure they're working.

If you never retweet for others and only tweet your own stuff, why would you expect anyone to engage with you, unless you're a celebrity whose fans hang on every word? I tweet more about others than I do my own promos. If you're using Twitter well, everyone else will be tweeting your books and you won't need to. 

My Twitter profile has a link to my Amazon author page, not my website. Cut out the middleman and take them straight to your books. If you've got your author page set up well, that will lead them to your website. 

Not all my posts are about books and authors. I like to share things I'm interested in or something that has wowed me. I love films and TV and inspirational things. I love beautiful images and scenery. I want my Twitter feed to look pretty. I like to share someone's happy news, blogs or helpful advice. If you've got a great idea to sell more books, a fantastic recipe, a beautiful snapshot of your holiday, I want to know about it so tell me in your posts. 

Speaking of images: Tweets with images will attract more attention than those without, but lacklustre pictures don't interest me at all. If you have no understanding of graphic design, spend a bit of money and get someone to make you a few professional promos, and that goes for book covers as well. Brilliant covers and images will get my retweets far more than poorly made ones.    

When it comes to marketing books, Twitter has proven to be the most successful in all my social media platforms. Support me and I will support you. #selfpub #indieauthor #bookmarketing