3 Make-Or-Break Details That Can Enhance Or Ruin A Twitter Book Promotion
Posted On: 2014-03-19
by: Ashley Zee

19, 2014
I have a justifiable ambivalence toward twitter -it's a mega social media platform that must be considered when planning a social media strategy, but it's filled with so much "clutter" that it's hard to stand apart from the "noise" if you're not a celebrity or followed by millions of other people.

Twitter forces people to be concise (always a good thing) but grammar and deep thought is sacrificed in the process (a bad thing). And finally, twitter is a way to engage with followers, though the depth of meaningful author-to-customer interaction can be very limited.

When promoting a book on twitter, these are matters that must be considered. Below I have listed three other seemingly tiny twitter considerations that can make or break your twitter book promotion.

Discussing social media or twitter contests and giveaways are a bit beyond the scope of this issue.Let me know if you want more twitter insights in the comments on Self Publisher Today or on our Facebook page. If there is a demand for it, I can provide more information!

1.) The attitude of the Twittersphere at large: studies have shown that twitter is, to be blunt, full of haters. People jump on twitter to rail against everything. Even things seemingly beyond reproach - sunshine, kittens, cuddly puppies, rainbows - are fair game for twitter haters. A rough maxim for twitter is, "If it exists, there are tweets against it". This can happen regarding your book(s) as well, so don't take it personally if one day you find tweets trash-talking your book, your promotion, or even you (easier said than done, I know).

There are ways to help build a buffer of positive tweets to counteract the general surliness of Twitter. First and foremost, ask your friends to tweet good things about your book. Send them a direct message (DM) and either ask them to write their own unique positive tweet about your book or send them a DM with a specific tweet and links you would like to see on the Twittersphere. It's your choice. Hype and good reviews from friends does help with book promotion on twitter, so don't be afraid to reach out!

Secondly, don't metaphorically beat your followers over the head with the same tweets over and over and over and over again. Nothing will get people to turn on you (or unfollow you or purposefully NOT buy your book) faster than tweets that say nothing but "BUY MY BOOK NOW" ad nauseam. You must switch up the content of your posts, and though secretly you might want to devote every tweet to promoting your book you cannot do this! You have to at least go through the motions that you have a normal life and that you still care about your follower's lives even in the midst of your heaviest book promotions. Yes, deep in your heart of hearts you might be so wrapped up in the promotion and release of your book that you almost can't think of anything else except your book. This is natural. However it is imperative that you continue to engage people on twitter as a "normal" person and not just as an author and marketer of a particular book.

People do not like feeling sold to...they like feeling as if they are a part of something, as if their thoughts, ideas, and actions make a difference. This is an important distinction and the heart of artful and effective marketing. If you approach book promotions with this mindset you will see a difference in public response and sales.

2.) Be smart about when you post. Twitter is constantly, ahem, twittering with thoughts and missives from its millions of participants. So even though there is a constant drone of activity, there are times of the day to maximize your tweet's optimization. Regardless of whether you use a service to schedule tweets you can set up a week's worth of tweets or if you want to manually tweet everyday (which is fine, to each their own) here are peak hours ot

9:00 a.m through 1:00 p.m is when most people are using twitter. You should aim to either tweet during this time or tweet immediately before this time and immediately after this time. If you tweet during the thick of these busy hours you stand a great chance at being seen and retweeted but your tweets can also get lost in the sauce because there's so much activity. By bookending this time with your tweets you increase the likelihood of being seen by a lot of people but you also minimize - however slightly - the odds that you'll be drowned out.

The next best time to post is at night - 9:00 pm through 10:00 pm, in particular. This hour is your best attempt to capture the attention of night-owls, but be warned - many people use twitter at this time to comment on television shows they are watching. Not exactly a 100% engaged audience...people that need to tweet while watching television might not have the kind of attention span you, an author, are looking for in an ideal reader; nonetheless, it's important to reach out to people at this time. At the very least you'll be planting a "seed" for the next day's tweets and you might get some retweet and click-through action too!

Don't tweet in the off hours. There's no need to set up tweets for once an hour throughout the day. It's annoying and ineffective. Though it might be tempting to post frequently, keep in mind that most people will never see tweets outside of these peak hours. Why add clutter to the already busy Twittersphere? Furthermore, you want to optimize each tweet so that you tweet smarter and not so frequently that it approaches spammy-levels of tweeting.

3.)And now we've come full circle, for my next point brings me back to the content of your tweets. I just talked about some methods to counteract the negativity on twitter through your tweet's contents; in a previous issue of Self Publisher Today I talked about using Tall Tweets to actually tweet book reviews from Amazon or tweeting excerpts of your book via Tall Tweets. These are still good content ideas for tweets. The usual advice concerning varying the content of your tweets is sound and should be followed.

But there's one other specific aspect of tweets that I want to address. This part of a tweet can be beneficial or harmful to your book promotion. I see people misusing this section of a tweet all the time, and if it's not approached correctly it can sabotage your twitter book promotions.

What part of a tweet am I talking about, you ask? HASHTAGS! Use hashtags sparingly. You've seen them before #theylooklikethis. The hashtag (#) serves a few purposes. While many people use them as a sort of literary aside (example: I ate a veggie-burger! #sonutritious #sodelicious with the nutritious and delicious part of the tweet serving as sort of afterthought) it really is a quick way to organize tweets into categories that are searchable.

If someone tweets #selfpublishertoday I could search that term on twitter and see all the tweets that fall under this category. This is good for reconnaissance work, but I suggest using them with caution when you are promoting a book. Anything after the hashtag is searchable so if someone clicks it they will be automatically ushered off of your twitter page - and further away from your book's links and thus further away from the "buy now" button! - and thrust onto a new page filled with tweets that include that hashtag. So if you want to hashtag the title of your book, go ahead! That's a safe bet. You'll be able to see what anyone is saying about your book if you search for your book's title-hashtag. This is great for customer engagement, keeping track of reviews, and it gives you some control of your material on twitter.

If you go overboard with the hashtags, such as #yourbooktitle #newrelease you've now given followers the option to follow other hashtags (#newrelease) that have NOTHING to do with your book. Imagine someone clicked on #newrelease. Think of all the tweets that might exist with #newrelease as its hashtags. Yeah, good luck getting that twitter follower back to your twitter page let alone to amazon to buy your book. They are as good as gone. Don't even give them the option to go anywhere but to a site that DIRECTLY benefits you.

The hashtag (which is essentially a search link) you use should be unique and logically related to your book so that you can keep potential customers in your orbit. It should go without saying, but don't include ANY links to anywhere else besides your book's sales page. You want people to have the most direct path possible to purchasing your book. Don't give them unnecessary roadblocks by tweeting about your book but then not including a link to buy it...or worse...including a link that takes them further away from your sales page!

If someone writes a good review about your book on their blog you might want to tweet it to your followers. This is a natural inclination - someone (not you!) likes your work (yay!) - and it is new content for your twitter followers to see. It also adds prestige which can be persuasive to some buyers. However I suggest doing this only if these two conditions are met: 1.) the blog post that is reviewing your book includes multiple links that directs people to the page to buy your book and 2.) that you also include the link to buy your book in the tweet as well. If the review doesn't include a link to buy your book shoot the writer a message in the comments to link it to your sales page. All good reputable bloggers will oblige. With link shorteners aplenty there is no reason why you can't fit both links and some text within the space of 140 characters.

If you can't direct people to the page where they can buy your book all of this book promotion on twitter is for NOTHING. Remember, the ultimate goal isn't to get a bunch of retweets...it's to GET SALES!

Until Next Time -
Ashley Zee