Many an author has said “I don’t have the time to learn Twitter” not knowing that there is an approach to Mastering Twitter that requires no more than five minutes a day.
Twitter is one of those social media sites that a lot of people seem to find incomprehensible. There is a good reason for that. Twitter grew organically in response to its most enthusiastic users until it was nothing like the original intention. It works but not in an intuitive way.
It helps to think of Twitter in terms of mobiles. The original intention was that it would be carrier service for SMS’ (text messages). In many ways, Twitter is best used on the go with a phone. We will get to that shortly.
Twitter is not something you can jump on when your book is for sale and hope to reach very many people. It takes time to build relationships and so it is worth investing a little time each day into doing that long before your book is ready to hit the shelves.
Step One: Set up an account
Creating an account on Twitter is really very simple. Simply go here, and fill in the very simple form – name, email, and a password. For more support, should you need it, there is a comprehensive guide here.
However, once you have got set up (which takes no time at all) you are not done.
At the very least you need to fill out two further parts of your profile.
As an active author, you really should have a few images to hand that show you off in your best light. These can be professional portraits or simply snaps of you that you feel you look good in. In a pinch, a photograph of your book will do but I highly recommend putting a human face on things.
You have a small space to say a lot. Avoid buzz words like “expert” and “guru” unless you can back them up. For authors, words like “author”, “writer” and “story teller” work well. You may be able to find space to add a link (via a link shortening service) to one book in your description. It is likely to get more clicks than anywhere else you might tweet the link.
Step Two: Connect with people
It might seem obvious but social media is about being social. Almost all mistakes made with social media are due to forgetting this fact.
It is tempting to follow hundreds of people and expect to have a following instantly. Twitter does not work like this and anyone who says it does is probably trying to sell you something.
Instead, pick a few people that you find interesting. There are plenty of authors on Twitter and many of them are worth following. There are even more who you should avoid. You will know quite quickly who they are as they will spam their followers with endless requests to “please buy my book” and other symptoms of desperation.
Reply to interesting tweets with interesting replies. Have conversations and don’t worry about trying to sell anything (yet).
Step Three: Share your life as an author
Very rarely do people follow authors to be bombarded with links to books. Almost never, I’d say. Therefore, don’t be one of those authors that spam links to their books over and over and wonders why it is not working.
Instead, share interesting insights into the writing process and from your life in general. You know, things actual humans beings might find interesting.
Remember we said that Twitter was a mobile technology? One of the best ways to use it is as an app on your mobile. While you have five minutes to kill while waiting for a train or while the kettle boil is an ideal time to snap out an update.
Twitter is perfect for giving you something productive to do in a few minutes of “dead time” between tasks.
Good things to share include:
- Quotes from your book.
- Word count updates
- Pictures from a book signing
- Progress updates on your editing process
- Thoughts about your favourite themes and motifs
- Interesting things you see when you are out
- Interesting facts that came up in research
- Quotes from authors you love
But how do I sell books with Twitter?
Twitter is not primarily a marketing platform. While it can be used to sell books it is not done by repeatedly sharing links to Amazon or announcing yet another 99p sale on Kindle.
Selling on Twitter is much more like dating. You can’t just grab a stranger off the street and expect a kiss. You can try but you are likely to find yourself having a conversation with a policeman.
Instead of being pushy, show your followers a good time. talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Build a rapport and a mutual understanding.
When the time is right you will be able to bring up your book and your followers will actually be interested and happy to hear about it.
This need not take hours and hours of your time. In fact, just five minutes a day, over time, is probably the best way to do it.