5 Ways You’re Use Twitter Wrong
When I got onto Twitter, I had no idea how anyone made good use of it. I’d click that “home” button and find this endless stream of 140-character thoughts. Most of the tweets were advertisements, and almost none of them were of any real interest to me. After years of using Facebook (and before that Myspace), Twitter felt like the vacuum of space into which advertisers were just yelling to no real effect.
If you’ve felt the same way, you’re not alone! I’ve spoken to quite a few indie/aspiring/traditional authors who are unsure why they even bother with Twitter. Most of them insist they keep one because they know they will need one when they finally hit the big time (think: JK Rowling) but right now they feel as though they are standing at the edge of the void screaming into nothing.
They get on Twitter, and instead of making a killing in sales, they just end up talking to the same dozen people they always talk to, sharing their cover photos, and they can’t figure out what’s going wrong.
What are you doing wrong on Twitter? Let’s look!
Hashtags Aren’t Just for Laughs
We’ve all seen (or maybe been, in my case) the person who puts #anything on the end of their posts. Every other word is a hashtag because when you say it out loud, it sounds trendy and/or funny. And while that may be true, it’s highly ineffective.
Hashtag noun (on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.
If Twitter were a library, hashtags are how you’d find what you’re trying to research. So, while it may be laughable to say #epicfail you probably have the same odds of finding someone searching that hashtag who wants to buy a Romance novel as you have of winning the Powerball.
Does it happen? Sure! And there are far worse things you can be doing on Twitter than occasionally throwing out fun hashtags. Taking part in twitter hashtag games can lead to making a connection with a potential reader, but it’s a long way around for sure.
Instead of using random hashtags, use hashtags which also share a subject matter with your book. Are you writing a sweet Rom-Com involving dogs? Why not follow hashtags about dogs or romance? #Romance is a good start or more specifically #RomCom.
And instead of just screaming into the void with the right hashtags, increase your chances of truly finding those fans instead of followers I talked about a while ago. Go to the search bar on Twitter’s website and type in #Romance or #RomCom and choose the people tab. You’re going to find a lot of writers, but you’re also going to find individuals who love RomCom so much that they included it in their profile descriptions!
The more accurate your hashtag or topic, the more likely you are to find your readers. Believe it or not, you don’t need 100K followers to sell books on Twitter (contrary to what people think) you need to find those dedicated individuals who want to click that “buy” button. If you have 2,000 followers and they are genuine fans of your Sci-Fi books, and they occasionally buy them, isn’t that far better than 100K followers who only sometimes “love” a post or retweet you?
Quality > Quantity when it comes to Twitter. Find your readers and talk to them (see my last point for more on that!)
Lists > Home
I VERY rarely click “home.”
If you go to your profile page on the Twitter site, you’ll notice you have something called “lists.” These are your friends! Where “home” on Twitter is the cold, empty void of space, your lists help you have control over who you’re spending your valuable time engaging with.
Whenever you meet someone on Twitter, file them into a list. A person might go to several places, but this will help you on those days when you only have ten minutes, and you want to talk to your readers individually … or when you’re writing and want only to talk with other authors.
Twitter lists suggestions for authors
FANS OF YOUR SUBJECT MATTER
If you write Fantasy, you might put fans of The Song of Fire & Ice Series (or HBO’s Game of Thrones) or The Wheel of Time in there. This will allow you to have a pulse on what YOUR AUDIENCE is talking about and the ability to find them and engage them in what they share a passion for.
AUTHORS / PUBLISHERS / AGENTS
This might be particularly important for those who aren’t yet published. If you’re going to be in the market for an agent or publishing house soon, this will let you filter out those mentors & potential work partners you will one day need to deal with. These are the people who will understand you best, but it might not be who you want to spend all your time on Twitter talking with.
If you’re that person I mentioned above, the one who spends hours a day on Twitter and can’t yet figure out why you’re not selling books – this one is for you. Just like when you get into your car, when you get on Twitter you need to know where you are going. If you simply got into your vehicle and drove around all day hoping to get to all the places you needed to go, would you be shocked when your gas bill was sending you to the poorhouse? So why are you shocked that spending your time aimlessly wandering around Twitter is doing the same?
How to Manage Your Time on Twitter
- Decide how much time you’re going to spend on Twitter each day.
- Decide how much of that time you’re going to spend on networking with peers.
- Decide how much of that time you’re going to spend socializing with your followers.
- Decide how much of that time you’re going to spend seeking out new followers.
The first part is the most important. You need to have an allowance of time you’re going to dedicate to social media and resist the temptation to go over on that time allotment.
Next, realize it’s easy to lose track of time talking to those people who understand your struggle most: other authors, agents, and editors. It’s great (and necessary) to socialize with peers, but make sure it doesn’t eat all the time you have for marketing. Remember, while you’re on Twitter, you’re at the office! This is part of your job.
Decide how much of your time (and it probably should be the bulk of your time) you’re going to spend on the people who’ve already invested in your career. That might be individuals who have bought books from you, it might just be people who’ve followed you who also like the topics you write about – whatever you define your customers as you need to take care of them. If established authors ignored their fans and only searched out new fans, they’d lose their fan base so fast it would make their heads spin. Authors who are doing it right, again I’m looking to people like JK Rowling, are engaging their fans and giving them the one thing they want almost as much as her books: her attention and time.
Lastly, you need to search out new fans because people come and go on Twitter all the time. You can’t say “once I reach 10K followers, I’m going to stop” – the truth is you’re going to find a lot of those people will disappear for long periods at a time, some will go away altogether, and others may forget their logins and make new accounts. So, you’re going to need to keep putting yourself out there.
There are a lot of tools out there to help you keep track of your lists, new followers, and even schedule posts for those days you can’t be troubled to hop on social media; you do have a ‘real life’ away from the screen, right? I recommend Hootsuite which has been free and incredibly useful to so many authors for as long as I can remember. Ideally, it will be by the time you get to this post too.
There are other paid services can even scour the net to find blogs, quotes, and memes all in line with your subject matter. Also, some provide meme/image creation tools to help keep your page looking original and truly impactful. If you have a few bucks each month to spend on some handy tools, you might do a quick google search to find some of those services.
Stop Trying to Sell Your Book on Twitter
Finally – a plea from all of us. Just like you feel buried under a sea of book ads, so do your fans. The self-promotion machine seems to overwhelm Twitter until it seems nothing other than a platform for authors to share their latest book covers with each other. I promise you, there are readers on Twitter. As of January 2017, there were 100 Million users on Twitter every single day! I promise they aren’t all selling their books – some are there to read too.
For the Love of Puppies & Things Fluffy – Do This:
- Take the time to find the people who like the subjects you write about.
- Take the time to talk to those people about the subjects (and you) enjoy.
- Take the time to find/create/share things that you KNOW those fans will like/retweet.
- Make sure your profile has links to your
- Share things from your blog (you DO have a blog, right?) that your fans will want to read and be sure you have clear links to your books on that blog!
People aren’t buying your books off Twitter; they are buying YOU. If they buy into the value of what you think, of what you share, and into your Ernst interest in them – they WILL buy your books.
If You’re Reading This…
I found a way to get you to my blog! That means my copy or promotion tools were useful (yay!) Do you wish you had more time to write blog entries that drew people to your website? Well, if you’re inclined to pay for help, maybe I can help you out. Check me out over on Fiverr – I’m offering up my skills writing blogs and articles for others. I’d love to write for you too. I hope to hear from you soon!