In the old days, authors had to peddle their books by hand to their personal networks (and whichever bookstores were willing to carry them). But the rise of the Internet and social media has drastically changed things. Authors on Twitter can now reach people from all over the globe. Think about it! An author in Arkansas can have a lively discussion with a fan in Singapore, or anywhere else in the world!
Nothing ever comes easily, though. You need to know how to use Twitter properly to get the proper results. Here are some essential strategies you’ll need to adopt:
1. Know yourself and your audience
Before authors on Twitter can grow their audience, they need to establish who they are and who they want to talk to. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my book about?
- Who is going to read my book?
These two questions will determine your target audience. These are the people you should be focusing on.
Build a Twitter profile that emphasizes your expertise (it should be related to your book). This is important, because people may check out your Twitter profile before deciding to follow you, and you want them to see that you know your stuff.
Next, search out the people likely to read your book and follow them. Not all of them will follow you back, but if they see from your profile and tweets that you’re interested in the same things, then there’s a higher chance they will.
2. Know your tools and when to use them
The first tool you should absolutely be using is Twitter’s Advanced Search tool. This is how you find people who share your interests and would make good contacts.
The next essential tool should be the venerable #hashtag. A tweet with a specific hashtag is more easily seen by people who follow / search for that hashtag. Master the hashtag, and you’ll be able to expand the reach of your tweets and jump into relevant conversations. But don’t overload your tweets with hashtags, though! A tweet with more than one or two hashtags can be very annoying and is actually counter-productive!
You can also take advantage of some very helpful software tools. Hootsuite is an excellent way for authors on Twitter to manage their feeds, schedule their posts, and build their audiences. Tools like SocialOomph automate your Direct Messages so you can automatically thank people who follow you. But don’t rely on automation too heavily. People don’t want to talk to a robot!
Twitter is an engagement tool, and that means you have to get out of your shell and interact with people. Search out people who are talking about your areas of interest (whether it’s in a hashtag or just a few people tweeting each other) and jump in with helpful tips, resources or opinions.
But do not sell! Authors on Twitter must connect with people and engage, not push their book! It may sound backwards, but people will be more interested in looking at your book if they see you as a person, and see that you share their interests. If you want to promote your book in another way, quote some great passages from it instead (be sure to follow the and 20% promotional content).
4. Stay Focused
If you’ve ever spent more than ten minutes on the Internet, you know it’s really hard to keep your mind on what you’re doing. You could be looking through a list of hashtags for one you could jump into, and then see a tweeted link that’s totally unrelated but totally interesting! One thing leads to another, and two hours later you still haven’t connected with anyone!
Keep a tight rein on yourself and focus on the important tasks first: responding to your followers, engaging new ones, and setting up a tweet schedule. But hey, if it so happens that those interests converge—like your follower tweeting something interesting—then start a conversation about it!
5. Be Patient
Authors on Twitter simply must be patient. There are no shortcuts to getting genuine followers. The most successful Twitter personalities built up their audience over months and years of engaging with people.
The best things you can do are to stay true to your objective, be as genuine as possible, and have as much fun as you can!
If you are an author, and parsing your book into tweetable quotes doesn’t seem like fun, have us do it for you. Nimble Quotes offers a custom content subscription. We’ll load up your quotes and have them tweet out from your account on any frequency you wish. Too, you can have your book quotes available to other users thereby building awareness of your work. A few authors have done so already. Try out the Nimble Quotes . No credit card required.