When it comes to book promotion, the importance of making connections cannot be overstated and we’re lucky to live in a time where, through social media, there are so many avenues available to make this happen. While each social media platform has its own strength, indie authors have a particular interest in Twitter and ask me all the time about how they can get noticed there.
With Twitter, connecting to the “right” people can be not only a more focused effort, but it can be even easier than on say, Facebook or LinkedIn. Why? Because Twitter is a direct link. By liking or sharing someone’s Tweet, you’ve instantly become visible to their followers, allowing your own number of followers to rise, and with it your book promotion network.
Let’s explore the best ways to put this into practice and make Twitter work for you.
1. How to Get Noticed on Twitter by Finding the Right People
Before you can start connecting, you first have to find the right people to connect with. On Twitter, searching for specialized targets is pretty easy. And if you’re looking for someone specific, you can simply type their name in the search box at the top of your Twitter home screen and then scroll through the results. To refine your search, use the features on the left side of the search results.
If you’re just looking for people who share the same interests or other indie authors who write in your genre, try these sites:
Once you start following a lot of people, these constant updates can become overwhelming. If you have a significant number of people you’re following, I recommend dividing them into Twitter lists.
I use these lists for a variety of purposes. Some lists I keep only for a while, and others I keep much longer. For example, let’s say you’re going to an event and want to add the speakers to a list so you can learn a bit about them before meeting them in person. You can create a Twitter list for this, and the program will send you Tweets from these speakers (which you can retweet or reply to). The same is true for folks you want to follow in the industry, like other providers, authors, or business people you admire. The uses for lists are endless.
2. How to Get Noticed on Twitter by Improving Engagement
Imagine you’re showing up at an organized event. You’re not likely to just walk into the room and yell: “Hey, can everyone here buy my book?” It shouldn’t be any different on social media (especially on Twitter). Relationships, even virtual ones, take time to build and they often start with you giving more than you get. At least initially. But if you’re looking to build a tribe of influencers and to network, consider these tips to build your followers, and your engagement, in record time:
- Follow your influencers: This kind of goes without saying, but often I find that folks do forget this. Everyone loves followers, even the influencers in your market. So first and foremost, follow them. Next…
- Share their content: Before you ask for a review, an endorsement for your book – or whatever, be a sharer of their content. But do so thoughtfully – add a comment to the content you’re sharing and be selective to make sure it’s interesting to your followers and dials into the message that best aligns with what your book or product is about.
- Comment on their content: As I mentioned above, commenting on content you share and things that you see in their Twitter feed is highly encouraged. A quick, thoughtful, short comment can go a long way to introducing yourself.
- “Like” their content: Liking is another great way to spread the content love, without necessarily spreading the content. Often, if I see something I like, I will both “like” and share it. You can also “like” a piece of content and not necessarily share it, especially if it’s off topic. An example of this might be when I sometimes share personal stuff in my Twitter feed. So, a picture of my dog being awesome. If you’re trying to network with me, you may not want to share that, but you could give it a “like.”
- Follow them on their blog & comment there, too: If you are really wanting to network with someone, consider another funnel besides Twitter. If they don’t blog, or don’t blog often, you could follow them on Facebook or Instagram and post comments there, but more than likely your target does have a blog and is probably on there regularly. Trust me, if you post a comment regularly on their blog and share their content on Twitter, they will remember you and it’s a great way to build a virtual relationship.
- Don’t DM them: DM = Direct Messaging, and I will tell you that I ignore 99% of these. Why? Because I feel like if someone really wants to network with me, they’ll make the effort to find my email address. DMs, in general, aren’t a great idea. In fact, if you have one that thanks your new followers, I’d get rid of it, as they can come across as annoying and canned. Take a personal route, you’ll be glad you did.
- Engage with Speakers Before Events: One really cool way to use Twitter is to engage with folks heavily right before you go to see them speak. I often do this for several speakers with whom I’m trying to connect, and I’ll ramp up the engagement as the event nears. Often, they’ll tweet out that they’ll be at such-and-such event and I’ll comment back, telling them I’m excited, too. If done properly, you can easily tee up a meeting, or even a quick “hi” at the end of their talk.
The bottom line to getting more engagement on Twitter is this: if you dial into your topic, network on Twitter, comment on others’ Tweets, share them, and include hashtags in your posts, you’ll build your followers. Period. Becoming numbers-focused forces us to develop more relevant content. And, while numbers don’t always tell the whole story, they never lie. I once mentored a business owner who loved Twitter, but wasn’t sure where to go with it. We researched her audience, determined what their needs were, and then pushed a timely, interesting, and helpful message. Now, a year later, she’s gone from just five to sixty-eight thousand followers on Twitter.
3. How to Get Noticed on Twitter by Being Genuine
A lot of times, I see authors who only begin to engage with folks when they want something – which is typically a review. And while most influencers get this and aren’t necessarily offended by it, it’s always nice to engage with them on an ongoing basis even before you pitch them.
What does this mean? Well, start with five influencers you absolutely love and read what they tweet/blog about and then share/comment on those tweets/blogs. That simple act can get you more exposure than you realize. Just sharing their content in a thoughtful way tells your influencer that you’re engaged with them, you are reading their tweets/blog, and you’re paying attention. I can almost guarantee if you do this, when your turn comes, they’ll be paying attention, too.
4. How to Get Noticed on Twitter by Getting Personal
I did a test a couple of years back where I took an unknown author in a super cluttered genre (romance) and I set up an email account for her that I could manage. I went through a list of 100 bloggers appropriate to her topic and pitched them – one at a time – with her pitch. Not only did I personalize each email, but I also took a moment to note things I had learned by reading their blog. In one instance, one of the bloggers had just gotten a dog and named it Library and I commented on how cute I thought that name was (and jealous I hadn’t thought of it when I named my dog!). This level of personalization got her 80 out of 100 blogger requests. Yes, I said 80. This for an unknown author with no history, and little or no social media footprint. The same principles apply to connecting with influencers on Twitter. In an age of “point and shoot” it’s often the little touches that separate out what gets noticed. And, although this takes a bit of effort, the results can be fabulous. So much like DMing and other automated things you can do – skip the automation and go for personalized, personal outreach. You’ll make better headway if you don’t treat your influencers like a number.
There’s no question that Twitter is a fabulous tool for expanding your network as an indie author and getting exposure to your audience. By following these guidelines thoughtfully and consistently, you can make a profound effect on your book promotion efforts and stake a claim to your part of the Twittersphere.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.