Part II: Twitter
First, your profile must be public! People should be able to find you, follow you and retweet you.
On your profile, be sure to upload a picture of either yourself or your book as your profile picture. This will make you more accessible to readers, and they will be more likely to talk to you. Write a short bio that at least mentions that you are an author. If you have room, link to your newest book. Don’t forget to put your location and website in the boxes offered.
What should you tweet about?
Anything you want!
Well, not anything. Try to keep your tweets from your author Twitter account relevant to your genre, writing in general, or small personal anecdotes. Interact with your readers and other authors when they mention you in tweets - retweet their comments and reply to their questions!
None of these are hard and fast rules, but you should try to be diplomatic on your professional Twitter account. The general rule is to avoid any content about politics and religion. Of course, if any of these topics are relevant to your book, post about them!
Don’t get into Twitter Wars. Keep arguing out of it. At times, people will disagree with you or what you post. The more followers you garner the more likely this is to happen. If anyone posts negative comments, just take them in stride and either do not respond or only respond in a positive manner. Keep in mind anything you post on social media is out there once it’s out there – you can’t delete it!
Who should you follow?
The first rule of Twitter is follow and you will be followed. Many Twitter users follow back immediately, and this will put everything you post (especially information about your book!) on their timeline, which functions as a homepage. First and foremost, you should follow other authors, especially those in your genre. They may have information about an event you didn’t know about and want to attend, or may be able to connect you with further marketing and promotion resources. Plus, it’s great to be able to rely on other authors for cross-promotion!
You should also follow organizations and clubs with thematic material relevant to your book. For instance, if you are an author of military nonfiction, you may want to follow the American Legion. Keep in mind your location, as well. If there are town councils, local coffee shops, or libraries that may be able to promote you through events, give them a follow so you can stay up-to-date on all their events.
Lastly, you should follow Deeds! We love to interact with and support our authors through conversations and retweets. Also, we’re starting a weekly featured author piece where we promote authors, their upcoming events, and their books on our social media. You can never follow too many people on Twitter!
Don’t forget to retweet things you find interesting and add your own comments. Like we mentioned earlier, promoting other authors is a great way to mutually gain exposure and you may discover friends who can help you along the path of being an author. Also retweet tweets by organizations/clubs relevant to your material. Lastly, respond to and retweet your readers. Fans you engage and interact with will be more likely to spread the word about your book and every time you retweet a reader’s review, it adds credibility to your work.
Trending topics are topics that millions of other people are currently tweeting about. They are measured in terms of engagement through hashtags, retweets and favorites. Often, brands will jump on board a trending topic and incorporate it into their own tweets to garner more engagement and impressions. For instance, when the power went out at the 2013 Superbowl and #blackout was a trending topic, Oreo tweeted out a picture of a cookie next to a glass of milk that read, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Including trending topics that are relevant to your genre would be an effective way to garner traffic on your account.
Hashtags are the pound signs (#) you see before a word embedded in tweets. These tags help Twitter identify what’s popular, or trending, at the time. Users can search Twitter for a specific hashtag and all the tweets that include the tag will be listed, in real time, in the search results. If you were to include a trending hashtag in one of your tweets, it would show up in the search results for that tag.
When you click on hashtag in a post, it acts as link (url) to other tweets using that same hashtag. It has the same effect as if you were to search for that word on Twitter, displaying all the most relevant tweets that happen to feature that hashtag.
Here are some of the top hashtags used by authors on Twitter:
See http://www.bookmarketingservices.org/ultimate-list-of-author-specific-hashtags/ for more hashtags specific to your genre or needs.
One last rule: Do not overwhelm your tweets with hashtags. This is considered tacky on Twitter and often is the sign of an author only interested in selling a book. At most, include three hashtags in your tweet, though one or two is better.
If you truly think your target audience gets most of its news about and engagement with you from Twitter, there is an option to pay to promote your tweets. For a fee, Twitter will introduce your tweets into the timelines of individuals who do not follow you in hopes that your brand will be promoted beyond your current scope of audience members.