When I mention to clients with a book about to come out that they will now be taking on a second job as a blogger/Facebook entrepreneur/Tweeter, I get a variety of reactions -- panic, resignation, defiance and sheer terror. I can't say I blame them. When my editor mentioned setting up a blog for my last book, I bombarded her with a dozen reasons I couldn't possibly take it on. Being an author these days is tough duty.
To try and help out several of my clients faced with the daunting prospect of having to Tweet for the very first time, I put together some Very Basic Twitter Facts. And I'd be really interested in hearing what's worked for you in the land of those annoying little blue birds.
1. Think of Twitter as a party being held at your house. Naturally, everyone will be interested in the latest news about your book, but as the host you’ll also want to introduce guests who have interests in common, start lively discussions and make sure everyone hears about big doings in the lives of their fellow partygoers.
2. Simply put, Twitter is not all about you. 20% of tweets is plenty for all-about-me book news.
3. One easy way to get an idea of what makes for a successful “author building a following” tweet is to check out those who have already mastered the art. You’ll see there is a nice balance between book promotion and a variety of things the author thinks will be of interest to their followers. Check out authors who write in your genre or currently have books on the bestseller lists. Laura Harrington is a client of mine who’s having great success with her tweets being passed along.
4. Spend time searching on Twitter for old college roommates, friendly ex-girl/boyfriends, former co-workers, editors you’ve worked with or written for, all your Facebook friends -- anyone who can expand your tweeting circle.
5. Follow a wide variety of people, not just those in your world or the world of your book. Not only will this get the word out to an ever-increasing number of people, it should also give you material to re-tweet.
6. Tweet every day. If at all possible, start with five times a day. And remember, Twitter is like a garden -- once you plant it, you have to tend it. No long vacations.
7. Ask questions that will elicit a response -- what’s the best movie ever made from a 19th century novel?
8. When someone becomes a follower, send them a thank-you. If someone re-tweets you, send them a “thanks for the RT.”
9. Think before you use #Hash #Tags. Two many ## in a tweet makes it hard to read.
10. Join in #followfriday. It’s one of the most popular hash tags and is used to suggest people your followers might enjoy following. Make sure you briefly say why and don’t just put up a list of @names. Ideally, if you recommend someone, they will return the favor and recommend you to their followers.
So How Are You Doing?
Want to see which of your tweets was effective? Sign up for Tweet Effective.
Once you’ve Tweeted 200 times, check out Timely, a service that can show you when your followers are re-tweeting and when they’re not. It will also tell you the optimal (as in gain more followers) times for you to tweet
Tweet Reach will show you how many people your tweets reach.
Bufferapp. As you create Tweets and add them to your "Buffer," it will schedule them for the best time of day for your followers. Nifty. And check out the "Suggest an Update" option.