How to Use Twitter

I hear I need to use Twitter. How do I do that?

 

Twitter’s value is to promote your book to the outside world by building a base of followers who are interested in your content. You do that by sharing 140 character messages that share your point of view and send traffic to your web site, blog, and other locations of meaningful content.

The broader the interests of your content, the quicker you’ll build the base. Continually pitching your product is boring to your audience. When you share things that interest you, followers with similar interests will find you.

Some followers will buy your book and will talk about it to their fans. Some will like the content you share and will retweet that to their fans who might buy your book. Think of it as leaving trails of breadcrumbs that lead back to you. The more trails of interesting content, the more traffic to your intended landing pages.

There are 4 parts to this process. First, provide places where the action you desire will take place (i.e. buying the book). Second, build content to attract your visitors. Third, promote the content you have created and fourth, monetize that content.

 

I.                 Build a Foundation  for Visitor Action

Before you can consider promoting your book on Twitter, you must start by laying the foundation for ecommerce to take place. Do you want them to buy the book at Amazon? At your site? At your blog? Facebook page? Elsewhere?

It’s best to give potential followers every opportunity to discover your writing wherever they like to lurk, but to keep the process from being overwhelming begin with your site, your blog, LinkedIN, Facebook and Twitter. You’ll branch out later.

Develop your site

First, you’ll want your site to tell your story and include other writings. Give your followers as much content as possible to pique their interest. They may not buy today, but they might after 2, 3, 4 or more exposures to your writing.  Share icons (see example below) of all the different places where you can be found in social media on your site, Facebook page, LinkedIN and Twitter background.

Let your followers sign up for your blog posts, newsletter, or site updates with either an RSS feed or email option.

Make sure your visitors experience the fewest clicks possible to make their purchase with whatever method of ecommerce you choose.

Develop your blog

Regularly adding content to your blog helps improve search results with minimal effort. These blog posts aren’t meant to be long articles. They are meant to address a topic of interest to you where you share your point of view in 150 to 400 words.  Strive to communicate one thought, one topic. Try to give your blog fresh content as often as possible.

Lay in at least 5-10 blog posts before your take the blog live. You might fix a post in the top position that promotes the book or choose to promote it permanently in a side bar.

Check out CreativeCommons.org for permissions you want to use on your posts. Generally, I’m OK with use of a complete post with attribution where no changes or additions are made.

Develop other major content places

Think of Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and related sites as additional web pages that broaden your web presence where you share your point of view and encourage more calls to action. These sites will have a lot more traffic than your site and will give your site a “lift” by the search engines, helping to direct more traffic to pages of your choice.

LinkedIN profile: This is not a place for your resume, but as the #11 ranked US site, think of your personal profile here as a place to share your perspective on life, your work, and your interests to make a good impression of your audience. Talk about your accomplishments, recognition, awards, education and experience. Choose a picture/photo that can’t be used for an illegal ID (no full-on shots). Post links to your other pages where you have a web presence as well as documents, videos, etc. Then ask for and receive recommendations and endorsements from clients, colleagues, vendors and your network to give testimonials about their experience with you and your work.

If you have a business, build out a LinkedIN company profile with products/services that you offer.  You can upload a company logo and larger image as well as a logo for each product (book) or service.

Facebook page:  Build a Facebook page on world’s #2 web site, another opportunity to give lift to your search results for your web site and an important example of choosing places to talk to your fans where they like to spend time. You can post graphics, photos, videos, a picture of your book and link to buy, while interacting with your followers where messages can be longer than the 140 character limits of Twitter. Fill out the About and Business Info sections with links to your various web pages to let your followers see all the choices of places to see and read more.

Twitter: Post your picture/photo for your profile to the #13 US-ranked web site. Choose a background, preferably not a “canned” Twitter choice, but a custom graphic with contact and call-to-action copy. Include your web site URL in your profile with a description.

Start by searching for others you would like to follow, such as favorite publications. Type in the name of the publication or person in the search bar. Look for the name with @ sign in front like @WSJ for Wall Street Journal. Click on @WSJ in a message and click on the Follow button. You can create Lists of people you want to follow so you can read streams of messages from each List at your pleasure. For example, Publications or Bloggers might be a choice. You can share these Lists publicly or keep them private.  Putting publications that aren’t likely to follow you back into Lists instead of following them can be helpful later. When you hit 2000 followers, you can only follow 10% more than follow you back.

You’ll notice people who are most likely to follow you back when their followers are nearly equal to the ones they follow. You can use a tool like FriendorFollow periodically to see who is no longer following you and choose to unfollow them, especially after you hit the 2000 follower benchmark.

 

II.               Content development

As you create blog posts or new content on your site, think about the keywords that people will use when they are interested in you and your topic. Start with 5 to 10 keywords and incorporate those into all your content while maintaining your standard for quality content. Over time, increase this list, as you add new products and as you learn how your visitors search. Use Google Analytics for your site to see the keywords your visitors are using to find you.

As you complete blog posts, take the links to those pages, shorten them and promote them with messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. Post interviews in the media on your site, blog, Facebook, YouTube, and expand to other sites like Google+, Vimeo, or bookmarking sites like Digg. Reddit, StumbleUpon, or Delicious as time permits. Promote links to your press releases, mentions, reviews, interviews, articles, podcasts, webinars, as well as other related blogs or releases. Choose a tool to help you post messages, or “updates,” to multiple sites at the same time.

A general best practice regarding the sharing of other people’s content is to only post a short quote and link when you don’t have permission. For your own content, check out CreativeCommons.org to designate permissions. Generally, I’m OK with use of a complete post with attribution where no changes or additions are made.

To pull together a lot of content in one place to review at my leisure, I use a reader like Feedly or The Old Reader. This makes selection from a wide variety of content quick and easy. Just look for the RSS logo on a site, click and copy the feed link to put in your reader. Do this for all the people and sites you want to follow. To pull TMZ’s Celebrity Feuds RSS feed (http://www.tmz.com/category/celebrity-feuds/rss.xml), for example, I would just add this address into the Subscription box of my feeder and the stories will automatically be pulled in regularly. Once a month, I check my feeder for stories that I want to share with my followers.

Create alerts at Google or Yahoo for the titles of articles, press releases, books, products, any trademarks and your name. Check for links mentioning you and your work for promotion.

Twitter

I use Hootsuite to create and schedule tweets for each month. Then I can more casually add tweets during the month as topics come up and I get time to interact. I’ll Favorite tweets for later retweeting when I do spend time surfing. I look to see who has mentioned my twitter handle or retweeted me. You can thank people for retweeting and generally mention people on Fridays under with the #FF hashtag. I don’t do it very often because I notice I lose followers when I do, but I do it occasionally, especially with regular retweeters.

Facebook Fan Page

Create several Facebook updates and post a group all at once to get started. Schedule posts regularly. Your Facebook presence will lift your search engine results. Decide how personal you want to be. Check out https://www.facebook.com/#!/Jeffrey.Hayzlett for ideas on posts. Jeffrey’s discussions range from his ranch and horses, to food, travel, as well as his books and activities in marketing.

LinkedIN

Post announcements on your LinkedIn Company Page. Any time you do a press release or other newsworthy comment. Acknowledge achievements of your staff and partners. Mention the publication of articles, attendance at trade shows. Join industry LinkedIn groups. You can join up to a maximum of fifty groups. Share articles and blog posts in various LinkedIn groups that you join. You can add a Sharing Bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar to make this really easy.

 

 III.              Promotion

In using social media to promote your book, the first rule is to keep the pitch to content ratio to 1 in 10-12 messages. Audiences are looking for interesting, educational, thoughtful or humorous entertainment in these venues. They expect a small amount of “pitch,” but will abandon or write unfavorable messages if they feel you oversell.

 

Twitter

As you “lurk,” watching what others have to say, retweet comments that share your point of view. This will put you in front of the audience of those you retweet. Add comments if you like. For example:

Way to go Whidbey! Whidbey Island Pulls Together for Landslide Victims http://fb.me/2FY9CgZps RT @orcanetwork.

To make a comment while giving credit to get in front of another’s audience, add your comment (Way to go Whidbey!) while putting the reference to the originator (RT @orcanetwork) at the end.

Create a comment that includes the headline of a story you want to share with a shortened link to that story, including a reference to the Twitter handle for the author/publication or the firm/person mentioned. Here’s an example:

8 Essential Habits for Effective Writing ow.ly/hjcYO.

Got a comment to make without reference to a web page? Mentioning the Twitter handle of the company or person you are talking about puts you in front of their followers and others who search and may not follow. Some examples:

We’re very excited to welcome author @DanielleSteel to Twitter!

Tweet about appearances to come:

Wade Hobbs ‏@TweetWade5 Apr

Wade Hobbs at Books-A-Million, 770-632-1296, Peachtree City, GA. Sat. ONLY, 4/6, 12-7pm. #twitter #books

Steve Martin ‏@SteveMartinToGo15 Feb 12

On Conan tomorrow, for my Twitter book. This is not promotion, but an homage to twitter books of long ago. http://tiny.cc/468nn 

Reach out to people that you know or whose comments interest you. If you want to talk privately, write a message and ask them to follow you. Once they follow you back, you can privately, send direct messages to them.

I look to see who has mentioned my twitter handle or retweeted me. You can thank people for retweeting and generally mention people on Fridays under with the #FF hashtag. I don’t do it very often because I notice I lose followers then, but I do it occasionally, especially with regulars.

Look at who follows you before you follow them back. If they have never tweeted or only done a few, I won’t generally follow them back. If the Tweep looks suspicious with lewd photos or comments, I won’t follow. Also, if they only retweet others and never have an original thought or if every tweet is the same old pitch, I won’t follow them back. Following someone says something about you. Often folks follow to get you to follow just to unfollow later.

Hashtags, those events that have a # sign in front of them are also a good way to get in front of readers who are researching a current event or topic. An upcoming trade show might be #TradeShow, or a trending topic might be #WinterStorm. When you tweet a message with a relevant hashtag, your message will be read by all those following the topic. You don’t need to use #writers. You can search on writers and see many of the same results.

Use a URL shortener tool like bit.ly. I go to the bit.ly site (sign up to get tracking for the short links you make), paste in the URL you want to shorten and then copy the shortened one (something like j.mp/xxxxxx). You can customize if the one you seek is available, like j.mp/MyBook. Usually the minimum number of characters after the slash is six. You want the shortened link to be as short as possible because it will reduce the number of characters you can use in your 140 character message.

LinkedIn

Post “updates” to your followers with links to content on your personal and company profiles. Ask clients, colleagues and others in your network to connect with you. Linking to others builds out your connections and puts you in front of more possible visitors and buyers. Endorsing and recommending others puts you in front of their followers. Join groups that interest you where you can post press releases, links to articles. In LinkedIN groups, look for separate pages for self-promotion, to keep the “pitches” separate from discussions.

Facebook

Ask friends and colleagues to Like your page. You will need to monitor comments and check regularly to respond to comments by your followers.

In general, I won’t tell a new Twitter follower to find me on Facebook or vice versa. That’s asking them to leave their current space of choice. Remember the focus is to send them to the pages where they can take action. Thank them for following, and give them a landing link to check out. If they want to find out what other social media you use, they can check your website.

Now, start to spend a little time in each of these 3 platforms. Watch what others write and make sincere, thoughtful responses.

Reputation Management

The alerts you set up will also help you find any abuse of your name and marks that you’ll want to address.

IV.  Monetize

  •      I recommend becoming an affiliate of Amazon yourself: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/. In this way you can make commission on promotion that you do for your book(s) or those books, videos, or other products that you might recommend in your content that are sold on Amazon. You’ll notice that Jeffrey Hayzlett promotes his own book with a link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071784098/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center2&pf_rd_r=1SCWZNGGJABRYC3QX2NZ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846, although I can’t tell if he is an affiliate or not.
  •      You can sign up to make money on your blog/site with Google Adwords. Set preferences for competitive or inappropriate advertisers ahead of time.
  •      You can also let other publishers (web sites) run ads for your book on their sites. As an affiliate program network, Share-A-Sale has a low cost of entry. The largest affiliate service, Commission Junction, requires a big deposit and minimum, but has a large base of web site publishers to run your ads. You’ll need to build some creative assets, post them with the payout you are offering for each book sold through the affiliate. The service will also take a cut and take care of payment to the individual publishers who sell your product.

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