Thursday, May 24, 2012

Selling Books With Social Networking: #3, Twitter

I'm posting a series on using social networking to promote books,
based on material from my new book,

Twitter is said to have over 140 million active users. It’s a social network and microblogging venue which enables people to send and read tiny bits of text, known as “tweets.”

And now a confession: I do not tweet (at least not yet) so some of this section is based on research, not experience. I simply don’t think I can be entertaining or interesting with just 140 letters, spaces and punctuation marks to work with. Also, I don’t think people want to hear from me around the clock.

I’m quite satisfied with LinkedIn and Facebook for networking. (However, even Facebook has a page on Twitter.)

I’ve had a Twitter account for several years. It collects lots of useful inbound tweets for me but I have never used it to transmit a tweet. The screenshot below shows that I follow 38 others and have eight “followers.” I have no idea why. I wonder what they expect from me. 

For social networking, Twitter relies on followers. If you decide to follow another Twitterer, tweets [this sounds like a conversation in nursery school] from that person or company show up on your Twitter page.

If you want to promote books with Twitter, you must tweet, and tweets have to be interesting enough to develop followers who may be so impressed that they “re-tweet” your tweets to others. If you want followers, put your Twitter handle (user name with URL) in email signatures, in postings and on your websites, blogs, books and business cards. The handle must be unique, like "," and have no more than 15 characters (I think).

By the way, most Twits donlt know this, but "handle" is an old ham radio slang term for a nickname, that was later used by Citizens Band Radio addicts. My CB handle was Big Beard. I haven't thought about that in about35 years.

Every tweet has a unique URLlike a websiteand should be noticed by search engines; so include important keywords and the name of the book you want to promote.

Be prepared to respond to tweets from othersespecially readers and potential readers.

Twitter allows users to publish a “profile” page that can help sell books. Below is the profile for novelist Victoria Strauss, who is also the co-founder of Writer Beware, an important site for authors.

If you’re not sure of the difference between a handle and a hashtag, this glossary will help.

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